Reading the title of this article sends different message to our different minds. Several thoughts are rushing through our brains, like the flow of blood rushing through the vein. You are wondering what I am trying to say, with the hope that I would later in this piece, admit that I had made a mistake. Of course, you might be asking if the writer is not a Uite, the reason isn’t farfetched; it is quite unusual for us to blame ourselves. We find it easier to blame our leaders, who in this case are the University management, our lecturers, hall management, faculty heads, and even students’ leaders. We feel relieved every time we push the blame on our leaders once everything goes wrong. We condemn them for being passive, for not acting up to expectations and for not giving us that which we crave for. In fact, their names immediately appear on our minds, when we are asked the question of why the system failed. However, it is high time we accepted the uncommon fact that we have also contributed immensely to the poor state of things on campus. Dear Uites, we are also at fault.
While I was working on a 3-part investigative story titled “The unheard pains and groans of special students in the University of Ibadan” (published on ucjui.com), I had a discussion with the father of a fellow student, whose child is physically challenged. Let me call this father Mr. X, as he declined being mentioned or quoted. Mr. X told me about how students had caused damage to the toilets in one of the male halls of residence which his son was allocated to. While describing what he saw, he narrated how students sprayed the floor of the toilet with solid product of their butts, with no atom of regard for those who are physically challenged, thereby having no choice but to walk over the products or to sit on them; or visually impaired, thereby having no knowledge of the state of things. While we request for better and more toilets, it is only logical that we properly utilize the ones we have on ground to suit the interest of all. Dear Uites, we are also at fault.
I remember sometime ago when I had to sit at the Tennis Lawn sit-out, waiting for the arrival of a friend. I discovered how terrible the environment was, peels of groundnut shell were scattered on the floor. Sadly, this was a time when the Ojo Nifemi led administration launched about 20 refuse bins to limit the careless disposal of refuse by students on campus. Many a Uite enjoy from the delicious taste of biscuits, sweets, gum, cakes, snacks, drinks and other edibles. But after eating and drinking, rather than dispose of properly, we use these in causing damage to our environment by throwing them at wrong spots, without consideration for those who keep the place clean or for the beautified environment itself. Indeed, we are also at fault.
Our lecture rooms and lecture theatres have not been left out of this act of damage as students’ actions have led to the compulsory renovation of lecture rooms and theatres, at the expense of other important areas where the funds could have been more useful. We use our lecture rooms in such a manner that we assume the facilities are strictly there for our use. Therefore, once we are done using them, the best we could do is to see to their destruction. Uites are often seen pulling off slabs attached to the chairs, we see them standing on the chairs and some even go ahead to use the long seats as marching lanes. We destroy these learning tools and the faculty heads would have no choice but to renovate them with the money which should have been used to improve the libraries, renovate the toilets or be invested in other beneficial engagements. Dear Uites, we are also at fault.
We are moving towards the end of the second semester for this academic session. Aside the merriments and fun which this period is known for, another feature of this era is the defacing of walls with posters and bills by aspiring students’ leaders. Aspirants, all in a bid to increase their publicity and promote their awareness place posters on the wall in the name of “strategic publicity”, thereby defacing the walls of our beautiful structures. We compare the University of Ibadan to other schools such as Afe Babalola University on terms of structure, however, we are quick to forget that their students do not deface the walls of the structures as much as we do. Dear Uites, we are also at fault.
Even among ourselves (students) we blame our executives for every little thing that goes wrong. We are quick to challenge them on the package delivered. We are quick to lash at them when the shirt doesn’t suit our taste, we blame them for the poor week and we even nail them with insults when the dinner goes rowdy. But the question is, have you paid your dues? If yes, when did you pay? There are some flaws which we can avoid, only if we are logical enough to concede. How can you complain about a poor department, faculty or hall week when you are yet to pay your dues? How can you say an administration has failed when you made no positive contribution? How can you say your expectations were not met after you paid your dues at the end of the session? It is often said that proper preparation prevents poor performance, therefore, you lack of commitment and monetary contribution would only result in poor preparation which would eventually lead to poor performance. Are the leaders then to be blamed? Dear Uites, we are also at fault.
In conclusion, this piece does not assume that the commitment of members automatically results in great success stories for administrations at different levels within the University community. Of course, there are cases where the followers will display passion for success but the poor abilities of the leaders would only result in the recording of failure for such administration. However, the lesson in which this piece intends to convey is that while we hold our leaders accountable for their deeds, while we query them for not meeting our needs, while we demand for more and more, we should endeavor to maintain the ones we have, we should try to avoid destroying the resources at our disposal, we should show commitment and timely contributions when expected to. The University of Ibadan has its flaws, but even with these, it stands out when compared to other Universities in Nigeria. It is our duty to protect its integrity, reduce the problem therein and contribute to its image, glory and success story. Cast no stone on your leaders, for dear Uites, we are also at fault.
See you next week. But till then; Stay Focus, Stay Conscious.