UNILAG VC to Fashola: We Need More of FG’s Intervention to Open Up Our University

…FG reiterates commitment to improving human condition, hands over rehabilitated road to the University

By Dwelleth Morountodun

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to the ideal of improving the human condition in the country saying the current intervention of the government in the rehabilitation of internal roads in Federal institutions nationwide was consistent with that ideal.

Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, of the University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Olusola, who expressed appreciation to the Federal Government on the road rehabilitation pleaded with the Minister, saying: “We say thank you to the federal government, we also say please don’t leave us we are still here and we need more assistance so that we can open up more areas in the university.”

 Represented by the Federal Controller of Works in the State, Engr. Olaseni Bakare, at the handing over of a rehabilitated road in the University, the Minister said while it was true that work was in progress in many sectors of the country’s national life including education, the Buhari government has stepped out to lead the process of getting that work done, adding: “The gap of our infrastructural need is being steadily being bridged by gradual process of repairs, renewal and construction of major highways and it has reached the schools”.

Noting that the interventions were impacting on the quality of Education in the institutions, the Minister declared, “It is undebatable that the quality of education will be impacted by the quality of infrastructure and the learning environment”, adding that those who doubt it should simply listen to the feedbacks from the students of schools where such intervention has taken place.

He said that the commitment to the ideal of improving the human condition could well be seen in the renewed enthusiasm for learning being shown by students of the tertiary institution which have so far benefited from the ongoing interventions adding that UNILAG has joined 46 other institutions which have so far benefited from the process.

According to the Minister: “We have successfully intervened in 64 internal road projects in various federal institutions and handed over a total of 46 as at March, 2022. We now have another 18 readies to be handed over while we are currently attending to 19 other roads across the country in similar institutions bringing it to a total of 83.”

Expressing the hope that the roads being rehabilitated in federal institutions across the country would be used properly and not abused by the beneficiaries, he pointed out that although the current interventions are civil projects, they are also investments in education adding that they fulfill the job creation initiative as over 40 people were employed in the process of the construction of the road in UNILAG.

In her welcome remarks earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Folasade Olusola, while thanking the Federal Government, President Muhammad Buhari and the Minister of Works and Housing for what she described as, “this great initiative of intervening in tertiary institutions”, declared, “It is very clear that if our future will be secured, we must invest in education.”

Noting that the manpower that develops the nations is produced by the universities, the Vice Chancellor added that if the enabling environment were not created in which the manpower would grow then the future of the nation would be mortgaged. “Everyone has a role to play.” she said.

She expressed gratitude to the Minister for also resurfacing the road from the UNILAG Bookshop to the Medical Centre which she described as previously “terrible” adding, “You gave us a total rehabilitation of that road because if one was passing through that road, you would think you were passing through a gulley. I am very grateful for the work you are doing in infrastructure in terms of our road.”

 In an interview after the handover ceremony, the Vice Chancellor said the rehabilitated road was hitherto “impassable”, adding, “When we gave people houses on this road usually, they turned it down because the road was a real challenge and it was so bad that it was beyond what we could handle. It was beyond maintenance and it really needed rehabilitation.”

“We are grateful to the Federal Government and we assure them that we will continue to maintain the road because it creates a good environment for our academic work”, she said adding, “We are trying to create an environment for our students and our staff to flourish. We want to make life easier for them and we are looking forward to much more in terms of road network.”

Pointing out that the UNILAG Campus is small but has land which could be expanded, the Vice Chancellor pointed out that the institution needs to open up the land to be able to develop it adding, “One of the things about roads is that they go with development, if we have roads then we can have more classrooms and hostels because they will be built along the roads.

So, as we say thank you to the federal government, we also say please don’t leave us we are still here and we need more assistance so that we can open up more areas in the university.”

There were also expressions of gratitude from both staff and students who attended the ceremony in their numbers in spite of the fact that many faculties were conducting examinations. The Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof. Musa Obalola, thanked the federal government for the intervention saying before the rehabilitation, the road was “quite bad.”

The Dean, who said he had been in the institution for over three decades, both as a student and then lecturer, added, “One thing that we seem to lack as a people, may be due to oversight or our cultural trait, is that we do not maintain our assets as much as we should but in the rehabilitation of this road it has been beneficial to both faculty members and students”.

“I think I’ve been here for over three decades, as a student and as a faculty member of the university. As a staff I’ve been here for more than two decades. So, I’m qualified to talk about the condition of the road before and now. Prior to the rehabilitation most vehicles avoid this road. They would rather take Ozolua road and others rather than plying this road but now almost everyone wants to start plying this road”, he said.

On the park which was also rehabilitated, the Dean said, “Oh, yes that one is beneficial to everyone. It’s where we have our shopping mall. The place was giving us a lot of headaches before its rehabilitation. For the road you might say its beneficial to those that live around here but that one is like a shopping complex that almost everyone visits on a daily basis so the construction of that place was a very beneficial one to the entire university community even to outsiders. Over the years we’ve tried to do some palliatives but it didn’t last but the way it is looking now it is “quite commendable and beneficial to the entire community.”

“What the Federal Government is doing is quite a commendable gesture because I don’t think any university has the financial muscle to do this. So, the intervention of the government in this regard is a welcome idea and we hope to see more of it as the year rolls on because there are still little parts of our road that needs this treatment but so far largely our roads seem to be in good shape now.” he said. 

Others who spoke included the Acting Director of Works of the institution and the President of the Students’ Association of the Faculty of Social Sciences who spoke for the student’s body. They all expressed delight and gratitude to the Federal Government “for the work done by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.”

The President of the Students’ Union said, “The road we are standing on is called Abdul Attah Road. The road was so bad that lecturers allocated houses there refused to take the houses but today as you can see it’s a beauty to behold. We thank the federal government for this effort. The roads will improve the condition of learning and teaching. We can now go to classes and come back without the fear that our vehicles will break down.”

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