She was billed to be among the 96 young male and female students who would graduate today, as the Dean, Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ilorin, presents this set of expectant students who have completed their five-year course and are admitted to the class of graduates. But Taofeeqat Oloriegbe would be missing from the crowd. She passed on five days to the glorious day of her graduation.
She would have graduated as an Electrical Electronics Engineer. Although there are some inaccuracies in the initial report about her demise, her personality as revealed by the torrents of comments that have followed her sudden departure are quite revealing. Howbeit, contrary to earlier report she was not a First Class graduate.
A member of her class, who asked not to be named, described the deceased as hardworking and an all-rounder. “She was good in class work and she was good in extra curricula activities as well. She was very active in the female engineering group,” he said.
He stated that from record, the deceased was always first to submit class work during her days in school. “She was very helpful to us in class, and we never saw her as sickly at all although once in a while she might just say that she was very tired at the end of each class but I think that is normal,” the classmate recalled. Her death echoes a similar occurrence last year at the university when, the then Dean of the Faculty Post Graduate Studies, Prof. Badmus Yusuf, announced the passing on of AbdulHafeez Adedimeji, a PhD candidate, on convocation day.
Sources in the department revealed that while the students had planned a procession in memory of the deceased, her family members were said to have rejected such a move so as to keep within the confines of Islamic dictates.
They were said to have later contributed an undisclosed amount to buy some items for use in the UNILORIN central Mosque just as a way of immortalising her. Earlier when newsmen visited her family house at Alore area of the state capital, shocked relations and family members were still in mourning mood while residents of the area were also seen in groups discussing the untimely death of the young, brilliant and promising student.
In his tribute, a family member, Surajudeen Musa, said: Olaide Oluwatoyin has gone! Oloriegbe Taofeeqat is no more! The first Electrical Engineer to emerge from our big Oloriegbe fam-ily has called it a day! My calm, beautiful, soft-spoken and intelligent Olaide Oluwatoyin has been laid to rest. May Allah Forgive you! May Allah replace your B.Eng certificate that you refuse to collect just a few days to your convocation with Aljanat Fridaoz certificate.
May Allah be with your parent, Oloriegbe family and your loved ones. Goodbye Engr. Taofeeqat.” One of her friends, Badaru Fathimat lamented thus: You didn’t tell us it would be this soon, so your B.Eng would be in vain, the stress you went through from remedial to 500level in UNILORIN. We were planning your convocation and induction not your burial.”
Spokesperson of the university, Kunle Akogun, confirmed the incident, saying that the management of the university was yet to know the “cause of death of the best graduating student, Miss Taofeeqat Oloriegbe”.
“As soon as the management has the details of what led to the untimely death of the student, it will be made available to the members of the public,” he said. A mourner, Aliu-Ahmad Olalekan Gold, wrote a moving poem in memory of the late Taofeeqat, titled, “Death as the angel came calling” It reads:
Though, there’s profuse joys in the morning But what guarantees a night without mourning Copious were my stranded tears As her exit renewed my helpless fears Death has sent you packing for a reason But the pain would last for all season This is yet a symbol of pain Overcoming life’s transient gain This is yet a doleful reminder That one day, you’ll equally surrender This is yet a sound of warning That one day, death will come calling No matter how hard you try For your demise, family and friends will cry Dreams and ambitions would end Not the broken heart, a sorry would mend Let’s always remember death In whatever we do with our health For a painful exit, this is a tribute As loved ones continue to feel the brute Let’s all always remember That we cannot live on earth forever Empty-handed we arrived the world With nothing, we shall return to our Lord May your gentle soul rest in peace May your journeys ahead be filled with ease May Allah forgive all your shortcomings And give the family the fortitude to bear the lost