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Damilola Oyalekan: Our Messiah

We call her Messiah because that is what she is. Her actions and words are symbolic of her and what she stands for. She is not here today to write her story, or standing amidst us with laughter and joy over our freedom. Many of us are still in hiding; but surely we are banding together to make her name a legend. Something we would tell the generation after us, something that those behind us must take as a lesson of honor.

I am here today to write her story her stead and a privilege beyond anything this is. My name is Chidera Maduka and this is her story.

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Her name was Damilola Oyalekan, she was a student of Glorious Height Comprehensive College. She was in SS3 and the Head Prefect of the school. Damilola had been a role model of many students in Glorious Height; she was the epitome of justice and fairness, delivering her verdict with tenderness of a mother and fierceness of a warrior. She was what many female students wanted to be when they got to the seat of power.

Being the Head Prefect, her task was to oversee the body of thousands of student in the school with the assistance of her five Juries, as they preferred to be called. Their motto was: Justice and Equality.

Damilola was up to the task and attended to it flawlessly. She was devoted to the students and looked after their needs in any way possible, students adored her and the teachers loved her. She was a sweetheart as young male students would tell their parents when they went home for the holidays. Parents would return with tales of how their children described their role model. “I have never heard such commendation,” they would say.

She was also the face of Glorious Height Magazine, our school’s public figure. She got that not only with her beauty, but creativeness and talent. Her artistic skills were top-notch, her writing skills earned her a position in a newspaper firm; she was given a column to express her views on teenagers’ matters and many others were inspired. Her merits were beyond anything a past student of Glorious Height had achieved, in the school and outside the school.

Damilola Oyalekan’s only flaw was that she was older than her peers by a bit and she was a mother of two twins. The discovery of the news was a huge shock to the public, but the later a discovery of wonder—how a lady did not let her circumstance define her fate and what she hoped to become.

She was the talk of the town for many months and sometimes, people still praised her anytime her name was spoken. The school gave her a medal of honor and her picture was decorated in the principal’s office.

Damilola’s circumstance was that she had been pregnant at the age of seventeen, and she had to drop-out of school to take responsibility of her pregnancy with the help of her parents. What people did not know was that Damilola was raped by the principal’s son of the previous school she attended. She was in SS1 and he was in SS3. She was humiliated and expelled from the school.

When her parent sought for redemption for their daughter, as they knew the child they raise and believed in her. She was never wayward, a devoted Christian and disciplined child. Hence they stood up to fight for her dignity, but it was swept upon her head in dust and the culprit walked away without a scratch.

The family could not stand the harsh treatment of the inhabitants of their previous town; a couple of times, the family had been publicly disgraced both in church and on the street. Damilola had her own fair share of the injustice when she was alone, so they moved to another state in hopes of a fresh start.

Three years after her the delivery of baby, she wanted to go back to school, to continue from where she stopped and further her dreams. She enrolled in the scholarship program of Glorious height and got in. Her father got a job as the security guard of the school, while her mother stayed at home to take care of the children.

Everything was working in her favor and she was going places. Then the tragedy hit one of her subjects and as Queen, she had to defend her subjects dignity.

It was a weekend in hostel, when one of the girls in the female hostel tried to commit suicide. She was quickly discovered by another student and an alarm was raised. Damilola rushed to the scene and saw the pale face of her favorite student, a cut on her wrist and blood everywhere. She was stunned for a while; she knew she needed to do something to avert the worst. But the scene reminded her of what she did three years back. The agony crippled her, she wanted to run and hide, to escape the scene, but the girl needed her.

With shaky voice she ordered, “Get the housemistress.”

“You go to the clinic and get the nurse,” she said to another student around. She moved to the girl and held her wrist with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. The housemistress and the nurse came and took control of the situation. The girl was taken to the hospital, but it was too late, and she died with a fetus in her womb.

Damilola was hurt, she blamed herself for what happened, and while she grieved she recalled how distant the girl was lately, keeping to herself and crying always. She thought she was sad over the poor situation of her family, and anytime Damilola asked her, she said, “It is nothing. I am fine.”

Later a letter was found by the bereaved parents, the letter was written by the girl to explain her decision to commit suicide; she was raped by the son of the school’s chairman. She further added, “I want to tell my role model, Senior Damilola, how sorry I am for not confiding in her. I kenw she would have fought for me.”

The matter was swept under the carpet and the boy was allowed to continue his education; he was acquitted of the rape charges. Furious about this injustice, Damilola complained to the school. She wanted justice and the school was not giving it. They labeled the deceased a whore and a destiny destroyer. Many of the assailant’s friends stood up defend his actions and made false claims about the deceased.

“She made passes on me,” one testified.

“She once asked me to meet her in the toilet,” another said.

“She is always sneaking out to meet men,” another reported.

