Ayodimeji Ameenat Oluwaseun
Broadly projected at the main entrance of the University of Ilorin is an inscription, “Better by far”, large enough to be captured by a single sight. While many people would agree with the fact that the University of Ilorin is indeed better by far, so much so do they believe that this phrase can be altered to “Better by Stress” and as such, would be valid.
There are several causes of stress in the University, ranging from long hour classes, brain tasking assignments, deadlines, and tests, which are all normal in a university setting for students to learn from. It is however important to note one unusual cause, which is the transportation system within the university environment.
In an academic institution where school hostels are very limited and private hostels are expensive, the only alternative for students is to stay off-campus which leaves them to face the terrible transportation system almost every day.
Transportation has always been an issue in the University. Students’ Union presidents in previous years have promised to tackle this problem, but none has done so successfully.
Many students have sad stories to tell about what they have faced due to the poor transportation system. “Tanke Sir” has now become a very common statement because students use this phrase to beg for lifts from strangers, which is unsafe, but the last resort.
Many students have missed tests. Many have had to queue for very long hours. Some students have had to walk from the park to the school gate, while some even had to wait in school till late in the night.
A 500l student, Hauwa, who had lived off-campus for 4 years, narrated her experience to UCJ Unilorin. She said most times she had to miss her 8:00 am classes and by the time she got to class for other lectures, she would barely find any place to sit. She also lamented that “Instead of one getting home early enough to rest and prepare for the next day, one ends up getting home very late”
“The University of Ilorin is a citadel of learning, and having to wait long hours in a queue after long hours of learning doesn’t help in building one in character.”
Aside from the unavailability of buses, the recent increase in the cost of transport has also created another issue.
Since the cost of boarding buses (Korope, as fondly called) increased from #50 to #80, drivers and students tend to disagree concerning change. Bus drivers almost always do not have a 20 Naira balance which forces most students to let go of it against their will.
Sanni Halimah narrated her experience saying, usually she forgoes her change, but there was a particular day she didn’t want to, and she told the driver before boarding and he agreed to help her with a change. When she finally got to school, other passengers had forgone their change and it remained her. While she waited for him to get change from other drivers, she heard him tell other drivers that someone was pestering him because of 20 Naira. And when he finally gave her, he asked sarcastically if she would leave him alone. She said that she would have let go of the 20 Naira but she detested the fact that the driver was acting so entitled. She also mentioned that she has heard people say the drivers have the change but choose not to give.
Just like previous administrations, the current President has promised to find a lasting solution to the problem of transportation. We hope the cycle of unfulfilled promises ends and that the transportation problem, if not totally solved, would lessen.