From earning a fat pay as a Professor of Management and Accounting at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, how did Richard Akindele suddenly find himself without a job? It all started in two months ago.
That was the day when a telephone conversation during which Akindele demanded to have sex five times with Monica Osagie, his student, before passing her, began trending on social media.
The audio of the conversation was first posted on video-sharing website YouTube on April 9 by Naira Plus. All other Nigerian newspapers, both print and online, latched onto to it in the days that followed. Even CNN was not left out!
Osagie had called the Professor to inquire about his earlier demand for sex to pass her in a course that she supposedly failed.
He told the student that she would repeat the exam in the next academic session since she had refused to “take the opportunity” he offered her to have sex with him.
“I gave you an opportunity and you missed it,” the Professor had told the female student on phone. “Forget about it. You will do it next year.”
Osagie said she was calling to confirm whether he was serious about having sex with her.
He responded: “Me that agreed to do something. I know what I meant. If you don’t trust me forget about it. If I wouldn’t do it, why should I give you audience in the first place. If I am not interested in doing it, I won’t give you audience.
“The other person has come and I told her straight away because there is nothing I can do to bail that person out and her mark is even better than your own. The person scored 39 while your own is 33.”
The lecturer then asked her why she told him that she was on her period the day they met and he demanded sex.
“I was really seeing my period Professor Akindele,” the girl responded but the man told her to stop mentioning his name.
“And now nko?” he asked, to which she replied that the period had ended.
“Your boyfriend has done it yesterday?” he asked.
“Is it every time that someone will be doing with the boyfriend?” she responded. “Is it every time you do it with your wife?”
“Yes,” he answered.
“It’s a lie,” the girl exclaimed. “Not possible.”
When the girl asked him about the plan for the arrangement for her to have the sex so that she could avoid repeating the course, he told her that they would have the first sex the next day and on four subsequent occasions.
“Is not five we agreed? Our agreement is five,” he said
“Is it B that you want to give me or C?” the girl asked. “Why would it be five times you will knack me?”
She then told him she would not have sex with him five times.
“Prof, you know what? Let me fail it. I can’t do it five times. For what nah? No worry. Thank you, sir,” she said, then ended the call.
The audio generated so much frenzy that the following day, the OAU management said it was investigating the matter. Biodun Olanrewaju, Public Relations Officer of the university, said the university management was aware of the matter and had set up an enquiry committee to investigate it.
“The University is aware and we are setting up machinery to critically look at the issue to determine the veracity, otherwise there won’t be conclusion.” Olanrewaju said.
In his first tacit admission of guilt, Akindele quit Facebook on the same day the OAU management spoke out on the matter.
As of April 9, a Facebook account with the username ‘akindele.iyiola’ and user ID ‘Akindele Richard Iyiola’ was active and accessible on the platform, replete with photos of the lecturer and his family’s, and including his official designation as a ‘Professor at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)’.
However, by the morning of April 10, it turned out the page had been deactivated.
As Facebook does for deactivated accounts, typing the name ‘Akindele Richard Iyiola’ into the search bar of the social media site highlighted the profile name (as proof that it once existed), but it could not be clicked on.
However, he left his LinkedIn account intact. Although it was less detailed than his Facebook profile, it still listed him as a Professor at OAU.
Two days later, members of his church confirmed that the voice in the sex-for-marks audio tape was indeed Akindele’s.
A congregant at Anglican Diocese of Ife, where Akindele was a minister, said there was no need for the university authorities to probe the tape, as the voice in it was exactly the professor’s.
“There is no need for any computer to test the voice,” the congregant, who asked not to be named, said.
“The voice in the leaked audio is exactly that of Reverend Richard Akindele. However, the man is too gentle for such act. The lady purposely set him up.”
“Although, the voice I heard is that of Reverend Akindele, I doubt he can do that,” he said. “I’m not in best position to speak. But what I can say for free is that I know him to be a man of God, generous and easy going.”
