Monica Osagie, the graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University, who leaked the alleged audio conversation between her and Professor Richard Akindele in February, tells SUNDAY ABORISADE that her life has been miserable since she exposed the sex-for-mark scandal
Are you still in good terms with your boyfriend after the scandal?
Yes, because I told him everything from the beginning to the end.
How are your parents handling the issue presently?
It took a while before my dad got to know about it. He found out the day my face was published on the front page of The Punch Newspapers. So, he asked me what happened and I told him the truth.
Did your family support your decision or reprimand you for taking such action?
My dad supported my action but my aunts were of the opinion that I shouldn’t have exposed him (Prof Akindele) because, by exposing him, I will also expose myself as well. They insisted that my action would not help my future but I have done what I think was proper already.
Did you regret your action?
Not really because Prof. Akindele made me to really suffer serious psychological trauma.
Are you being stigmatised as a result of what happened?
Oh yes! I received a lot of threats from many social media users. I suffered physical harassment at public places, especially in the banking halls. I also received a series of calls from strangers who would address me as “ashawo” “home wrecker” and “career destroyer.” People accused me of destroying the career of the professor.
How are you and your family handling the stigma?
Well, my dad is greatly worried because he paid my Master’s degree fees and I had yet to get my certificate. I read the lies that were published in favour of Professor Akindele where the vice-chancellor said I was no longer a student of the school and that I failed too many courses. Thank God, each time our results were pasted in the secretary’s office, I always wrote my grade so they can’t manipulate my result.
There are other measures you could use to handle the case, why did you choose the social media approach?
I didn’t use the social media approach. I wasn’t the one that put the audio recording on the Internet. I did record it because I needed a listening ear to help me to plead with Professor Akindele so that he could leave me alone but he wouldn’t. He called my phone constantly requesting to know where I live in school so that he could visit me. There was a time he called after a church service on a Sunday, asking me if I had changed my mind and had agreed with his terms but I blatantly said no!
Who posted the viral audio on the social media then?
I really don’t know. I submitted the audio to a woman in the Guidance and Counseling Department and the rest is history.
Did you read the defence of Prof. Akindele where he levelled some allegations against you before the panel?
Yes, I read his defence. The account of the incident as presented by Professor Akindele is really hilarious. The reason I didn’t say anything then was that I didn’t see the need to. A drowning man will say anything to set himself free, let alone a disgraced professor.
But he told the panel that you exposed your body when you entered his office
It is a lie. He lied in that same news report that I came into his office and that I exposed my body by not wearing pant and bra and that I was wearing a gown. Well, those who know me well know that I don’t own gowns as I’m always in jeans trousers, sneakers or slippers. How then would I have exposed my body? Again, the day I went into his office to check my result was the day we rounded off our final paper. And we all went to take a group picture. Later, when I was told by the class governor that our result was out and that we should go and check it at the secretary’s office. One of my course mates walked up to me and said she saw my result with Professor Akindele and that I failed it. I told her that he had not pasted our results in his custody but she insisted that she saw mine with him. I wondered how she saw it then. She confessed to me that she went to his office where he showed her the score sheet and she noticed that I failed. I then asked her if it’s possible for her to go with me and plead on my behalf to see the result because I couldn’t go alone since the man had earlier asked me to date him when I edited a book for him.
Did the lady follow you to Akindele’s office?
Yes. When she went into his office, he asked her to call me in and I agreed to go in with her. When I got into his office, he was sitting on his three-seater couch and the lady that types for him was seated in front of the laptop. I got in, greeted him and I told him what my course mate had told me earlier and he asked for my registration number. Then, he brought out a piece of paper and said I failed. I requested to see it but he refused to show it to me saying it’s against the university’s policy to disclose results when it has not been pasted. Then, he kept flipping the paper in the air saying “see, see” you failed! You know you don’t know anything yet you didn’t come and see me sooner than now. Then I asked him to show me my script but he refused.
He said I should stop questioning him so I asked him what he wanted me to do and he said you know what to do. He demonstrated what he wanted with his hands raising his full palm in the air which signifies five times and pointed to his manhood at first. I pretended not to know what he was talking about, then he told the lady that was typing for him that he wanted to go get his prayer book at home so I stepped out of his office with him. It was in his office verandah that he told me that I should sleep with him five times before anything can be done, then I said I just want to see my script. That was when he walked out on me.
What happened next?
