By Shehu Abdulraman Temitope
I am writing this short piece to express my opinion about the ABU Hostels Allocation saga and the uproar that arose after the portal for the clicking/allocation of the Male hostel was opened on the 22nd of Jan, 2020.
First and foremost, let me welcome all new students to the ABU campus and the returning students back to school. I wish each and everyone a hitch-free stay on campus and may we work hard and never stumble.
Let me also seize this medium to congratulate the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of our great university, Prof. Kabir Bala. May you succeed in your new assignment.
There is no need to waste your precious time explaining the entire scenario that transpired on the day – 22nd of Jan, 2020 and at the point of hostel clicking. The bottom line is that ABU students (especially the male students) are unhappy with the ABU Hostels Allocation process and their grievances are genuine.
It is a fact that No public University in the country (Federal or state) can meet the accommodation needs of all it’s students in the present times. That is a luxury enjoyed only by Nigerian Private Universities who have far fewer students and charged exorbitant fees.
Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria is one of the largest universities on the continent (2nd largest) and by far the most populated in the country. It is also the University that has provided hostel facilities for the highest number of students in the country with at least 45% of its valid students which translates to tens of thousands been accommodated on campus.
The efforts of the ABU management in providing hostels accommodation for us – it’s students is commendable but is it enough? Certainly not.
The ABU Hostels Allocation Saga: The way out
Here are four possible long term solutions that can help us out of this perennial ABU hostels allocation issue and the general accommodation problem
- RECONSTRUCTION OF THE FAMOUS OUTDATED DANFOSIO, ICSA AND RAMAT HALL
Yes, these Iconic but outdated hostels aside the fact that they no longer befit the current standard and status of the prestigious ABU Zaria, they do not fully utilize the land and space upon which they were built. The university management should redesign and reconstruct them to two or more storey buildings to maximize the use of the space and accommodate more students than they currently do just like that of AWO and ETF hall of residence in OAUife.
- TOTAL PROHIBITION OF SQUATTING AND HOSTEL TRADING
Yeah, it’s possible probably by providing hostel identity card/pass to all students who clicked school hostels. I know how some students will feel about this but it will at least be in our favor at the end. This will compel students that need hostel only to click it not those that will make a trade out of it, not even to click in order to dash it out. UNILORIN with fewer hostels despite having a large number of students has done it successfully likewise FUTA and FUNAAB where squatting is prohibited as exam malpractice.
- LEASING OUT SCHOOL LANDS FOR PRIVATE HOSTELS
This is a system where school land within the campus is being leased out to companies, estates, private developers, business tycoons and any capable hand to build modern, accommodating and befitting hostels for students and at a subsidized rate. This will address the accommodation shortage, improve the security of more students and serve as an additional source of income for the school management.
- TRANSPARENCY WITH THE HOSTELS ALLOCATION
I will suggest the school management take this seriously so as to uphold their dignity in the eyes of their students and the public by doing this with transparency. University of Ibadan and OAUife are older than ABU and their priority when it comes to student accommodation is 100L students and Final year students. This is because the new students are ignorant about their new environment and need to be protected while the finalists are occupied with their research projects. It has become a norm that their students have adapted to it.
The ABU management will be doing themselves and us the students well by been transparent and announcing to the populace of students the rooms/blocks that won’t be available for clicking during the ABU Hostels Allocation process and why. By this, students can understand with the management and trust will be built in the process.
By Shehu Abdulraman Temitope, 300L, Water Res & Env. Engineering, ABU Zaria