Adeola Priscilla, 19, was a friend to the former queen of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta, Happiness Odeh, who was reportedly kidnapped, raped and killed. Both were National Diploma students of Mass Communication at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta. She speaks with DAUD OLATUNJI about her late friend
How did the two of you meet?
We met in school. She was my classmate and we became friends. We had spent our nights together for several months. I live in Oluwo, Kolobo in Abeokuta. She lived with her parents in Sokori. But she had passed her nights with me several times.
Earlier this year, we went to Ayeni Street in Adigbe for our SIWES together. We came back together. We ate together. We washed our clothes together. We played together. We danced together. I discussed things about my family with her. We came together and prayed. We prayed together as sisters in faith.
What was your experience with Happiness Odeh before her death?
Happiness was a good friend of mine. I found a sister in her and her death is a painful loss to me because I have not been able to get myself together ever since she died. She called me Layo.
How old are you and your friend?
I am 19 years old. She was to be 22 on August 11. That was when her body was found.
When did you last see her?
The last day I saw her was on Monday-a day before she left. She told me she was going to Saapade in Iperu Remo. I chatted with her before she left Abeokuta on that fateful day.
We chatted around 7pm that Tuesday. I thought she had got to the destination. She said she had yet to go. When I asked her when she would be going, she said she was on her way. I expressed fear and told her that it was already late. I advised her to halt the trip and go the next day.
Did she agree with you?
She said that since God was involved, nothing bad was going to happen to her. Then, I wished her a safe journey and told her that whenever she got there, she should call me or text me. Then I slept.
What then happened?
The following morning, I woke up and I was expecting her message or her call, but I didn’t get any. I tried calling her, but her phone was off.
Did she ever share her dreams or aspirations with you?
She was a caterer. She told me that she only needed some amount of money to get established. She is a woman of great dreams, and I love her for that. I love her personality.
What can you say about her participation in the Miss MAPOLY Contest?
I just saw it (the competition) on somebody’s status that there will be slots for Miss MAPOLY. Then, she told me that she was part of the competition. I could not discourage her since she has passed several stages. It was just the grand finale, so I could not discourage her.
I was very happy when she won the Miss MAPOLY contest. I was happy because some organisations were involved, and I knew she would sign a contract with them and probably get some amount of money. I was happy she would be able to establish herself. It would be the door to her dreams. But as it is, we will just accept our fate.
Where were you when you heard of her death and how did you react?
I was at her mother’s place when I heard about her death. At first, when they told me she was dead, I never believed it. People were asking me if it was true or not. I was telling them that my friend was not dead, she was only missing. She was missing and we would see her very soon. That was what I thought. People were saying she was dead, and they posted it in our school loop. They kept asking me, and I told them I was not sure that she was only missing, we would see her soon. I went to her mother’s place. Her aunt said that she had heard that Happiness was dead, but she didn’t believe it either. I had returned home when I called her brother, and he confirmed that she was dead. Her brother tried to give me some pieces of advice. He told me that I shouldn’t cry, that I should put myself together.
When her dad went to confirm the death, he found that it was Happiness’s body. I just had to accept fate. I was sitting on the verandah crying and my landlady was there. She was the one consoling me over my friend’s death. She advised me and prayed for me.
What did they say actually happened?
According to what I heard from the people in her house, they said her boyfriend was the one that ought to take her there, but, since it was late on Tuesday, he could not take her there because he was considering the time he would get back to Abeokuta. He told her he would take her by himself the following day.
Why did she decline to go the following day?
I don’t know why she chose to go despite the time. She was still in Abeokuta at 7pm and was going to Saapade in Iperu-Remo. She left around 7pm and I told her it was very late to leave, but she said since God was involved, nothing would happen to her.
How did you feel when you heard that she was dead?
It was very painful. At first, it was all a dream. I could not believe it because I had already taken her as my own sister. Sometimes, after I receive the news, when I close my eyes, I will feel like I am seeing her. It is very painful. I don’t even know what to say or what to do. Even when people give me advice, I just look at them like a dummy. Since the thing happened, I have not been myself many times. People only see my physical structure, but the real me has travelled. I always get lost in thought while thinking about her.
How are you holding up?
With the help of my aunt and the students around me, I’ve been doing well. Although I had a sleepless night, I couldn’t eat. They helped me and gave me advice too.
What are some of your memories of her?
I have some of her pictures on my phone. She was a good friend. I will remember her for her company, her advice, and the fact that we prayed together as one.
What were your plans before she died?
We had plans. We are in our final year as ND holders and our exam is just a few weeks away. We had planned on how we were going to do our sign out, our valedictory party, the kind of clothing we were going to wear, and many other things. We planned on getting the same outfit. She promised she was going to celebrate her victory in the beauty pageant for me after our sign out. I saw her on Monday, August 8, and that was the last time I saw her.
What can you say about the rape allegation?
When I heard that she was raped before she was killed, I was shocked. I was shocked because I thought she was abducted and then killed. When I learnt she was abducted, raped and killed, I started crying again. I couldn’t imagine it. People started consoling me and telling me to put myself together; that I should accept my fate.
Was she an actress?
She’s just about to start her acting career. This was actually her first time participating in a movie shoot.
Were you and Happiness considering Industrial Training?
She had not planned on where to have her internship. She had not discussed it with me.
Did she tell you why she was studying mass communication?
Her decision to study mass communication is not because of circumstance. She loved the course. She was my confidant.