[April 06, 2018]
– MI SPY
“Today I did my share in building the nation.
I drove a Permanent Secretary to an important, urgent function
In fact, to a luncheon at the Vic.”
When the fiery tiger calls a meeting chaired by the Lion himself; of representatives of all clans of lower specie, the elephant, leopard, boar et cetera… You would expect it to be tensed. I was expecting someone to request for another air-condition to supplement the ones in the room, but rather, the hallowed chamber was more like a refrigerator, cool.
In the face of death, dearth of humanity, of utmost passionate concerns for the welfarism of the lot, I expect solemnity, logic, demands, facts and figures, assertive and firm tones, of course with humility not neglected. But I got more than what I bargained for, hilarious banters, trolls, jokes, tantrums and laughters across sections of the hallowed Senate chamber. Even the fighters joined in the banters and laughters.
Their comfort definitely unmistaken, even when some 40,000 students are at home, expectant of positives. Like the proverbial mythical magic drum, they dropped their weapons, the amulets, Dane guns, in fact their Kevlar, boots, gloves and started dancing in merry to the dirge. It was the most interesting sight.
The next adjective for me is gory, but then, I saw no blood.
Amidst this displeasure, the VP Administration opted to escape, and started her long journey to the far distance she had covered. She had had enough of the night. Of course, the night was lost. No star was shinning, and even those blinking, were swallowed by the crescent moon.
Coming back from seeing her off, I begged and mounted a bike from the University of Ibadan gate with #40. Of course, I pleaded.
“Senate chamber please,” and that birthed the convo between myself and the bikeman. He asked if I was going for the meeting. Of course, I was there, wasn’t sent out, and definitely returning.
He asked me if the fee would be reduced. He’s not a dying man, so I gave him no hope.
The bikeman has a daughter that just got admission and his worries only increased when accommodation fee increased from #14,000 to #30,000. Bless God, the said daughter got LARIS, no increment. The bikeman, perhaps should have led the delegates. He asked if the hostel will now have “24hours of uninterrupted power supply,” “24 hours of constant water supply.” Some on the media as well asked if “AC’s would now be installed in our rooms,” “no more porters harassment,” et cetera. But we all know for definitum the answers are just one, in uppercase – NO.
On returning to the Chamber, much wasn’t left to be discussed, just chit chats, that which I’ve not even had with peers in recent days. And the meeting was brought to an end. That’s the summary.
[…]OF JUSTIFICATION, MORAL STANDARD AND WITS
Prior to going for the meeting (had to restrain myself from calling it fruitless). At least, some sat in ACs. Some saw the VC close, first time. Some even talked with him. Yeah! And I entered the UI Senate Chamber, first time. So maybe it’s not fruitless. On the orders of the UCJ UI president, myself and fellow colleague of writers (Babatunde Aisha, Adekunle Glory and Adedokun Seyi) made the journey down to Alexander Brown Hall to see the situation of things, the protest and complaints. Truly, the hostel which has its fee now increased, save for Block A and Block C which were totally renovated (painted, locks, doors, toilets and bathrooms were smiling), the others B, D, E, F, G(or if there’s more) had series of torn nets, bad windows, uninhabitable restrooms and bathrooms for comfort, leaks and holes, amongst many others. The increment to them, was not justified. Many of them even discussed the #80,000,000 given to the Provost of the College of Medicine for the Hall which he said he had used part of in renovating the hostels. Spitting fiery fire from the furnace, you would furiously think they are suffering.
But at the Chamber, walking in, we met men-in-suit. Of course, I had no problem in being official for a seriously official discussion, but when the first speaker started, it was aplomb with no bomb. It was the sweet fine voice the management were interested in listening to. It was the voice of the Alexander Brown Hall chairman. The voice sent to represent Brownites. The voice that made me feel so pauperish. The voice that spoke in unmistakable tone, of comfort, of how he spends #3000 every week on those who fetches water for him. I am not interested in the bogus term he used, of his scare for hand cramps, of course in my own terms. I am not a medical student. Even when he was saying it, explaining some cannot afford it. He hit his main point right at the center – he was born with a ‘diamond’ spoon. Of course, a member of the Senate proposed to him to provide scholarships to his fellows while another in whisper, was astonished he spends over #150,000 per annum on water alone, by himself because he could not afford carrying water. He must definitely own a car.
He was without doubt the wrong man to represent Brownites. If you will table your suffering before your taskmaster, even if you enjoy some form of comfort, you sheath it. Unknowingly to him, he only succeeded in making obvious many like him can afford the new #40,000 increase, and even more. Since, there are limited bedspaces, the paupers that cannot afford it can go and find accommodation elsewhere. At least, it’s not compulsory. That was exactly what he came to prove.
While still at the meeting, I was trying to raise the issue of #80m I had heard at ABH from numerous mouths. But then, someone has to stand in as the source, trying to reach out but could not. Bodurin Joseph was not online and a call could not be made out, not knowing even the rich Mr Chairman was inside with me. I was expecting them, all arranged in crates, clothed in suits to talk about the #80m they have been shouting all over at ABH but not even figure ‘8’ could my ears pick.
