Unlike other articles which typically portray a certain bias, this article only hopes to draw attention to the ongoing decay evident in one of Nigeria’s foremost institutions of academic excellence without any political, tribal, religious or ethnic undertone.
Established in 1988, the University of Abuja emerged with a vision to develop an institution of higher learning that combines academic excellence with the pursuit of the unity of Nigeria and a Mission to provide instructional, research and public service programs appropriate to a university of high standing that guarantees academic excellence and to operate a strong and virile distance learning component that ensures equal educational access to a large constituency.
Located Along the Kaduna-Lokoja road in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, the University of Abuja staff quarters is a clear pointer to failure of governance (both past and present ). A visit to the expanse of land housing the scholars of this prestigious institution will literally leave you wiping for generations unborn. It is evident that both past and present leaderships of the University have completely abandoned the residents of the so called staff quarters, little wonder only a hand full of them are currently housed in what appears to be no more than a glorified rural dwelling, for how else can one describe the shameful and horrific set up that lies in sight. The entrance gates on either sides of the quarters can hardly be spotted unless one approaches in broad day, as if deliberately intended not to draw attention to the evident disgrace. There are no sign posts or road signs to welcome anyone to this settlement and for those who manage to find it, they are greeted by an almost completely eroded road irrespective of which ever gate is used to gain access into the quarters. The roads wear a look of pity and I dare say have not had any form of maintenance in the last twenty years or more but would most likely have been used as an excuse to award contracts to those who have looted the institution in the past .
The potholes encountered can only be described as treacherous for one cannot help but wonder what the inhabitants of this quarters did to deserve such gross neglect and total abandon. While still struggling to navigate the roads, it becomes evident that no one has ever been held accountable in the past for this decaying community, as the structures in sight can surely only be described as “Miserable” for want of a better adjective. The obvious decay and total collapse goes beyond the roads and extends to the buildings that house this academicians. The structures in sight appear dilapidated and worn out, one cannot help but wonder how much longer they will stand while the soil upon which they are pitched gives way from decades of erosion spanning from nonexistent drainage systems in this harbinger of death called a staff quarters. While still trying to come to terms with the appalling conditions of the structures in site ,one can obviously see that this environment plays host to the worst reptiles and creatures that could possibly exist for it is evident that the bushes and grasses have not been not been tended to in and out of seasons .
This sort of environment should never be intended for any group of individuals , not even prisoners, let alone those whom society looks to as astute scholars and polished agents of change meant to weave the fabrics of society through precise tutoring and academic mentorship. Indeed no one will ever be capable of any intellectual stimulation or innovative reasoning in an environment of such quagmire thus straying away from the original vision upon which this institution was established in the first place. Little wonder No one is worried about the none existence of an automated teller machine or a wireless network, not to talk of the very poor telecommunication service network experienced within the vicinity irregardless of the type of network you subscribe to and don’t even get started on the fact that there isn’t a standby generator perceived obviously as luxury in an academic domain supposed to compete at international standards.
The above being said, it’s is important to point out that the rot didn’t begin recently even though that does not exonerate the current leadership though certainly various vice-chancellors have come and gone, preferring to turn a blind eye to this shameful and sorry site called a staff quarters while like most things in Nigeria until now no one has been held accountable for the decay. The obvious question that comes to mind is “how did it get so bad” ? . Every university system should have a maintenance department saddled with the responsibility of predicting and identifying various infrastructural breakdown for just like the human body and everything else time causes progressive wear and tear thus only routine and regular servicing/maintenance can prevent colossal damage. Perhaps efforts have been made but those involved at the maintenance department have been frustrated due to failure of implementation or total absence of budgetary allocation to ensure this deplorable state never was. Again is it possible that the ball has been passed from the budget sector to those heading the Admin sector but they In turn do not consider it amongst the top agenda to approve regular rehabilitation of the quarters considering the financial implications or more so that many of them do not reside in this quarters.
Whatever the reasons given it should and must be stated that there has been complete and total failure within the housing system of the University Of Abuja thus frantic/urgent steps should be taken to forestall and prevent future occurrence of such inexcusable deterioration of public infrastructure with a view to preventing any catastrophe leading to loss of life as indeed to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
- Writer has chosen to stay Anonymous