By: John ‘Dare Okafor
Between 2018 and 2019, halls of residence in the University of Ibadan witnessed a radical facelift in form of renovations, after so many years of neglect from the school management. This brought about joy in the university community as occupants were glad to have witnessed these changes during their academic stay on campus. ‘’Oh, did you see it? They have started changing the roofs in Kuti Hall. I think Tedder will be the next.’’ Then, you would hear the expectation and anticipation in students’ voices. There was the increasing need to see the changes.
Like other halls of residence, renovations in Independence Hall started. The railings were renovated and painted; finally, a change! The changing of these railings had long been overdue, as some floors in the hall had no railing at the balcony. These railings had either been damaged by harsh weather conditions or had fallen off due to incessant banging by overfed Katangites. It was a welcomed change. as it further presented safety for those in the hall. But we still anticipated for more.
Then, the electrical renovation was also done. As at that time, most of the wire works in the hall were in bad conditions as you will see live wire hanging lowly on corridors, with risks of electrocution. Sockets were changed in rooms, lamp holders were also changed, and rewiring was done where needed. It was beautiful to behold the light bulbs on corridors whenever they were lit up at night.
Renovation continued with changes of window nets and door locks. This was a big deal, as most of the rooms in Indy had widely torn nets and completely removed and doors without locks. Katangites were at the risk of mosquito bites and theft of their belongings. The changing of nets made the hall appear civil on the outlook.
Renovation of plumping works in the hall wasn’t left behind, as toilet seats in all blocks in the hall were changed and shower features were added to the bathrooms. Wooden doors were also fixed at the entrance for all toilets. At this time, most toilets were without doors or had non-functional doors at the entrance. Although, the plumping works in the hall wasn’t done in entirety as there were still a lot of piping works to be done that weren’t done before things were halted with no tangible reasons given. Changing of toilet features without necessarily working on changing all the age-old pipes was enough to render all efforts towards the renovation of toilets useless. This lapse in renovation will further lead to having clogged toilets and waterlogged bathrooms.
Presently, most of these renovations stated are no longer in their perfect shapes, as they have only grown from bad to worse due to the poor maintenance of these facilities. We now have more worn-out pipes, clogged toilets and water-logged bathrooms in the halls with no hope of anything happening to them for a long time. More spoilt doors, torn window nets and missing louvres. Things are going back to their formal state, as most of these renovations weren’t completed or not properly done.
Now, there’s a big question hanging in the air: why has renovations in Independence Hall not been completed in comparison to some other halls of residence? Halls like Ransome Kuti and Nnamdi Azikiwe, whose renovation started almost the same time as that of Independence hall, hve received a total facelift. The beautiful looks of these halls subsume the pale walls of Independence Hall and brown railings begging for attention. Does this halt in the complete renovation of the hall have to do with the university management or the hall management? Every session, a sum of thirty-thousand is being paid for accommodation by all interested in getting accommodation in halls of residence.
Shouldn’t all occupants in these halls have equal opportunities when it comes to the upgrade in hall facilities? If the problems lie with the university management, shouldn’t Independence Hall management mount pressure to see these changes happen? The more delay with the complete renovation of Independence Hall, the greater possibility of having more deplorable facilities in the hall. Strategic actions need to be carried out both by the university and hall managements to see that the Great Independence Hall continues to remain great by giving it a proper and deserved facelift.