And to worsen matters, the second speaker from ABH too lost his priorities when he (corroborated by another) advocated for a tally in payment with students residing in Halls within the school premises.
If he’s a good student of ‘Mathematics,’ he would know 2 can fit into 2 easily and tally, but reducing 2 to 1 is a process. He came to prove another richkid. He has no problem with increment. At least, he voiced none. But he has issues with the #10,000 difference. That is another who ridiculously took time for a misplaced or better still misguided priority.
Let’s analyse together. If it’s to be equal, then he would know that we can as well all be told to pay #50,000 for accommodation, or more; of course, it only has to be equal. And inconsiderately, I must say, is the fact that legally, ABH is open for a full 12months to students. While those in the school area only pay for 9months legally, and when it gets serious, are booted out of the Halls. Yet, all he seeks is parity in payment, not even renovations or reduction in fees. While I’m definitely not for the hike, proposing parity in payment is definitely an out-of-place priority.
Of course, the Vice Chancellor proposed a way out, they should operate a 9month hostel calendar like their counterparts do, and then, they will pay equal sums.
On facebook, I saw one adjective used by a user – ‘egregious’.
This, worst defines, in the highest form of euphemism the hike in fees especially that of the Clinical Sciences whose fee skyrocketed from about #30,000 to over #150,000 for medical students, about #100,000 for nursing, as calculated by a Dental student in the chamber, #368,000 grand total adding other things if not mistaken.
If the justification for the hike (10%) is reasonable, the timing, mode and manner, procedures and what have we (90%) is highly unreasonable. If professionalism is the ethics of the deciders, then moral, financial, psychological and emotional consideration have been thrown into Hades in bringing up the fees. Of course, the Provost already said there was no time for emotions.
Okay, imagine the bikeman earlier is the father of a dental student in 500l, with the hike now, he will have to run helter-skelter and in the end, might have a drop-out for a son, who will just take a second bike and ride his ex-collegues to class. It is saddening many things were not considered in the proposition of the fees. It is wrong in every right to come up with over #100,000 as payment just less than two weeks to the academic resumption. Even the Vice Chancellor admits students ought to have been consulted in response to TLDS president – Oluwagbenga Sadik.
The timeliness too short, less than two weeks; the possible consequence of those unable to pay, dropout; those unable to deal with depression, suicide and many more makes the already perceived outrageous fees to become more ridiculously unfair and unjust, though in a justifiably unjust system of many injustices.
In addendum, as if it was not bad enough that these people have to deal with increments, the intelligently calculative dental student with A1 in Mathematics had to be reminded the very first code of something I don’t even care to know – “respect your trainer as your parents” for short. Even morals and ethic of professionalism are being spelt out where it has been neglected by the supposed guardians. Of course, as medical student, he had to shut it tight, his lips.
Back to back, another shocker was dropped. A Post Graduate student preparing his/her #40,000 for accommodation will have to go get a calculator and realise his/her new payment which is not three times better than it was. While the excuse was that it was a mistake it wasn’t uploaded, many believed it was intentional. Who cannot be vindicated, is obvious, even without the facts.
I have enough to say but I’ll pen it down here. I’m just recounting. Putting in black and white. For those looking forward to solutions, you do not publicise your tactic, and expect a victory. You only end up adding more feathers to that of your enemies.
Lastly, even when I detest turning J F Kennedy into a hero, he once said and I quote that, “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
The moral conduct upheld these years by the medical students were breached on the first day of their protest. It will continue and if not addressed, it escalates. And you see, like a contagious virus, it spreads and infest the generality of the students. You see, all that is needed is a continual firmness in the uncalled for hike in fees, and what has been unheard of in the history of medical students in the history of Unibadan will occur.
It won’t suffice to add how medical students have always been seen with their about many textbooks in the reading room during crises of general concerns and when congresses are summoned.
Ending this tale will I posit, stealing from SUN TZU – the Art of war. “When you order a child to bed at midnight and he refuses. There are just two things involved. You either leave him or you force him. If you leave him, he believes he can always reject. If you force him, he will become more recalcitrant; of course, he had refused earlier.” While even heaven knows the management will not concede to the former and return the fees to what it was, it is pertinent at this point of the need to sustain peace.
Of course, SUN TZU proffered a solution, you study the mood of the child. Yes, these are trying times. Prices of goods are high, even to eat is economical and salaries are not increased. Standard of living is already low. And thus, in all sincerity of moral fairness, where does the management expect the extra ridiculously exorbitant added fee to come from? Charity?
Hanging up now, having done my share, and observed my part in building the nation; having put away all luxury, my cleped pen can only conclude that peace is not a one way thing. Students should stop being charged with offsetting peace and postponing calendars always. There are two sides to a coin. Management has to stop aiming for win-win because it does mother posterity no good. They taught us in classes about conflict resolution management skills, and compromise is one, which is beneficial to both parties. If truly it is not we to them, it is not students versus management; then, now is the time to be reasonably realistic with the situation of things in Nigeria as a whole and prove it to everyone by making meaningful and significant concessions.
Definitely, we both agree on one thing, we don’t want another prolonged or botched academic calendar. Also, definitely, we disagree on one thing, the swift outrageous increment.
That bikeman inspired it… To him