-By: Toyinbo Olumide
What has really changed so far in the Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall affair after the skyrocketing of the accommodation fee? On an editorial assignment, the Features Editor, a resident of the Hall took an observatory trip to the Hall to see and also hear about recent developments and lapses in the Hall of Residence in relation to the over 100% increment in the accommodation fee as well as to get proper response to the question posed earlier. Here are his observations.
PRESENTING THE HALL
The Nnamdi Azikwe Hall also known as the Baluba Republic is a colossus as it is a huge track of land with highly imposing solid buildings and alluring architectural makeup. Standing exclusively some good steps from the identical blocks is the cafeteria, a position which makes it almost equidistant to all the blocks. The scattered blocks are linked by a neatly tarred road which snakes through the blocks and fading cultivated lawns with a relatively wide car park marking a stop of the road before moving to the laundry side. Block A coming first in view entering the Hall through the main gate, followed by Block B which houses the gyrating basement. Right behind C-block is located D-block which houses the finalists of the kingdom who mostly identified as elders. At the point of entering the Hall, some changes were actually obvious.
YES! NEW NETS!
Just few weeks into the first semester, Zik Hall saw some repairs. Prior to the change of the window nets, most rooms in Zik Hall have no nets which made Zikites very susceptible to a number of hazardous conditions especially cold, theft and mosquitoes – as mosquitoes gained entrance through not only the door, but also the ever-opened entrance which were the window spaces. A number of complaints were made then by various occupants. Now, all rooms in the Hall with torn nets have new ones. Though, there has not been proper maintenance on the part of residents of the Hall as the nets are soon intentionally torn by the students for some not-worthwhile reasons. Occupants of few rooms in the Hall are guilty of this, which is quite not dignifying and aberration of greatness which has always been claimed by occupants of the Hall. Also, window panes also need attention and action as a good number of them have been either broken or missing.
Locks were not left out of the repairs as they were simultaneously fixed alongside with the window nets. There was a general removal of bad locks in all rooms in the Hall and new ones were fixed in replacement.
To a reasonable extent, opinions have it that water supply is quite adequate. Some even compared it with the situation of last session in which Zikites had to go to Independence Hall almost every day to get water, wash clothes and do some other things. Also, in a bid to totally ameliorate the tendency of water scarcity, a borehole project was been embarked on by the management and it is now very much supplying water to Zikites.
POWER SUPPLY, ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS… WHAT’S UP?
It can be easily seen in the picture above, the self-help strategy Zikites use to enjoy the power supply despite various electrical faults in their rooms which would have originally prevented them from enjoying what they paid for. You can see the connections, you can see the wire used to tap power from Room A to Room B and the second picture, from a floor to another floor. Such connection is not rare in the Hall. No one knows how legal it is, but Zikites do not care anymore as many complained that continuing to put down names and fault nature at the porters’ lodge and also waiting for the appropriate authorities to take action is a step synonymous to waiting for the second coming which no one knows when. So, the self-help strategy finally is embraced. Also, sources of illumination on the corridor of most floors are well-forgotten because of their faulty state, the security light and the penetration of light from room only dimly reflect on the corridors.
ON BATHROOMS, REST ROOMS AND MAINTENANCE…
The state of the toilets and bathtubs is in a bit appalling. The only thing suspected and echoed by residents that are making use of the toilet as well as bathrooms to be in a disdain state is the manner in which Zikites use them. However, worthy of repairs or possible outright renovation is the sewage system or the plumbing network as the case may be, some bathtubs are constantly blocked as well as even some toilet bowls which prevents the passage of wastes and harbour all kinds of germs which can be heinous and unhygienic to the health of residents in the Hall. The pumping of water to all floors too should be taken as a plan of action to be carried out, so that the stress of fetching water from the tank to the topmost floor will be mitigated and defaulters of “not-flushing-toilets” would have no excuse as water will be adequately channelled to all floors. Though, it was claimed by residents and quite obvious that a lot has been done to repair and stop the constant blockage of bathtubs and even toilets by the Hall management, but when repairing is failing, the best way to go is renovation.
