By: Babalola Khadeeja
Ruminating on a line in our school anthem which says, “soothing spring for all who thirst,” I can vividly and aptly recall a saying in a book, brilliantly authored by Shiv Khera titled “You can win”. The saying says “Higher institutions are fountains, some people come to sip while some come to gulp.” With experience I add, some are just there to gargle.
The aforementioned saying apparently depends on the size of one’s container and the motive behind that container size which undoubtedly is the degree of thirst. Relating this scenario to the proscription of motorcycle operation in the University by UI intra-Campus transport committee and its replacement with tricycles made me realize a fact: “You cannot create a budget for a man whose salary is unknown to you.”
Truth be told, bikes are prone to accident more than cabs and tricycles. It has given a forever scar to some students. Aside that fact, it is also a very easy way to perpetrate nefarious and highly insalubrious acts especially at night. It is quite easier for a student to be easily kidnapped especially when such a condition is pitifully favored by total black-out in the school environment and also judging by the fact that the rule only accept one person to board the bike at once.
Likewise, some insatiable bike-men utilize some periods and situations such as Post UTME time, first timers or clueless personnel entering U.I, students going to the likes of Awo, Ajibode etc to unjustifiably extort students and others who have fallen into those categories. Being a student who have had an experience of one of the aforementioned conditions and after learning about the plan of the school management thus asked myself, is it not actually justified?
However, just like how some drugs work (benefits outweighing the risk), so is the situation of bikes in our dear premier university. If we look at the other side of the coin, we will discover that even though, bikes are not absolutely the best means of transportation in a student-dominated environment, we cannot as well undermine the fact that it is highly important to some reasonable extent even with a greater population.
How do you expect the likes of Ibukun, a pharmacy student who resides in Awo hall and has a class of a lecturer who won’t tolerate a minute lateness to catch by 8am to get to such a class faster? Show me the best way for Emeka, a civil engineering student who inevitably resides in Agbowo and later learnt while in class that there is a few minutes deadline for her to submit a vital document.
Tell me the best option for the likes of Uthman, a second year Medical Laboratory Science Student who has to get to the Department of Chemistry by 9am after a rigorous standing session in an 8am anatomy class with other students in a small classroom. Proffer the best solution for Mariam, a third year Medical student who has to rush back from Awo to the lab just because a lecturer called for an ‘impromptu’, timed and space-limited practical session.
Suggest the best possible way for Ope, a third year Physiotherapy student who after a compulsory ward round has to leave UCH for a 30-minute pharmacology test in UI but on getting to the main entrance met an half filled buses or empty cabs. These are few instances that expose the superiority and necessity of bikes over other means.
Aside serving transportation purpose, a moment of reflection will make one realize that most of these bike men are old people and some of us could revive the memory of some of them sharing their wealth of experience with us, feeding us with vital live lessons that can never be learnt in the four walls of the classroom. This has in one way or the other sharpen most of us to prepare well for a better future. This, you will all agree with me, can never be learnt in the cab.
Also, tricycles are just like cabs that occupy a lesser space by losing one leg. There is feasibly no difference. Like cabs, one has to wait till it gets full before it takes off. Like cab, you can’t be granted a lone carriage unless you are buoyant enough to take “drop.” Unlike bikes, it cannot cater for the majority rushing to get to their destination. Unlike bikes, the driver does not have a protective helmet as seat belts are also found wanting in it. Unlike bikes, it is not as heavy and thus can be affected by a strong wind.
Conclusively, bike is a soothing spring that quenches the thirst of most students. It is pocket friendly, convenient in terms of number of passengers, timely, fast and able to penetrate some places on campus where cabs and buses can’t. It is also a means of livelihood for many and it actually displays a high level of orderliness in terms of its mode of operation. We therefore appeal to the school management to save this vital container of ours. We are the one who truly know the depth of our thirst.