The Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Effurun,
Delta State, was literally in ecstatic mood
penultimate Saturday, because of the Students’
Union Government (SUG) elections. As the results
were announced, excitement pervaded the campus;
victorious candidates held rallies across faculties to
celebrate their triumph.
Tragedy, however, struck amidst the euphoria: a
Higher National Diploma (HND) II student, David
Anyie Okuta, slumped and died a few hours after he
cast his ballots in the SUG elections. Like a
thunderbolt, the news hit the campus, casting a pall
of grief on the ecstatic atmosphere.
shortly after he voted,
the late David left the campus for Sapele, joining
members of Winners Campus Fellowship on a field
trip as part of the fellowship’s handing-over
ceremony. When they got to their destination, it was
gathered that the deceased complained of cold and
started vomiting. He asked to use the toilet, where
he was said to have slumped.
In an attempt to save his life, his colleagues rushed
him to a hospital in Sapele, but the effort turned out
futile when he was pronounced dead.
A member of the fellowship, who pleaded for
anonymity, said the late David was not feeling well
before he embarked on the trip.
He said: “When he started feeling strange, the late
David told me that he needed to return to school. He
told me he was not feeling fine and he was placed
on drugs. I didn’t ask him the nature of his
sickness, because I believed it was not life-
threatening. When he realised that he did not have
his drugs with him in Sapele, he became nervous.
Then, he started vomiting.”
The fellowship’s librarian, Rita Chukwu, HND II
Electrical Electronics Engineering student, said:
“When we noticed the late David was vomiting, we
approached him to know what was wrong with him.
We were able to stabilise him for a while. Then, he
told us he wanted to go to the toilet. We allowed
him. Then, he collapsed in the toilet. We rushed him
to the nearby hospital, where he was confirmed
A source at the hospital where the late David
received treatment before embarking on the trip told
CAMPUSLIFE that he was treated for heart-related
A drama ensued after David was pronounced dead.
His colleagues, who did not believe the news, took
the body to another hospital, hoping that he could be
revived. When he was confirmed dead at the
second hospital, the fellowship members took the
body to Winners Chapel’s headquarter in Sapele,
where they prayed for his revival. When David did
not revive after hours of prayers, reality set in for
the fellowship members. They took the body to a
morgue in Warri.
The late David was said to be the only son of his
parents. He was born on July 31, 1991, and hailed
from Bekwara Local Government Area of Cross
When students got the news on the campus, many
of them who saw the late David when he cast his
votes did not believe it.
A student, Obong Ekanem, said: “I saw him on
Saturday morning during the SUG election. He was
sighted leaving the arena where we all gathered for
games and swimming. He was accompanied out of
the arena by a lady.”
The late David was nicknamed “genius” because of
his brilliance and his involvement in activities of
different students’ associations. He was said to be
one of the best students of the Department of
Petroleum and Natural Gas Processing.
He was the president of Association of Cross River
State Students, General Secretary of Winners
Campus Fellowship, Junior Chamber International
(JCI) and Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers
His close friend, James Gbobi, described him as “a
guardian angel”, saying the late David derived
pleasure in helping people.
He said: “The late David was a good listener and he
had the ability to simplify difficult problems for the
understanding of others. Even our lecturers
respected him because of his brilliance. He never
contested for any of the positions he held. All was
offered to him, because of his skills for service
“He never wanted anybody to pity him on anything.
This was why he did not tell anyone about his health
conditions. As his close friends, we knew he was on
drugs, but we did not have any idea of what those
drugs were meant for. And he never told us.”
Another roommate, Howells Emakpor, said the late
David would have graduated with distinction. He
described the deceased as “peace-loving” and a
“David would have graduated with a distinction. He
was a brilliant student, who took great pleasure in
helping other students to do better in their studies.
The best tribute we can pay to him is to share our
knowledge with others,” Howells said.
During the procession held to mourn the deceased,
students lamented the loss as they paid glowing
tributes to the late David. Clad in black clothes, the
mourners moved round the campus, singing dirges
and sorrowful songs. Some of them wept
Addressing the grieving students on behalf of
management, Director of Corporate Affairs Mr.
Brown Ukanefimone said the school authorities
sympathised with students on the loss.
He said: “The school urges you all to bear the loss
with courage, because death is the end of all
mortals. You must take solace in the fact that he led
exemplary life. We use this opportunity to appeal to
you all to go for regular check up to ascertain the
state of your health.”
Students’ Affairs Officer Mr. Joseph Ajima, also
advised students to go for regular check up, adding
that there was need for students to always take
permission whenever they wanted to leave the
school for off-campus engagements.
Deputy Director of Academics Mr. O.C. Isakpere
urged students to live life devoid of sins,
admonishing them to entrust their daily affairs in the
hand of God.
The fellowship president, David Ayana, described
the late David as “a good Christian”, noting that he
lived a life worthy of emulation. He said: “His life
was short, but he touched many lives within this
short period. He was many students’ hero, because
he deployed his brilliance to help people struggling
to cope with their studies.”
The outgoing SUG president, Theophilus Ukuyoma,
described the late David as “a wonderful comrade”,
saying students would never forget his contributions
to the development of unionism on the campus.