ARE THERE REALLY KITCHENETTES?
The kitchennettes can be rated as one of the most gradually abadoned places in the Hall (though, few ones are exceptions). Its existence is gradually washed away as Zikites now prefer to cook in their rooms and corridors (which is quite wrong and dangerous), probably as a result of the state of the kitchennettes as few residents complained about its state. When the net renovation was going on, the kitchenettes were left by the workmen. On the instruction of the appropriate authorities, it may be on construction. The kitchenettes which ought to be the cleanest rooms in the Hall and largely preserved were left out of the net-replacement exercise, does that imply that the Hall management are aware of Zikites’ desert of the kitchenettes? Almost all kitchenettes have bad nets, some have been totally left bare while some will be totally left bare soon in a matter of days. This leaves the tendency of flies and other unwanted micro-intruders like germs to enter Zikites’ food while they are exhibiting their culinary skills. The mini-stores too have been abadanoned, most of the locks are bad and can’t serve as stores that it has been made for, the mini-stores now serve as rooms for cockroaches and some other insects with unknown names. Some of the sinks too are bad as water is no more passing through and the flow obstructed. While speaking with a resident of Block B, he said ‘the only thing being done in the only kitchenette on my floor is the sweeping by the women, though few people use it but not as always’.
BLOCK D RAILINGS: MINOR OR NOT MINOR, HARM CAN BE CAUSED!
Block D seems to be the most distinct block out of all, everything seems to be all right. Though, speaking with some occupants of the rooms, the complaint on the top of the chart was of the fact that most of the rooms are not properly electrically fixed, they had to spend money on it themselves after being assigned to the room, naming the procurement of sockets, lampholders and some other neccesities so as to enjoy the power supply. This is the story of most residents of the Hall. Noticeble for attention are some railings bordering the passages which have found their ways out of the place of their purpose. Though, there have been efforts to cover up the place with logs of abandoned wooden planks and doors, except one side at the first floor which is so high enough for anything unimaginable to happen. However, it is quite expedient to make efforts on the part of the appropriate authorities to cover it up with the most worthwhile materials to fit with others.
WHAT RESIDENTS HAVE TO SAY
A resident of Block B, when asked about the state of the Hall after 30k opened up that ‘based on the fast and sky-reaching increment in the fee, we expect a fast and sky-reaching improvement in term of infrastructures in various Halls of Residence too, nothing really worthy has been done, some toilets are really bad and need replacement, bath tubs too, the plumbing whatever needs restructuring, electrical faults up and down and lots more.’ A Block-C resident, when asked if the 30k has reflected claimed that ‘Zik Hall is getting touched looking at the replacement of nets and locks, but I think the school is doing it gradually, we can’t say, there might be other plans, we still have a semester left and even this semester is not gone yet’. ‘The school has been trying recently, the ordeal of water we faced last semester was killing, but this semester, there is no much stress in getting water but the school should work more in providing more tanks to contain drinkable water for Hall residents. There has been constant power supply too for a while now, but the school and Hall management should try and help fix the electrical faults. ‘I am personally tired of complaining at the porters’ lodge’. A Block-A Resident when asked the same question as others said ‘Renovations are normal to be done at the beginning of every new session, in my view, we have been enjoying nothing unique of the thirty thousand naira’. A lot of opinions were heard but there seems not to be a balance. In this case, you are still the judge especially if you are a resident of the Hall.
CONCLUDING THE BROACHING…
It must be said that even if luxuries are provided, it will be quite unpleasant to hear and see that they are not properly maintained. Zikites should rise up to that level of greatness which has been mounted on them in their maintenance, culture and take everything in the Hall with caution and due care. However, it is noteworthy that many things are yet to be done as regarding making the Hall a better place to habituate. This is a call to the appropriate authority which is the University management through the Hall management to further take note of and as well take action on the issues aired.