Why I Stabbed My Vice Chancellor…. Radicalised Student

No matter how you look at it, some people cannot just stand what they consider as injustice. They are ready to stand up against it, even at the risk of their their lives.

So was this case in point, such that the action not only grabbed the headlines at that time, but has continued to be a reference point ever after.

Cases like this would readily feature on this section, for the sundry lessons they have for now and in the future, the idea being to guide people right in their actions.

The fellow at the centre of the whole inglorious drama was none other than Kayode Adams, a student activist at what is commonly referred to now, by their owners as the University of First Choice in Nigeria, the University of Lagos.

What was at issue? Who should actually be the Vice Chancellor of that ivory tower.


A professor of Botany, in the person of Prof Eni Njoku, an Igboman, first vice chancellor of the university, had just finished his tenure of three years, being the first vice chancellor of the university appointed from the University of Ibadan.

When however the Federal Government removed him and replaced him with a historian, Prof. Saburi Biobaku,  the university community was engulfed in crisis.

This was immediate fallout of the hot faceoff between the university’s Senate and its Governing Council. The issue was that though Eni Njoku was eligible for re-appointment, but somehow, sentiments entered the fray, and instead, Biobaku, then pro-chancellor at the University of Ife was appointed, by then Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

The decision was unpopular with UNILAG students who felt ethnic favoritism informed Biobaku’s appointment. They reacted in the best way they thought the injustice should be protested – demonstration on the streets.

But they did not stop there, but requested of the then Minister of Education, Chief Richard Akinjide to upturn the decision. In fact, they said Prof Biobaku should not step near the school.

The man himself got reassurances from the authorities that security would be provided to secure him.

After resumption, the professor thought it necessary to address the students and also use the opportunity to meet other members of staff, not knowing that something else was in the offing.

Kayode Adams, the radical student, obviously buoyed up by the tacit support of his colleagues moved close to the podium. He saw a great opportunity to express the sense of injustice he had felt from the denial of Eni Njoku from renewing his tenure. However he did it without the security paraphernalia noticing; he stabbed Biobaku on the back.

The VC fell and Adams was immediately arrested by the Police.

The entire university community was stirred, so with the nation, as the news spread. And the university had to be closed for months.

Ted Kayode Adams was arraigned, and he pleaded mental incompetence and was confined to Yaba Mental Home.

The University of Lagos Senate met under the chairmanship of Professor Horatio Oritshejolomi Thomas, Provost of the College of Medicine and agreed to rusticate him from the University. Later he would be released from Yaba Mental Home but he never recovered. Many years later he committed  suicide.

At the trial the court found Adams guilty of wounding with intent to kill the VC.

The court, however, held that he was not liable for the offence as a result of his defense of insanity under Section 28 of the Criminal Code (CC).

He was thus committed to a psychiatric institution pending the decision of the President. Adams appealed against the decision of the high court

At the Supreme Court, it was held that if the accused person was found to have committed an offence as a result of insanity in accordance with sections 229 and 230 of Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), a committal order must follow. But he was expected to remain secluded.

Kayode Adams was to regain his freedom afterwards.


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