Universality. Or more like Universe City. All are vivid descriptions of a University. The hallmark of every higher institution of learning is not its land mass. Neither is it its acclaimed firstness or bestness. Nor is it its landed structures. The hallmark of every institution that worths its onions is its exemplification of a prototypic template of how an ideal society should look. Everything such institution would be churning out should be an example for the town.
Since education is an all-encompassing phenomenon, citadel of education should teach everything. It should teach morals. It should teach communication. It should teach leadership. It should teach all soft and hard skills. It should teach hygiene. Each time it fails in any or all of this, it has failed its purpose; and it is no better than a slaughterhouse for the mind – while it should sharpen the mind, it makes it numb. Sadly, in Nigeria, that is what we get most times. And the University of Ibadan is no exception.
Many things are wrong with our Ivory Tower. In fact, saying that is stating the obvious. Talk of the academic climate that has beclouded us; it has turn students into seven-pointers in the course of la cram la pour la forget. Or move a step further and think of the UI Ventures. In a school where students are being taught Entrepreneurial Skills as a course, it is heart-whipping to see this same school wracking its wits to manage its own businesses. These and many more are battles our in loco parentis are yet to conquer.
Some of these problems are problems of paucity of fund; some as a result of government’s negligence. But one is certainly not either of these. It is improper sewage disposal and refuse management. Like it is natural to see a bright cloud on every sunny day, it is not a far cry to see the breakage of drainage pipes, unmanaged refuse dumps, human wastes littering the floor around the university’s environ. And this has successfully caused not just environmental pollution but also, it has balmed the air in these areas with unsafe constituents for inhalation and exhalation.
Take a stroll to Dyke Road, in the part of it that covers C-Block of Tedder Hall, the gory sight of human wastes spilled on the floor would strike your sight. Take a sharp turn to Tedder gate, and walk down the road enroute Kenneth Mellanby Hall, another ugly waterlogged part of the road would fill your mouth with sticky sputum due to the pungent smell that would rent the air. Leave the roadsides and enter into the Halls of residence – on walkways, floors and gutters the improper waste management continues to stick its ugly head out.
The health of students is at risk; it is because this this Editorial is calling for urgent attention as regards this time bomb. We call on the management to imbibe the style implored by the University of Lagos. In UNILAG, at every strategic position, four waste trucks of different colours are placed. The trucks are used for disposing papers, cans, nylons and the last for other materials – each is differentiated by its distinct colour. Periodically, these trucks are then emptied for recycling. Thereby, the environment is cleansed and revenue is generated. University of Ibadan can borrow a leaf.
Also, because of health havocs which accompany mismanagement of waste, the school must be on her toes to prevent the outbreak of an endemic. On this, we propose that a sanitation committee – consisting of professionals in the field of hygiene and environmental management – be setup. This committee would highlight the problems and come up with workable solutions. When a problem is identified, after all, it is halfway solved.
In addition, sewage, rather than be left to become pollutants, can be used for the good of it. Every trash that goes down the drain is a veritable treasure trove of selecting raw materials, according to some academics and startups. Professor Derek is one of them. His work with geobacter, a specie of bacteria, since he discovered it living, has shown that. This bacterium, he discovered, is useful in powering cell phone and in cleaning waste water or earth of toxic metals. Also, sewage is used in generating Hydro-electric power. It is also used to make coal, make water bottles, run car and produce urea. By utilizing our wastes, these are what we can have as byproducts.
We close by reaffirming that: excellence is boring when claimed in mantras; but the moment it begins to show in deeds, it becomes a veritable action. If the premier university claims and wishes to live true to its name, then issues of this nature should long be buried. There should be a clear-cut distinction between Dyke road and Bodija market road. There must be a distinct difference between those who don the gown and those who tread the town. In the former they pursue learning and character; while in the latter they pursue earning and street sense.