One of the major problems that students of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti face are the increasing insufficiency of learning facilities within the school’s campus as a result of the increasing number of students admitted into the university. Due to their large numbers, the first-year students have to contend for spaces with a relatively smaller number of students in other years.
At the start of every academic year, the university admits thousands of new students without due consideration of the spaces available for lectures. This has often led to clashes between lecturers, students and lecturers over who gets to utilise a hall at a particular time.
The university’s Ikole campus is home to the faculties of Agriculture and Engineering and is located in the Ekiti North senatorial district, which is under the jurisdiction of Senator Duro Faseyi. Until recently, new students in these faculties were required to spend their first year in the University’s main campus located in Oye-Ekiti. The school management made this decision about 4 months ago due to the increasing number of students and the limited number of accommodation facilities.
N30 million for two blocks of six classrooms
According to the 2018 budget, Senator Duro Faseyi nominated the construction of two blocks of 6 classrooms to be built in the Faculty of Agriculture, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ikole Campus. The money allocated for this project was set at N30 million but, upon investigation, UDEME reporters have discovered that this project does not exist in the university.
An FOI response received from the Federal Ministry of Finance stated that 50% of the funds for all constituency projects nominated last year has been released so far. But, in the Faculty of Agriculture, FUOYE, the construction of the two blocks of six classrooms nominated by Senator Faseyi has not started, at all. This has left many asking: ‘if N15 million has been released, should the construction of this project not have started?’
A first-year student identified as Micheal Akinrinmade from the Food Science and Technology Department complained of overpopulation in the university. According to him, this is evident in the unequal number of classrooms and lecture halls available to the growing number of students.
He said, for an 8 o’clock class, “I have to get to school early, like 6:00 am, because [by] like 6:30 am you won’t see space anymore.”
Another student identified as Osemudiamen Justice, a 400l student of Water Resources Management and Agro-meteorology, said the issue of inadequate lecture halls has been exhausting for students who are forced to live through this nightmare every day.
“Now, we have to vacate the classes for the freshers…and, at the moment, some of our students [are forced to] receive [their] lectures under a tent.”
Adeleye Adedapo, a student of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Faculty of Agric who is also the Students’ Union Vice President confirmed that some students receive lectures under trees and tents.
Often, students compete for classroom space and, since the 200 and 100 level students are relatively more, they often outnumber the senior levels.
Mstr Adelapo noted that he has not seen any new structure around which means that the construction of new classrooms has not started. He added that it would be nice if the extra facilities are built but he doubts how quickly it can be constructed.
The construction of two blocks of six classrooms on this campus will help reduce the clashes that occur between these students. It would also prevent the spread of air-borne related diseases. For students who are asthmatic, more lecture halls need to be constructed to allow for proper ventilation so as to avoid aggravating their health condition.
School Management Unaware
Speaking to UDEME, Prof. Adegbitan, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture said he is not aware of the 2018 constituency project nominated by the Senator.
When contacted, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (who also serves as the head of the campus) Professor Fasina Abayomi said he has not received any information on contracts or related activities in the university campus because he is in charge of Research, Training and development, TETFund and Conferences among others. He, therefore, referred this correspondent to the Director of Administration.
Speaking to UDEME, the Director of Administration, Olatunbosun Odusanya, said: “The Senator has been saying it but I am not sure we have received anything like that…I have heard of it, but I have not seen it.”
He added that a needs assessment was not carried out for the project and directed this correspondent to the University’s Bursar, who was unavailable at the time.
At the time of filing this report, all efforts to reach Senator Duro Faseyi proved abortive as he failed to return calls and respond to texts sent to him concerning this matter.
Solar Street Lights Installed in Ikole/Oye federal constituency
In 2017, a total amount of N70 billion was released to MDAs for the implementation of Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) across the country. Out of this amount, N20 million was allocated for the provision of Solar Street lights in the Ikole/Oye federal constituency. This project was facilitated by Hon. Kehinde Agboola, the honourable lawmaker representing the Ikole/Oye Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives.
Surprisingly, the same project appears in the 2018 budget carrying a N30 million budgetary allocation. Among the federal constituency projects nominated in 2018, N30 million was allocated for the provision of solar street lights in the Ikole/Oye Federal constituency which, according to the Federal Ministry of Finance, has been 50% cash-backed.
In both years, the supervising agency for the implementation of these projects is the Border Community Development Agency (BCDA).
It is believed that more street lights in the area will help to reduce crime and violence which often trail the night in many communities in Nigeria. In 2017, about 35 solar street lights were installed in Ire, a town in Ikole/Oye Federal Constituency, according to residents of the area.
Speaking to UDEME, a member of the community, who identified himself as Awosupin Samuel, noted that the town’s major problem is its very bad roads, but the provision of solar street lights is a step in the right direction for them, especially since there is poor power supply in the area.
In Odo Oro, which happens to be the hometown of Honourable Kehinde Agboola, about 14 units of solar street lights were visible.
An unidentified resident confirmed that they were installed by Hon. Kehinde Agboola and they work well.
At this point, it is necessary to note that these street lights were concentrated in a particular row within a certain area in the town.
For 2018, in Ikole, some residents mistake the solar street lights provided through constituency project with another provided by the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
When this correspondent visited the town, it was seen that about 45 solar street lights were recently installed in the town.
According to Martins Tolulope, the Personal Assistant to the Monarch of the town, this was done around January and February this year.
The signage reveals that the provision of 45 unit solar street lights was a federal government project exclusively for the Elekole community in the Ikole Local Government Area. The agency responsible for its distribution and installation was the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development while Messrs Beyond Reliable Global LTD was the contractor.
