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Stats: 18,323 Members, 74,382 Topics, 16,046 Comments. Date: Nov 18 2019, 5:05 pm

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Adeyemi Adejoke
Ebonyi State University (EBSU)
Accounting
400Level, Nigeria.

For many years, electricity has been a rare commodity for students of the Ekiti State University (EKSU), particularly those residing in Satellite-Phase Two, School Gate, and Iworoko areas. All previous attempts at improving supply seemed to have defied solutions. But a new vice chancellor supposedly familiar with the terrain is in office.The students are urging him to work with the government to end their frustrations. ADEGUNLE OLUGBAMILA and RACHEAL DAMILOLA, 300-Level student of Linguistics, report:

For how long will students of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) grapple with the challenge of poor electricity supply? This is the question on the lips of the students.

The state-owned institution domiciled in Iworoko-Ekiti, Ekiti State, was established in 1982 as an off-campus institution. With over 20,000 student population; nearly all students live off campus, with majority spread across Satellite-Phase Two, School Gate and Iworoko areas.The school has two hostels that could hardly accommodate 70 students.

Majority of students living at the aforementioned locations have indeed had their fair share of poor power supply. Their complaints range from theft of their personal effects, inability to use power to charge phones or conduct individual or group study, particularly at night, fear of being kidnapped at nightfall and general insecurity, among others.

Interestingly, the management also finds the issue of power a harder nut to crack, saying the poor power situation in those areas is almost as old as the institution established 37 years ago, and may therefore need a political solution more than mere theorising.

Thankfully last week, the government of Ekiti State announced a new vice chancellor, Prof Edward Olanipekun. Not only has Olanipekun spent nearly three decades in the institution before transferring his service to the University of Ibadan, many within and outside the institution believe that with an insider like Olanipekun, and a more- focused government in the saddle, the two parties could team up to break the power jinx that has for long afflicted the host community and environs.

Incidentally, for about four years now, the power situation at Satellite-Phase II and School Gate has become more complex with students having to do nearly everything in pitch darkness.

Students who spoke to CAMPUSLIFE lamented their predicament; no thanks to the seeming helplessness of the management of EKSU and the affected communities.

Students share ordeals

“This situation is so disheartening and not encouraging at all,” says Aluko Ifeoluwa, a 200-Level student of Economics residing in Los Angeles hostel, Phase II.

“Can you imagine,” Ifeoluwa continued, “to charge a cell phone costs N50 everyday! If we multiply that by seven days, it equals N350 per week. If we do the calculation in a month, it is N1,50 0 in a month and N9,000 for one academic session. Is that not outrageous and unfair to us and our parents? Eksuites (students of EKSU) are suffering and the school management does not seem to care about our plights. Things are not like that in other schools. We have friends there. We are pleading with the new management to find practical solutions to this power failure’’.

Students from rich or middle class background can afford to buy power generator while hustlers like us have to endure the outrageous noise and smoke some of the generators emit, laments Ademodi Okikijesu, a 300-Level Linguistics undergraduate who lives in God is Good hostel, Phase Two.

“During exams period, we can’t even read in the hostels we paid for; reason being that the generators make so much noise that we can hardly assimilate.” Another 300-Level student of Physics who prefers to remain anonymous corroborated Ademodi.

The source continued: “During my 200-Level second semester exam, I was supposed to write a paper by 11:30am, but that paper was rescheduled to 8:30 due to a clash. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware the exam had been brought forward because my phone had a flat battery; only for me to get to school around 11am and saw my classmates emerging from the examination hall. I ended up having a carryover (CO) and that course was a three-unit course. Everything was a consequence of power failure. It was a saddening experience, one that I’ll live to remember.”

“From my point of view,” says Kenneth Omotayo, another 300-Level Chemistry undergraduate residing in Phase Two, “I think the blackout has really reduced the level of motivation to study; and when motivation and comfort are not there, then our study process becomes difficult. I beseech the new management and the Ekiti State government to do something about it because despite the odds, students still strive to make this university proud by making good grades.”

