It is not because the first three distinguished gentlemen and statesmen were not mates with Omoyele Sowore. Of course they were not mates at all, at all. And it is not because they attended Nigeria’s first University, University of Ibadan while Sowore attended the University of Lagos. The first three greats lived in a different generation from Sowore yet my neighbour insists there is something that connects all four of them.
My neighbour says Sowore would have benefited immensely from studying and tweaking in a few places, the protest notes used by the first three statesmen in their days at the University of Ibadan. In their fourth and final year at the University, they teamed up together and were referred to as ‘the trio,’ by other students, many of whom regarded them as some kind of elders’ council.
When ‘the trio’ learnt that as part of the visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth to Nigeria in 1956, the University was planning a banquet in her honour to which no student was invited, they summoned a meeting of the Students’ Union. At the meeting the students assumed the position that the University authorities deliberately excluded them from the planned visit. And they would respond by truly excluding themselves from the University on the day of the August visit. They agreed that in the early hours of D-Day, before the Queen arrived, all the students would quietly leave the University in an orderly manner and stay away from campus till the end of the day when the banquet would have held. Then return to campus the same way when it became dark.
Somehow, the school authorities got wind of the plan and quickly contacted James Robertson, the Governor-General in Lagos about the development. Subsequently, a cablegram was sent to London with the result that the Queen’s itinerary was amended to accommodate the students. The President of the Students’ Union and his Vice President were then included in the list of those invited to dine with Her Majesty at the banquet. In addition, arrangements were made for a cocktail involving the Queen to and the students in Trenchard Hall.
Mr Onosode was invited by the Registrar of the University to give him this update, which he later relayed to the rest of ‘the trio’ and other students. Many of whom were satisfied with the outcome. And the planned protest was called off.
When I asked my neighbour how Sowore could have tweaked this plan to achieve his own goal, he told me there are many ways to skin a cat!