This is a completely different project from the provision of solar street lights for the Ikole/Oye Federal Constituency nominated as constituency projects in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Speaking about the provision of solar street lights in the area, a Chief in the town who identified himself as Durojaye Sunday, noted that while the installation of 45 units of solar street lights is different, Hon. Kehinde did oversee the installation of some solar lights as well, in the weeks that preceded the federal elections.
About 10 street lights were installed in the Oye community, five in front of the palace of Oloye (the Monarch of the town) and another five along Idofin road. In Ara, only 5 were installed in a relatively small town.
Although residents in these communities claim that there has been no preponderance of crime and violence in the environment since the installation of the street lights, they would appreciate more street lights in other parts of the community.
According to Martins Tolulope: “It is usually extremely dark when there is no light in Ikole. That is what prompted it,” he explained in his native Yoruba language.
Despite the installation of the solar street lights, some residents feel that they have more pressing needs than street lights. Olamide, a resident of the community said although the provision of solar street lights is welcome, it is not the community’s only need. Some areas in Ikole town, Agbado and Aresagba, lack potable water and electricity too.
Kunle, who resides in the Oye community, believes that street lights are useful because they help to eliminate the community’s vulnerability to vices that can only flourish in the cover of darkness.
He said: “It is nice because it (the road that has been furnished with new streetlights) is a major road and it is also the market square, but we still need pipe-borne water.”
The Elekole of Ikole was unavailable on the occasions when this correspondent visited the town, while the Oloye of Oye-Ekiti failed to respond to this reporter’s requests for comments on the issue.
Missing motorcycles, sewing and grinding machines for Ikole/Oye Federal constituency members
In the 2018 constituency budget, Hon. Kehinde Agboola also solicited for the supply of 55 motorcycles at N260,000 each, 80 sewing machines at N40,000 each and 50 grinding machines at N55,000 each for women and youth. These machines make up the sum of N18,266,666.
Speaking with UDEME, the Treasurer of the Okada Tricycle Association and General Secretary of Oye youth body of Ekiti State, Omoyajowo Tope Sunday, said the constituency had not received any delivery of the items listed above.
“Sometimes, all these people in power give out these things to their own party members. They might have made such promises before getting elected and then they use the federal government money to settle their people. The supplies end up in the hands of people who don’t need them because they are already okay, monetarily,” he complained.
Mr Omoyajowo believes that if the machines are evenly distributed, as sponsored by the lawmaker, it would bring great economic value to the area.
“Most of the riders are on instalments. As at last month, a bike cost N265,000 but these people have to pay about N400,000 in the long run because of the instalments. After paying, they have little to feed their families,” he added.
Jimoh Asiat is a 300 level student of FUOYE Ekiti, who engages the services of an ‘Okada’ driver to get to school, daily.
“If more motorcycles are supplied, transportation will be cheaper for us students because we [will not] have to fight over the limited ones present. Also, cases of accidents will be reduced,” she noted.
Chief Adeyemi Joseph, the President of the Ekiti State Millers and Grinders Association, Ikole Chapter, has also denied receiving sewing machines as nominated by Hon. Kehinde Agboola. His statement was corroborated by both the Vice President and Treasurer of the Association. They all noted that, at one point or another, they have tried to reach the lawmaker as they are in dire need of new machines.
Chief Adeyemi recalled how the lawmaker had told them to compile a list of all members of the Association, which was done. They also tried to reach the state government for help, nursing hope that something can be done to salvage their situation.
Similarly, the Chairman of Tailors in Ikole Ekiti, Mr Kehinde Olominu, denied receiving the 80 sewing machines this reporter informed him about, as contained in the 2017 constituency budget. The Chairman said that when an empowerment programme took place last year, many of the beneficiaries were not residents of the community. The people he saw were “unfamiliar faces.”
“Kehinde Agboola did empowerment [programme] last year but it did not get to the masses. These empowerments are politicized. They give it to their fervent supporters and those ones write down the names of their family members during distribution. It never gets to the masses who need it,” he lamented.
The Ikole local government has 24 Obas, with different community youth leaders. One of the residents, Adenigba Alabi, mentioned that to effectively distribute the machines, the youth leaders need to be engaged. He claimed that during the empowerment drive last year, there were computers, dryers, sewing machines and even generators up for grabs, but they were distributed to only a few selected people, some were residents of the area while others were not.
The Youth President of the Ikole local government, Fatunla Oluwatobi Ayo, also denied receiving such items from the lawmaker. He said the residents are predominantly farmers and artisans. They hire their equipment from the rich members of the society, who easily manipulate them.
“Motorcycles will help [alleviate] their stress and improve their health. It will aid production and the entire economy will grow,” he said.
Completed but locked up
Another project nominated by the lawmaker in 2018 was the construction of lock-up shops in the Ikole/Oye Federal constituency with a budgetary allocation of N20,000,000 under the supervision of the BCDA.
A visit to the site showed that the project has been completed but it is yet to be handed over to the community members for usage.
“The shop is quite laudable, it will help to boost economic activity within the area. We implore the government to focus more on providing water and adequate power supply to facilitate trade in our community,” says Mr Joseph, a resident of the community.
Hon. Kehinde Agboola responds
When the Honourable lawmaker was contacted for the specific locations where the solar street lights were installed, Kehinde Agboola said the ones for 2017 were installed in Ire and Odo Oro while those for 2018 were installed in Ara, Ikole township and Oye township.
He also said all the equipment has been distributed and the shops have been fully constructed, despite the poor release of funds.
“This is one of the challenges faced in implementing constituency projects. The prices of goods are not stable in Nigeria and when the federal government eventually releases the money, the prices must have skyrocketed,” he noted.
Unfortunately, when he was asked why the shops were yet to be utilised by members of the community, the lawmaker refused to comment.
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