• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Fashola beating a new path in higher institutions infrastructure

University of Ibadan

There couldn’t be a more apt description for Nigeria’s dire lack of physical systems, facilities and built environment required for sustenance and economic development. It’s a situation someone has termed ‘infrastructure woes’.

It’s a condition of near total collapse of nearly all physical systems of the nation.

For many years, modest gains in infrastructure development made both in the colonial and immediate post colonial eras of Nigeria’s history were in rapid decline as government’s economic development process became increasingly unstructured and inchoate.

Tertiary education systems may have suffered the most as education budgets continued to shrink just as facilities didn’t stop to dilapidate.

Special intervention in federal tertiary education

It is under this milieu that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had envisioned a special intervention programme to lift the conditions of Federal Government-owned tertiary institutions.

Just like most other sectors, these institutions, old and new, great and not so great, had suffered severe infrastructure deficits. It is to the point that the entire annual education budgets would not fix even the major roads on many Nigerian campuses.

So it was that roads in even such premier institutions like the University of Ibadan, and its affiliate University College Hospital (UCH), University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Benin, among others had been given to utter dereliction, some of them starting from their imposing main gates.

Nothing tells the woe tales of a university than damaged and sometimes impassable roads within the precincts of an ivory tower.

The pictures coming out of our citadel of learning were indeed dire. When it rains, most of them regardless of whether they may be in the north, south, east or west, become such eyesore and depressing environments.

On account of the wretched road networks alone, hardly would any tertiary institution in Nigeria be considered for a respectable grade in a global index of schools.

This is why the recent insightful intervention by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing under Babatunde Fashola, a former governor of Lagos State, cannot be over-emphasised.

“This peculiar intervention is a product of deep thinking to improve education infrastructure, create employment and even improve the economy,” says Fashola.

It is indeed a unique and worthy path to reclaim some lost sheen of our once glorious and world standard federal universities. No fewer than 44 institutions have been listed for massive improvements of their roads.

A first phase of 18 institutions spread across the six geopolitical zones was embarked upon in 2018 and they have all been completed and turned in.

The schools are the University of Ibadan and the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Kaduna Polytechnic, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Federal College of Education, Katsina, University of Benin, Bayero University, Kano, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and Federal University, Oye, Ekiti.

Others are Federal University, Kushere, Gombe, Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa, Federal University, Gashua, Yobe, Federal University, Lokoja, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Federal University, Lafia, Federal Polytechnic Offa, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, and Federal Polytechnic, Ede.

Apart from other benefits this huge campus roads remediation may bring on, students are overjoyed by the improved wellbeing and aesthetics on their campuses such that they had never seen before. They are, indeed, proud to be students in tertiary schools that boast of beautiful road arteries roundabout their entire premises.

By the time the entire 44 projects are completed in a couple of years, there sure would be a fresh lease of life in our higher institutions.