By Comrade Abiodun Olamosu

THE cross sections of leftists rose to stand by Comrade Professor Toye Olorode at a programme held in his honour in Abuja on Thursday 29th April, 2021 to commemorate the 80th birthday of this organic Marxist intellectual and socialist activist. The programme was joined by many other socialists, workers and intellectuals across the country through zoom webinar.

Comrade Olamosu, National Secretary, Socialist Labour

I personally came in contact with Prof Toye Olorode and other members of Ife Collectives in the early 1980s at the Polytechnic Ibadan while I was already out of the school but maintained cordial relationship with comrades I left behind. This was particularly at the time the Students’ Union Council was led by its president, Victor Adebamgbe.

Even though at this time, our organisation, Marxist-Student Youths Movement (MSYM) was intrinsic part of Comrade Ola Oni-led group, Socialist Workers Party (SWP), but we were not limited to involve only members of the organisation in our programmes. For this reason, Victor did invite comrades from other groups for public lectures or symposia. I could remember vividly in one of such programmes, Dr Dipo Fasina (Jingo) was invited to give a lecture. One thing that was of much interest to me was that both Prof Olorode and Dr Biodun Jeyifo turned up at the occasion together with the guest lecturer in the same Volkswagon that conveyed them to and from Ibadan and Ile Ife respectively. The programme was one of the best I attended on the campus.

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It’s noteworthy that Prof Olorode remains the activist he was since I knew him up to the present period without changing an inch. He’s inspired generations of socialist activists across the country. It’s one wish that he’ll be blessed with longevity for the purpose providence has reposed in him to guide more generations in the struggles ahead.

At another occasion when Baba Oluwide Omojola in 1985 translated to Yoruba the Communist Manifesto authored by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1845, this was presented to the public at Oyo State Press Council, Iyaganku Ibadan. The occasion was attended by the author, Baba Omojola, Pa Michael Imoudu, Ola Oni, Bade Onimode, Toye Olorode, Biodun Jeyifo, Benedicta Madunagu, myself and reporters/correspondents of various newspaper houses.

Later in 1985 I left my professional work as an insurer to join as a full timer under the superintendent of Comrade Ola Oni. So, I was privileged to attend various meetings of the group including that of alliances with other groups. In particular was the meeting of Alliance of Democratic Rights usually attended by academics drawn from Ibadan, Ife and Ilorin.

The usual faces at meetings include Comrades Ola Oni, Segun Osoba, Toye Olorode, Dipo Fasina, G. G. Darah, Poju Akinyanju. It’s at the same meeting I first met the trio of Ife student leaders – Segun Sango, Muyiwa Osunkoya (now Adebayo) and Lanre Arogundade. Later ADR agreed to hold public discussion programme at Mapo Hall on a monthly basis in order to educate the working people. Facilitators were drawn from Ibadan and Ife. The programme held for some months before it was prevented from continuing by the State on realising its progressive impact in influencing public opinions in the direction of social change on the side of the poor.

I had close relationship at the time with the groups in Ife as I was being sent on errands to comrades there; it’s at this time that I knew Prof Olorode, Awopetu and Dipo Fasina at close range. Sometimes I had to sleep with Dr G. G. Darah to conclude the work at hand there before going back to Ibadan. Later, our paths also crossed on the streets of Lagos when the struggle took a new turn of mass action in respect of June 12 movement.

At this time we were organised under the platform of an umbrella body, JACON. In one of those occasions, organisations under JACON agreed to come together at Yaba for a rally and we came with broom to sweep the footsteps of the military away from power why we burnt the flag of Nigeria that didn’t represent the true essence of Nigeria but oppression of the working people.

Professor Olorode has been up and doing in the present dispensation in providing the right leadership in latest organisations such as Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) and The People’s Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M); where Socialist Labour which I belong had cause for collaboration with him and other leading activists that include Comrades Femi Falana, Femi Aborisade, Jaye Gaskia, Idowu Awopetu, Dipo Fasina, Biodun Aremu, etc.

It’s noteworthy that Prof Olorode remains the activist he was since I knew him up to the present period without changing an inch. He’s inspired generations of socialist activists across the country. It’s one wish that he’ll be blessed with longevity for the purpose providence has reposed in him to guide more generations in the struggles ahead.

Comrade Olamosu is author and researcher of books for social change.

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