On more than one occasion, I have heard, read and seen first hand the level of decadence reeking through various government parastatals. Be it federal, state or local, the story is the same. Everyone seems to care about themselves, their own gains, no common good and no look at the obvious possibility of having visitors come around to inspect or even do business with them. This for me, is the problem that has plagued us as a Nation for decades. Ask an average secondary school leaver and you’ll get the same answer. Nigeria has two major problems, corruption and no maintenance culture. Today I shall dwell on the latter.
On Monday, the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo was the special guest of honour at the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School, where he commissioned the new Justice Adetokunboh Ademola Dinning Hall. At the event which was well attended by Nigeria’s finest legal luminaries, the Vice President spoke quite extensively on the need for Law teachers to impact more meaningfully into the lives of their students. This for many, was a laudable statement, however, for a more discerning mind, one should ask a few pertinent questions; qestions such as, how many campuses of the law school are in Nigeria? How many dinning terms are had in the Dinning Halls per session? Do the classrooms accommodate every student admitted into the law school? How convenient is the accommodation provided for students? What are the criteria used in picking teachers by the Council of Legal Education? These and a few others are questions that have been left unanswered for years.
It is funny to hear such bold comments coming from the Vice President at the opening of a Dinning Hall. I’m even surprised to know that the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian law school has a Dinning Hall. Other campuses (Enugu for instance) do not even have enough hostels talk less of having space enough for a Dinning Hall.
Sometimes I feel our priorities are misplaced.
The Enugu campus of the Nigerian Law School does not have enough space to house the students it is given to cater for. There even is a hostel owned by the school which costs N50,000.00 for a bedspace. It houses 3 persons per room. For her Dinners, the campus management uses the old auditorium which is flat surfaced and apt for such an event. The new auditorium which has the look of a theatre is big enough to handle about 1000 persons with an average intake of 1,400 students per year.
Instead of spending money on a Dinning Hall, why not spend the money on extending the auditorium or the halls of residence? Law School Students spend their time in class, their rooms and at best, the library. The Dinning Hall is visited only twice during a student’s stay. It thus beats my imagination that the first thing that money was spent on, was the Dinning Hall.
Let me give the management of the Lagos Campus and the Council of Legal Education the benefit of doubt and assume that they are the wiser for having done this act, I would like to know when the campuses of the Nigerian Law School will be big enough to accommodate all the students that are admitted every year. It is high time students (who have already spent 5 stressful years in the University at least) were able to get ready at past 8 and get to their classes at 8:30 and still find empty seats within. At Enugu, students get to the auditorium as early as 7:30, for a class that begins at 9am. These students still have to deal with the horrifying prices of meals (this happens in other campuses too) and the choked bodies within their cramped up rooms.
Money received from generous individuals and financial schemes should be spent to improve the living and learning conditions of Law Students. Except we are now used to hearing about students who faint in Lagos Law School or those who spend their time under WiFi routers just to get Internet connection for their group work in Enugu, or the overly early risers in Yola and the killers of snakes in Kano, the tons of malaria victims in Yenagoa and the travellers in Abuja, I think it’s high time the Council of Legal Education paid attention to the clamour for change. Perhaps, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s visit, the Change Train will also get to the Council of Legal Education.
This is not a piece aimed at crucifying the Council of Legal Education, it is just a wake up call to our Vice President to use his good office to address the more important problems plaguing the Nigerian Law School.