The deceased parents were poor and were given a choice to keep everything quiet or risk losing their home and their two other children’s scholarship. They agreed to the demands, but not Damilola. She wrote many letters to the human rights agencies, police and newspapers, but all were rejected or ignored. She tried using her column on the newspaper, but she was dismissed. The school authority threatened to take her scholarship away, but she did not stop. Her father’s job was taken away, her mother’s petty shop vandalized, yet she did not relent in her shout for justice.

She tried getting the report of the letter of the deceased, but she was turned away. Damilola made a stakeout at the front of the school with banners pointing about the injustice.

Twice she was been attacked while heading home and getting raped, but luckily she escaped; she was determined to get justice for the girl.

A newspaper got wind of her past and published the story. They labeled her a fraud and a prostitute. The past she tried to suppress came back and this ruined our messiah. Her fame was reduced to dust and her reputation brought to shame, her parents were once again ostracized and things became difficult for them, by the hands of the Chairman and the school board.

Yet she never gave up, she continued her fight, even when she was expelled again and a ban written to not allow any school admit her in, she continued her fight. She went on blogs, using her writing skill to persuade people to fight with her. A sympathetic broadcaster who admired her, granted her a slot in his show, to speak about what truly happened.

“Good evening. I am your host, Bolaji Edun,” the show started.

“We have with us a special guest tonight, the infamous Damilola Oyalekan. She is here to speak about the injustice of the incident in Glorious Height and shed more light,” the broadcaster added.

“Welcome, Ms. Damilola Oyalekan,” he said to her.

“Good evening. It is a privilege to be here and I would like to thank this station for giving me the chance to voice out,” she said

“It is a pleasure to have you, Damilola. What would you like to say to the audience?” the broadcaster replied.

“I want the students of Glorious Height to fight with me against the injustice of one of our own,” she said

“Yes, the story about me which was published about me is true and here I am a different person than I was before. I wasn’t pregnant by choice. ”

“I, Damilola Oyalekan was raped,” she added

“You were raped?” he asked.

“Yes, I was raped when I was seventeen by the principal’s son of my previous school. I faced this same injustice my fellow female faces, although she is dead. May her soul rest in peace.”

“Amen. Can you possible tell us more?”

“There is nothing more to say, I tried committing suicide too, but wasn’t successful. I picked up pieces of my life and made a choice to move on and fight.”

“That is really courageous of you,” he added.

“Yes, and I am urging my fellow humans who loved Mary and consider her a friend to come out and fight with me. She should be granted justice for her death,” she said with tears falling from her eyes.

“We hope the police would further investigate the case and help the deceased. We have come to the end of our show, see you next time,” the broadcaster declared.

On her way home, Damilola was kidnapped and not heard of for days. During her days of captivity, few rape cases, murder happened. The parents felt their children were not safe and withdrew their children.

Remembering the actions of Damilola, a search party was sent to look for her; they searched for days, but there no result. It was a devastating blow to the locals and the students of her school.

Seeing the errors of their ways, the Juries and a few female students started a protest, and slowly it grew, with students joining each day wanting to fight for their rights to a fair treatment. The school was locked down and left desolate. The police was forced to investigate the case of Mary Akintunde. The assailant, Vincent Maduka was found guilty and also in possession of some illegal drugs. He tried raping another female and was caught by the security guard, with enough evidence against him; he was charged to court and sent to juvenile prison. His father was dismissed from his post as the chairman of the school, he was also investigated about the kidnapping of Damilola, which he confessed being part of.

But Damilola escaped the hands of her kidnappers, while being chased; she fell from a cliff and was not found. Everyone feared the worst of our messiah.

Six months after, Damilola returned in companion of a handsome stranger, who turned out to be the same person who raped her in the past. He came with her to ask for forgiveness from her parents, ask her hand in marriage and take responsibility of his child.

They met by coincident in the hospital where both of them were admitted. Damilola was found by a local farmer in a town in Ekiti. She was taken all the way from Abuja, to be disposed of for good. She was badly wounded and was rushed to the hospital and at the same time, Bode Kings was rushed into the hospital for a motor accident. They bonded over the time they were in the hospital and shared their experience in life. There they realized who they were and a shocking revelation. Bode had always loved Damilola, but he was shy in saying it, the day the unfortunate incident happened, he was high on weed and drunk, she was alluring to him and he took advantage of her. He was ashamed and did everything his father ordered, but he was really sorry for what he had done. He still loved her and when she told him about his child, he agreed to be a good father.

She forgave Bode and together, they came down to Abuja to reunite with her family. There was celebration for her return and many came to wish her lots of happiness. She was featured on many newspapers and television stations to tell her ordeal.

Justice was given to Mary by the actions of Damilola and a messiah of her kingdom she was called.

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