When I got home, I was devastated so I told a friend of mine about it. He asked me to call the professor so that I could record him. My friend believed he was just trying to woo me since I know that I didn’t fail the course.
How did Akindele know that you can edit books?
The man came to our class one morning to teach us and requested either an English graduate or a Philosophy graduate that could help him edit a book.
My course mates called me out because I was the only art student in that class. He asked me to see him that day in his office between 6:30 and 7pm. I went to look for him but he wasn’t in his office so I left. He returned to class on a Wednesday and asked me to follow him to his office after the class, which I did. He gave me a book that he wrote titled, “The fundamentals of Human Resources”. He gave me the book by 10am and asked that I return it by 4pm that same day.
I went back to his office by 4pm and told him I could not finish editing it that same day so he asked me to take it home and bring it over to his office the following day which I did but when I came back the following day to return the book he wasn’t in his office so I requested for his number from the printers downstairs of our departmental basement. I called him and gave him the book then he said he was going to cross-check what I did so we parted.
Did he call you after cross-checking your editing?
Most times in class we tend to engage in group presentations so I saw him when he was leaving a classroom. I ran towards him to inform him that I didn’t have a group so he assured me that he was going to group us for the presentation which he did. He fixed a date when we should come over to his office to be grouped by 5pm that same day, it was still that day he asked me to wait behind so as to cross-check the book together. After editing the book he asked me to sit on his lap which I refused so, I got up to leave his office then he noticed a tattoo by the side of my tummy because I was wearing a waist-high trouser with a cropped top then he said can you date me and I said no he asked why I refused his offer and told him because he is married and old. I also told him that I don’t date lecturers.
Did he pay you for editing the book for him?
When I wanted to leave his office, he said if I collect the money I charged him for editing the book, he would not help me if I fail his course and I told him I haven’t failed since my first degree and that I did my first degree in OAU, so he shouldn’t bother. While I was leaving his office, the girl that types for him came in while I walked out so I thought of all that and agreed to record him.
What is your reaction to his claims indicting you?
I’m not surprised that such a man will say anything to try and repair his already damaged reputation. But it’s such a shame to think this man is a father, a husband, a reverend, a counselor, yet he could utter such lies why not just own up to the truth and apologise? I know his apology will not repair his already tarnished reputation but at least, it will soothe the lives he had ruined. I know I’m not the first person that this man tried the nonsense with but I know that he met his waterloo through me. He said I harassed him sexually but it is this man who made my life a living hell, Since August 2017 when he kept requesting for sex, five times with me.
But you exposed him this year?
I believed that the person who leaked my audio conversation did so in February this year, did so because he was trying to cover up his track ever since I was called up for a panel in December 2017 and I refused to show up because I was scared.
Are you aware that the ICPC is already investigating the case and has started questioning Akindele?
I know that the ICPC is investigating the case as a matter of fact my phone is still in their custody since the last seven weeks. I had to go and retrieve my line because I use the line for business.
Were you also invited you for questioning?
Yes, but I really don’t know why because the professor said I am psychotic. Unfortunately, when I went for the investigation, the man questioning us agreed that I am psychotic because I am temperamental and my voice was harsh. For a government official to pass such a judgment on me when he had yet to take me to a doctor for examination, made me to lose confidence in the ICPC investigation
Are you satisfied with the punishment received by Akindele already?
I wish Professor Akindele should be charged to court. First, for assassinating my character, the psychological trauma he put me through in school due to that I couldn’t give my best when I did my project which got my supervisor saying something negative and this happened to be the same man I complained to that Professor Akindele was sexually harassing me yet he did nothing but ended up shutting me out and pretended I never tried going through the right channel to complain about such nasty act. He has no remorse for what he did, the lives he had ruined due to his corrupt act. For this reasons he should be charged to court.
Did you receive any threat as a result of your action?
Yes! I have been threatened on so many occasions and I am yet to get a job since then. The last job interview I went for about three weeks ago, the guy asked if I was “ the Monica Osagie” and I said yes and the next thing he said was sorry ma, we don’t need a whistle-blower!
What are your lawyers advising you to do next?
My lawyers are saying that I should be silent and should not say a word but if I don’t speak out my mind. My image is going to be tarnished and I wouldn’t want a situation where my future kids won’t be proud of their mother. I spoke out when no one could if by exposing Akindele by playing along makes me crazy then no problem at all. I will gladly do it all over again. That man has no iota of truth in him and as such, I have to clear my name which he tried to rubbish in the mud.