The stakes were high. The race for what to write was more competitive than that between the sperm cells that eventually formed me. Too many things to talk about. Unibadan is raining hell; halls have been beheaded. The University has been churning out brilliant ideas; the latest being the meeting invitation to Parent and Guardian which reminds us of the good old days of PTA in high school. The management has ‘wisely’ breastfed medical students with peak milk, and now there fees are ‘reaching for the peak’. Protests everywhere. Resumption is as uncertain as tomorrow. In fact, UI currently boils.

Although, the choices were almost endless, the mother of them all is the hike in price. It stands out as a sore thumb would. Much as it has received weeklong stern opposition, it is time to take a breather. Because the management, whose members ate chicken and had their clothes drycleaned by our founding fathers in the yore years of their undergraduate, has, once again, shown one of the most thoughtful means of generating internal revenue. They have shown yet again that, among them, commonsense is as common as snow in Sahara Desert.

The hike in fees ought to have been more. Remember the saying that if you think education is expensive try ignorance. The school quiet understands this saying that is why an increase was inevitable. Out of the benevolent heart of our academic parents, they heeded the advice of Bill Gates to the Nigerian government that, the government should invest in the people. In their most brilliant smartness, they interpreted the billionaire’s words as making the people (who, here, are the students) to pay more. Give it to them.

Also, because the Nigerian people hardly trust innovative discoveries from our schools, the management had to look for an alternative udder to milk from. The school has reached a stage when the intellectual community finds it tough to sell its wit. Researches from the grey matter of our academic heavyweights, sadly, no longer matter because they are birthed on paper, they live on paper and die nowhere else.

The only time their lifespan is altered is when la cram la pour geniuses come calling on them. In fact, merely to erect a transformer in the school, a certain Ajadi, who is a technician from Agbowo, has to be hired. You may care to ask: where are our engineers? Well, they will supervise him. Fair deal? Now tell me, in a situation whereby we pay for what we know and equally do not sell what we have, how do we make a fortune? You, the students, are the next open cheque and trust them, you can’t escape it.

Again, let us examine the state of UI Ventures together. Remember the business treasure trove tucked in the textbook for GES 301 – Introduction to Entrepreneurial Skills? The 137-paged book, a compendium of anything business – from innovations for business success to financial planning and management, from feasibility studies to legal issues and so on – is a product of the school. Yet, the school businesses cannot find the product between this product of its and the business it owns. As a matter of fact, saying it can’t find the product is an overstatement.

Even a sum is a cold day hell. Therefore, because internally generated revenue is direly needed, and UI bread is like stiffened television casing, and UI water is better for washing than it is for drinking, and UI farm is not a big market for the school and its environ, and UI hotel has no evidence that a certain Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism exists, then the searchlight has to be beamed elsewhere. And to you is the sure bet. Thank your star that it is still within the bracket of 1-100 thousand upsurge. It could have been more!

Let me also add that, the increment, particularly in accommodation is for your good. Some of the things that hurt the drivers of the school’s affairs are situations that “de-market” the school or “impugn our integrity and abuse us at the slightest provocation of students” or public demonstrations that force the head to mouth: “they are disgracing us”. They neither want to be disgraced nor de-marketed (whatever that means) nor their hard earned integrity be impugned; hence, the increment.

Trust them, again because of that much treasured integrity, you won’t pay more to get less. If not totally 114% refurbishment, at least you will get 100% renovation to your Halls. See, the increment is a giant stride in the bid to transform the half-star vestiges in UI Halls of Residence to at least four-and-half-star (because the initial half will not be thrown away) habitations. Please don’t take my words to the bank; bank on their integrity.

Need I mention another reason the move is a smart one? Tell me how many of you pay as low as fourteen thousand outside and get as much as you get in the Halls? You pay more outside and yet you get lesser than the school offers. Still you complain! Isn’t that hypocrisy? Well, whatever it is, the school is not making profit as it ought to from its businesses, its wits are not generating revenue as you would expect; in spite of this, you kept enjoying subsidy. But not any longer. No more subsidy. Even on the national scene, oil subsidy has been itself halted few years back. It is a simple  analogy of, when the best is not available the available becomes the best.

To close, now that the cost of living in the school is more than the cost of schooling there, what does that imply? How did we get to the stage where we, the gown, supplies neither brainpower nor manpower to the town? How come we teach students to be brilliant entrepreneurs yet our businesses are being strangled by the torpid fist of incompetence? Why do we claim we have integrity more than we show that we truly do? Isn’t an institution’s learning power its earning power? How come ours is different? Does that mean we teach more and we learn less? Or we don’t learn at all? The clue is certainly in between the two options.

So let whoever has ears listen. These words are for the wise to chew and ruminate over – not just those who claim to be wise but those who truly are. Let the wise pick that which belong to them, let them chew it, swallow it and let it digest and mend the errors in the system. I’m munching my own already. And for those who are too wise to learn let them die of constipation. I’ve said my own. Verbum sap!

 

Disclaimer: This is a work of satire. Names or anything that has semblance with them, persons, wise or otherwise, offices, high or low, authorities, constituted or unconstituted, are as a result mixture of the author’s imagination and inspiration from Above, and any semblance of actual persons, far or near, organizations or body is the handiwork of Mr Coincidence. You have been told. Don’t say we haven’t!