By: Emmanuel Ilesanmi
At the release of the calendar for the recently concluded inter-faculty competition, one thing that struck many University of Ibadan students was that calendar stated Lead City University as the venue for the swimming competition. The question that would most likely have come to your mind when you saw the calendar was: “why will UI athletes go for our inter-faculty competition at Lead City University?” Other questions that might have come to mind are: “have we no shame?” “Have we no swimming pool in UI?” “What happened to the SUB Swimming Pool and the Staff Club Swimming Pool?” “Must we have a swimming competition if we do not have the facilities to organise one?”
These questions are valid, and they were the same questions that spurred this correspondent to look into the issues surrounding the abandonment of the SUB Swimming Pool, which was a huge factor in the use of the Lead City Swimming Pool for the University of Ibadan Inter-faculty Swimming Competition.
The SUB Swimming Pool was fully functional last session, before the Covid-19-induced break. It is also one of the most popular recreational spots for UI students, operating at a discounted price for interested students who enjoy swimming. However, with this session came a stark and noticeable difference in the state of the SUB Pool – a once bubbly spot has been left desolate and dry. The sorry state of the pool has left athletes and aqua-philic persons to resort to either finding another place of interest on campus or an alternative outside the Main Campus. One allusion to this is the just concluded inter-faculty tourney, where the swimming phase of the competition was held at The Lead City University.
The downgrading effect of using a substandard pool for the inter-faculty competition has raised eyebrows in different corners of the university, creating a cauldron of talking points.
The headline “Another White Elephant Lies in Waste” is probably one that rings a bell. It is the headline for a story on how the National Stadium in Abuja, the M.K.O. Abiola Stadium, became the home of grazing animals between 2017 and 2021. In the case of the UI SUB Pool, it has been left desolate and unattended to, that it has become the well from where some people draw water. What a downgrade! From a bubbly pool to an intermittent well. Strange things happen, but it no so strange to find large public structures like this lie in waste. Till there is a sudden reawakening in those in charge, there may be no solution.
What left the SUB Swimming Pool in such a sorry state? Who manages the pool? The Students’ Union?
In the course of this story, this correspondent reached out to the managers of the facility – the UI Sports Council – to find out why the pool is such a lamentable state. The Head Coach and Assistant Sports Director, Dr. Eyeomo, gave his angle to the story. He made revelations that the pool’s unavailability is as a result of some cumulative factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic which kept workers away from managing the pool; a leaking and “unfixable” crack at the base of pool; and also inadequate water supply. He further added that though some avenues deployed have yielded no results, all efforts to take the pool to its previous state will be explored.
Now, even if revenue unaccrued from this facility is acceptable, consider the draining effect of losing out on hosting the annual swimming event in UI as a result of the aforementioned reasons. A recent visit to the SUB Pool showed an increased water level by, largely due to more frequent rainfall. Nonetheless, the Pool is still unfit to be reopened.
There is no denying that the Inter-hall competition will be held next session. This session will soon be over, and a new one will usher in fresh competitions that may require the use of the pool. There is also the deprivation of students from the relaxation that the pool offers, and an expectedly increased usage – burdening, to say the least – of the UI Staff Club Swimming Pool. It is expedient that the school management looks into the repair of the swimming pool, as it is not in any way befitting that swimming competitions by the University of Ibadan are held in other universities – many less prestigious – due to an unattended issue.