By: Ajadi Sodiq
It was around 5:30pm. Bolu Onasile just came back from class in the evening just like every other student in the University of Ibadan. Although stress is a typical part of Students’ lives, Bolu experiences a tougher variant as he’s both a resident on the topmost floor in one of the blocks in Independence Hall and a 3rd-year student of the Department of Architecture, sited at Ajibode.
Last year, the Faculty of Environmental Design was opened at Ajibode extension. This made the stress more difficult for someone like Bolu, especially as his bicycle had been stolen from its usual spot.
Bolu couldn’t hold back the lamentation as he started after returning from another day of classes.
“Before the bus was put in place for students of the Faculty to use, it was totally hell for me, every architecture student as well as for other students in the faculty.
“The tricycle riders charge an outrageous amount than the designated fee. We have to be in numbers of 5 before we could take a cab paying 400 naira each to and from total 800 naira,” Bolu said.
“A single person has to pay the whole amount. Sometimes, I get lucky pricing it to 1600 or 1800 for a single person who has no one to tag along with. Anytime you mention any amount less than that to those riders they don’t even look at you twice before saying no,” he added.
Stress, Disenchantment Among Students
This whole issue doesn’t only happen to someone like Bolu or any student of the architecture department alone but also every student under the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management (EDM).
This is why for someone like Okunade Timilehin, a 300 level student of the department of Urban and Regional Planning has to wait till some of his classmates are done before proceeding with transport to classes due to the difficulties of riding solo.
“It’s hard to see a cab that’ll take you straight to our faculty, if you’re going alone. I had to wait for my classmates to take the cab because you can’t even think of taking bus that will first drop you at the bus stop, it’ll take time to fill and it won’t even pay (sic).”
“Sometimes, these things are reasons for some of us to stab classes because we’ll think of how it’ll be easy to attend 8am class when you know you’ll have to wait for people to get to where you’re going,” Timileyin lamented further.
For someone like Adeleke-Leo Adam, a 200 level student of the department of Architecture, telling Indy Press of his experiences cannot do justice to the stress.
“Until you experience this, you may have no idea whatsoever of what I’m saying. Someone who hasn’t been there can’t say our minds.”
Adeleke-Leo didn’t stop as he further expressed the torment they go through while trying to balance their primary assignment and their mental health. He revealed how he gets turned away once he got to the drivers for a cab to their faculty but the drivers won’t hesitate to decline going to their faculty.
“You see, the stress of having to board vehicle to Ajibode daily, and the hesitation of drivers not wanting to go there because they won’t see passengers on return”
Inconveniences to Health and Students’ Finances
To make things worse for students attending lectures in this area, the absence of requisite transport makes attendance in classes less attractive.
Adeleke-Leo worries about health and the ease of responding to emergencies. He explained how despite having a bicycle, the fatigue often made him sick.
“Some of us have bicycles but it’s not easy cycling the steep hill to 8am class. One won’t even be able to settle for the first half an hour of the class because of the fatigue due to distance travel.”
“One can’t even leave in an emergency, you’ll have to wait and call for a cab driver from school down there to pick you up.
“Many are not financially buoyant for these daily expenses, hence they walk from their various hostels down to Ajibode Extension, until you experience this, you may have no idea whatsoever of what I’m saying.”
Drivers Blame Fuel Costs And Bad Roads
Explaining why the situation remains that way, Mr. Joseph Ojo, who has been driving on campus since 2014, with Ajibode as his main route, stated that it was due to bad roads and other reasons his colleagues consider sufficient for avoiding the location.
“The road is bad! And drivers won’t want to go there for their own sake because it’ll damage their cars.”
“Buses are always available during school sessions, but you can’t expect the turn out to be so during holidays and they usually have classes sometimes when others are done with theirs,” he added.
Mr. Ojo also blamed the issues on the cost of purchasing fuel. “People don’t really go from school to that side in the morning, so they have to consider us the drivers because of the price of petrol.”