Tanke is one of the busiest areas in Ilorin, capital of Kwara State. Given its proximity to the permanent site of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), the area is mostly inhabited by students. In fact, it is safe to say that majority of UNILORIN students live in the city due to the inadequate hostel accommodation on the campus.
Over the years, the name of the town has had its mention in the lexis structure of the university. Students attribute many things to Tanke, depending on the context it is being used.
Face Tanke, for instance, is a parlance used to describe an expulsion from the university. It is a belief in UNILORIN that expulsion is a trajectory that thrusts an expelled student to the city before he or she gets home. But this is just an example of how the name of the town is used.
However, with many students living in the town, transportation is a major problem to and from the campus. To mitigate the challenge, many of the students living in off-campus hostels resort to Tanke sir. The phrase is used to signal to owners of private vehicles leaving the campus to convey stranded students from school to Tanke free of charge.
This has been in existence for a while, at least for about seven years after the management of the university moved all programmes, with the exception of medical courses, from the mini campus to the main campus. This practice has become part of the campus life in UNILORIN.
Every day, after lecture hours, students gather at the roundabout opposite to the main auditorium, pleading to motorists with shout of Tanke sir. The reason why students resort to such act is because of the transportation challenge.
In evenings, starting from 4pm till around 8pm, UNILORIN park is always congested because that is range of time when most students end lectures. The long queues and the chaotic situation at the park make students and staff to seek alternative at the school roundabout.
Students, who follow the queue, always stay for long. Eventually, when they get home, they would have been exhausted and retire to bed without doing revision of what is taught in the class. They wake up the following, experience the same exercise the next day. As a result, the academic performance of students declines.
Whereas, if, perhaps, the university has more hostels to accommodate majority of its students or provide more buses to mitigate the challenge of transportation, the long queues and the attendant stress would have reduced drastically. But for now, the two options do not exist.
According to Wikipedia information about UNILORIN, which this writer accessed on December 6, 2012, the university currently has about 20,084 students and 3,040 staffs excluding the number of visitors and vendors. With such population, the university provided less than 10 Marco Polo buses to convey people out of the school. Per trip, the buses can only ferry 120 passengers even when they carry beyond their capacities.
In its own way to find lasting solution to the problem, the Students’ Union Government (SUG) introduced mini buses, called korope on campus, which can only convey 10 passengers per a trip. This effort has made no difference.
The commercial cab operators are not helping the matters. They are feasting on the situation by hiking the fare depending on bus stop.
Students that are living in Challenge and Post Office area expend N1,000 on transportation per week. Let us imagine a student, who is given N5,000 per month by his parents. Of course, the money will cover transportation and food. But in a week, the student spends 20 per cent of the money on transport alone. He will eat, buy recharge card and other items he needs in his hostel.
But in less than 30 days, the money finishes. How can such student not resort to Tanke sir? At least, he is assured that once he gets to Tanke, he only has to pay N50 or N60 to get to Challenge. For such student, this makes his campus life easier.
This however, does not go to say that the efforts of the school authorities have gone unnoticed. On the issue of fare, the university reduced the price of the school buses, which makes students to pay N20 to Tanke area, N80 to Challenge-Post Office axis and N40 in korope to Tanke.
Recently, another batch of mini buses was made available to students. These efforts are most appreciated. However, more work needs to be done, as sometimes, students get exploited by commercial cab operators. The management and the union should engage the commercial cab drivers to lower the fares to places like Challenge and Post Office.
Lastly, let the management make more buses and mini buses available and increase the number of Marco Polo buses to transport more students. This will enormously alleviate the pains students go through every day at the school park and probably cure the Tanke sir syndrome, which many have said is incurable.
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