“How can we learn smoothly in an environment that’s not conducive to learning?” Oyindamola (surname withheld), a third year Linguistics student residing in Suncity Phase two asks rhetorically.

“How can we read without power supply? Charging of lamps and phones is usually impossible. How do we even make a better use of a university without power?”

Agbeye Onaopemipo, a 500-Level Law student residing in Alva Hood hostel at Osekita, also lent his voice.

“This issue has really affected me a lot, from the heat to risking my gadgets while charging them.”

Onaopemipo continued: “Back home I don’t sleep without light, but getting to EKSU, I had to adapt to sleeping in the dark. As a Law student, I’m expected to dress corporately every day in my white and black uniform. I definitely need iron for straightening out the clothes; but that has only been impossible for obvious reasons. So some of the time Law students appear in school in rumpled clothes.

“Charging our lamps is another headache too. Sadly enough, we have been compelled to adapt to the use of lanterns or candles for study purposes, and this is 21st Century, not minding the risks those things pose. Virtually all students on campus use a smart phone too. Ninety nine per cent of school activities ranging from lecture, examination, and even checking of result is posted on the school’s dysfunctional portal.”

Similarly, a final year Computer Science undergraduate, Olotu Moses, recalled how he lost four of his handsets to thieves in the process of charging them.

“The lack of electricity is affecting me in a lot of ways,” Moses moans.

“For example, my phone has been stolen four different times while charging around. In fact, it has affected a whole lot of students. Some have even joined bad gangs all because they want to run generator always like their mates. They don’t want to be going from one room to another or staying outside in the cold all in the name of charging. As students, we can’t even use electric cooker. We can’t come back from school in the sun,shower and turn on the fan.

“Most times when I’m supposed to be reading, which I really love doing, I will have to go from one hostel to another in order to charge my gadget, even after a strenuous day at school,” adds another student who simply introduced herself as Mojisola.

“The funny thing is that I really hate reading with lamp or candle. My assimilation rate seems to lessen the moment the lamp dims; but I tend to read well and do better when I use electricity.”

Likewise, Ayodeji Gbolagade, another final year Accounting undergraduate and a resident of Phase Two shares his experience: “Something happened during my 100-Level days. I went with my lamp on a night reading in school. As I was ready to return to the hostel at dawn, I discovered my bag containing my phone, laptop and power bank had been stolen. All I had left in school that morning were my books and lamp. I strongly believe if the whole place were illuminated that day, the thief wouldn’t have had his way. “

The problem is intricate, says management

Reacting to the development, EKSU PRO, Mr Deji Aleshinloye, said the power problem has become intricate and may therefore require political solutions.

“I graduated from EKSU about 10 years ago and this issue you are talking about was there during our time,” Aleshinloye began.

“”Iworoko alone accommodates about 5000 of our students. That community has a longstanding problem with electricity supply. The issue is quite complicated and multi-faceted. It ranged from arrears owed PHCN, to poor or non-functional transformer, bad poles, among others.

“As a university, we are quite responsive and we sympathise with our students over their predicament, Nonetheless, there is little the management can do about it.

“All those communities you mentioned are outside our jurisdiction. Much as we appreciate what our students go through, the university cannot take on the responsibility of those communities by simply dipping its hands into its coffers to pay a part of the bills. “I can tell you that over time, successive management had made efforts to alleviate the suffering of our students. There was a time the immediate past government attempted to build more hostels within the university premises through build, operate and transfer (BOT) platform. Unfortunately, it was during this problem with forex then and that project, located at the back of the Students’ Union building, was stalled at the foundation level till date.

“Our happiness is that the government has just appointed a new vice chancellor who had been with us for almost 30 years before he transferred his service to the University of Ibadan. Now, we are getting it right because our new vice chancellor knows the terrain quite well. Our vice chancellor and the Governor are on the same page. If the plight of students can get to the Governor through the new management, I strongly believe some positive results will begin to evolve.”


Source: https://thenationonlineng.net/poor-electricity-eksu-students-take-new-vc-to-task/

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