By Abdulafeez Olaitan, UNILAG
One of the most important need of students on campus, especially University of Lagos, Unilag, is electricity. Electricity in Unilag is like a life wire that connects several other aspects of a student’s life together. So, a break in electricity means a massive disruption in major activities that aid productive and comfortable learning.
Residents of the University of Lagos Hostels have expressed dissatisfaction with the current power situation at their various hostels. Since the University’s second semester 2019/2020 physical resumption on May 10th, 2021, students have experienced incessant power outage in the hostels. This deficiency in stable electricity has caused major setbacks for undergraduates.
Unstable electricity means unstable water supply. It means inability to cook with electric cooker (hot plates) since the University has a law against the use of gas cookers in hostels. Unstable electricity means hindrances in a lot of other miscellaneous activities an average hostel resident engages in. What’s worse? Some students have complained about how the unstable water supply had kept them from bathing for a few days.
Indigent students are especially affected considering the recent all-round inflation in the price of commodities. It has become harder to purchase food and many other commodities on campus. The price of some commodities have doubled, some tripled.
These morasses are causing a major hindrance to the academic progress of undergraduates. Thus, the need for utmost attention from the University Management. Interestingly, the Dean of Student Affairs passed an affirmatory commentary on the dire situation, speaking rhetorically:
“Students should have their bath and cook their meals early in the morning. They should go to their Faculties or the Library where they will have power and access to WiFi. The Power bill for the month of April is 180 million naira. In March it was 89 million naira. This means that for the month of April when we brought students to the hostels for physical exams, students consumed power worth 100 million. Its not sustainable. Or are you ready to pay for power?”
This rhetorical question however left undergraduates to question the position of education welfare in the grand scheme of national affairs.
Since the University Management has recommended physical and virtual lectures (depending on class size in accordance to COVID-19 protocols) for the second semester of 2019/2020 academic session, the poor state of electricity in the hostels has been a struggle.
Electronic gadgets is a huge part of undergraduate life. The management should understand that students who will take part in a virtual lecture session would be required to have a charged, as well as an internet-connected smartphone or mobile PC (laptop). If all undergraduates decide to visit their faculties to access electricity and WiFi networks, then the overcrowding law the University stands against to recommend virtual lectures would be flouted with such actions.
For a class size of more than 50 students, the University has recommended Learning Management System (LMS) to fulfill their lecture sessions. This is only possible with well charged mobile PCs and smartphones.
The University Management acknowledges the struggles the power outage is causing but they appear to be helpless about the whole situation.
With the direction the course of events is taking, a power shedding schedule is imminent and undergraduates have never been more ready to see how things unfold.