Also, a Facebook user shared how Akindele solicited sex from her friend 20 years ago. Her post read: “Good Morning. I didn’t want to react to the piece you posted on the OAU case because of notifications after I do so. I left Ife twenty years ago and I remember one of my part two accounting friends telling us to pray for her because one of her lecturers insisted on sleeping with her before she can pass his course. She did not give in and we prayed over it. The man changed his mind and said he was only testing her. I sent this latest clip to her to tell her how things have not changed over twenty years later in the same department. She currently lives in Ireland. She responded to my message that this professor in the news was the same lecturer then who was pestering her. I have had a few chats with people who finished from that department and they said everyone knows about him.”
On this day, the OAU management approved the suspension of Akindele, saying the panel investigating the matter had established that he was the lecturer in the audio.
“The Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has received and considered the interim report of the Committee set up to investigate the allegation of sexual harassment revealed in a recent audio recording,” read a statement issued to make the announcement.
“In the interim report submitted to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, Professor Richard I. Akindele, of the Department of Management and Accounting, is now established to be the lecturer in the controversial ‘marks for sex’ audio recording. The female voice has also been identified as that of Miss Monica Osetobe OSAGIE, a Postgraduate Student on the Master of Business Administration Regular programme.
“Although the Investigative Committee had invited both Professor Richard I. Akindele and Miss Osagie, only Professor Akindele had appeared before the Committee, while Miss Osagie is yet to appear or make any representation. The report indicated that many other witnesses appeared before the Committee and gave useful evidence. The University is making efforts to ensure that Miss Osagie appears before the investigative committee so that it can hear her side of the case and promptly submit its final report.
“The Committee observed that a prima facie case of inappropriate relationship with the female student had been established against Professor Richard I. Akindele. The Vice-Chancellor, having carefully and dispassionately considered the report, also came to the conclusion that a prima facie case of serious misconduct had been established.
“Having regard to the gravity of the offence for which Professor Richard I. Akindele is found to be prima facie liable, the Vice-Chancellor, in line with the Code of Conduct for the University Community and acting under all the laws and regulations of the University enabling him in that regard, has directed that Professor Richard I. Akindele be suspended forthwith from the University, pending the final determination of the disciplinary case against him.
“Under the provisions of the relevant Statute of the University, an academic staff can only be dismissed from service or have his or her appointment terminated only when the matter on which consideration is being given has been investigated by a Joint Council and Senate Committee, and the staff has appeared before the committee with his or her counsel, if so desired. This procedure is the minimum requirement of the law and regulations of the University. It should therefore be noted that the suspension of Professor Richard I. Akindele is on the basis of the findings of the Investigative Committee that he is prima facie liable, and this decision will abide, pending the final determination of the case by the Council of the University.
“We will like to reiterate that OAU will continue to do everything legally and morally acceptable in pursuance of its avowed commitment to zero tolerance for sexual harassment, intimidation and, or coercion.”
Monica Osagie, the post-graduate student of OAU whom Akindele targeted, told the university committee she passed but Akindele claimed otherwise to bait her into having sex with him.
She appeared before the committee, set up to investigate the scandal, on Tuesday at the Pro-Chancellor’s Lodge on the campus, and the meeting lasted for about four hours.
The committee members also invited a lecturer whose advice Osagie sought when the incident occurred.
Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the Executive Director of Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARD-C), also told journalists that Osagie scored 45 in the course rather than the 33 claimed by the lecturer.
“The meeting was a fact-finding one and they told us that they had not got to the level of legal representation: Because of that, we were there as observers,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.
“The committee members asked her [Osagie] to narrate her ordeal with the professor which she did. She explained what happened and she didn’t deny the recording. She affirmed that the recording took place and she justified why she resorted to self-help because there was no effective support coming from the university.”
After a long period of silence by the university, action was finally taken on the matter. On Wednesday, June 20, OAU announced the sacking of the professor.