Hostel Crisis; Hope Rises for FUL students as VC sets to accommodate 500 on Felele, Lokoja Campus.
Writes ATABOR JULIUS LOKOJA.
Esther Abbah, is a 200 level of Federal University Lokoja , Felele Campus. Esther lived with her parents at Ganaja village, a suburb of Lokoja.kogi state capital. She wakes up as early as 4am to prepare for morning lectures.
She has to contend with skyrocketed transport fares. On a daily basis she spent average of #1500 on transport. The father , a pensioner, has sold most of his valuable assets to sustain the expenses. She thought of a getting an apartment nearly but there was none. Now the parents are between to extreme options.
A part from transport fare challenge, Some students living off campus in the town have become emergency husbands and wives, as they cohabit unceremoniously, a situation, if not arrested will breed uncontrolled birth even as Esther and her numerous colleagues may have their academic pursuits in the university truncated.
But hope seems to be rising for the embattled students as the Vice Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi on a facility tour with some selected Journalists recently disclosed that all is set to open the gates of a twin four storey buildings to accommodate no fewer than five hundred students in the first instance.
The vice Chancellor noted that the two four storey buildings would have been opened for students occupation, but the fear of insecurity due to absence of perimeter fence. He added that due to the demands of students for on campus accomodation, he has decided to fix all essential equipment in the apartment and to construct security post in between the two buildings.
He added that when completed he will aggressively recruit hunters and vigilantes to complement the regular security agencies to man the Hostels, adding that all hands are on deck for quick completion of the security outpost.
According to him, the buildings would in the first instance opened to 500 at 250 apiece.
Speaking on his achievements after the movement to the permanent site, said he has to use his contacts to draw projects to the school as the budgetary allocation is too meagre to make impact on projects.
The Erudite Professor of history and a crack administrator noted that his wide contacts both at home and in the diaspora has started yielding tangible results with myriads of projects springing up simultaneously across the length and breadth of the campus.
He disclosed that Through the linkages, he has secured over a billion naira for the construction of a befitting Senate building , adding that work has started on the project.
In the same vein, buildings and furnishing of the faculty of Science have been completed and awaiting commissioning, which was a product of his contact with friends and organisations that believed in his capacity to run a world class university in Nigeria.
According to him, some occasions, he would secure highly placed individuals , monarchs and those very close to the target contacts to help solicit for assistance, the approach, he disclosed have been successful.
Other projects he executed in the short period of his administration through personal linkages include, the dualisation of the campus main road through the assistance of ministry of works and Housing and a 800 meters asphalt overlay road linking the main gate through the Entrepreneurship building, , also a result of the linkages.
According to him all works and no play will not make a complete personality, hence,his contact, identified sport as key variable for total man, mobilised funds for the building of an Olympic size stadium with 750 sitting capacity. The edifice has started adding scenic beauty to the campus environment.
Not done with drawing attention and concern of institutions, and Corporate Organisations, one of the Cement Manufacturing giants has approved the donation of #500m naira to the school.
He has equally completed through donors a three story ,14 lecture rooms building, which is awaiting being put to use.
Through his effort, the Catholic Missionary, has also completed a church building for the school for spiritual rejuvenation of members of the university Communities.
He is at the moment spearheading a direct labour, using his resources and friends to build a church auditorium for Pentecostal members which the work has commenced in earnest.
How does he got the inspiration for this achievement, Akinwumi has this to say. I was the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Nasarawa state university Keffi. I used to accomplish my tasks to the best of my abilities not knowing one day the responsibilities would beckon on me. I was a member of a committee to develop blueprint for the establishment of faculty of medicine and Engineering. My write up was unique and all encompassing. Although, the blueprints was yet to be implemented before i left, it has helped me a great deal for the establishment of faculty of Health Sciences in FUL.
Before i came here i have a vision and focus to take the university to the highest level. I consider this Institution like my biological baby. I knew from day one that this university will be number one among its peers.
So, when college of Health Sciences was approved, i knew , i have to work hard for the relocation of all other courses from the temporary site. The Adankolo campus although known to be temporal, but in actuality with enormous facilities it could be conveniently regarded as permanent site.
” My predecessor had started the process of relocation, by building some structures on the site. However, they were not enough to move in. There was no perimeter fence, lecture theaters and offices for staff, and of course general insecurity that pervades the country as the site is far away from other settlements.
” But i have to take the bull by the horns. I wouldn’t allow the setback to affect my plans. I believe that, you can move forward when you take a step. So , when i announced that the school will move to its permanent site at Felele, i was bombarded by parents and students. But i stood my ground, and today , the University is on a quantum leap. And God helping in a very short time , our aim would be achieved.” He assured.
He explained that while not wanting to mention names of collaborators and friends in the journey of making the University great, there are some individuals, institutions and Organisations that have remained indelible in his heart.
According to him, the National Assembly through the effort of the Member, Representing Ikeja Ojodu federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Abiodun Faleke has been pillar of support for the University. He has attracted chains of projects to the University since he assumed the mantle of leadership of this great institutions, ditto to the Management of BUA Cement Company and host of others too numerous to mention.
While assuring parents and students of making FUL one of the fastest growing University in the Country, said , faculty of Engineering and Law are being approved.