UNILAG.MTNBy Jude Uchella.


– MTN donated a Connect Library to the University of Lagos in 2005

– The place no longer serves its function

– This dormant state is owing to poor maintenance

– MTN wants the facility given to another university


The issue

It’s in the news that communication giant, MTN intends to withdraw the Connect library donated to the University of Lagos in 2005. This state-of-the-art digital library has apparently been under lock and key for the past few years. Equipment ranging from computers to printers, air conditioners, an alternative power source, to mention just three, have been reportedly covered in dust due to non-usage and lack of maintenance. This unhealthy state fuels the network operator’s intention to withdraw what was given with good intentions.


The argument

For MTN, not maintaining the facility is not just an affront on their generosity, it is a blatant denial of the school’s responsibility to its students and staff in general. After all, the facility was donated to help facilitate research at all levels of intellectual inquiry. It is therefore a huge let down that what should be considered an abode for great minds who set out to discover great things has become a haven for cobwebs and dust. Unfortunately, the school authorities have done nothing to remedy the situation.


The mystery

As a student rounding off his degree programme at the same university, I cannot claim to have the faintest idea about the existence of such establishment. For most of us, the place does not exist and perhaps never existed. But shockingly it does, and obviously, we are not to blame. Who is then?


The question

There are many questions, but let’s focus on two, starting with the aforementioned. Who do we blame? MTN, UNILAG, or for some strange reason…the government? I feel UNILAG is, going by the facts on ground. First, the facility was donated for a purpose which was defeated in the long run. Second, MTN provided maintenance for two years, after which UNILAG was expected to take up the gauntlet…they failed. Third, nothing was done in about eight years after the installments to remedy the situation.

Another question is, is MTN right to redirect their gift to another university (possibly LASU?) Absolutely. The motive behind what was given can and should be achieved. UNILAG’s failure should not deter MTN’s vision.


The lesson

Generally, there is this conception that Nigerians lack maintenance culture. We are wont for acquiring new things but never maintaining them. Whatever the reason behind the school’s nonchalance, they have to learn from their flaws. This, nevertheless, does not negate the thought that some form of corruption may have tweaked the system till it got crippled. We just want to assume things didn’t happen that way; that the problem was purely due to misplacement of priority.

Using UNILAG as a case study, schools of learning need to marry whatever good thoughts and plans they have for their students with action. Education is the best legacy but we have to implement the best policies if we are to experience the best results.

Let there be a change!


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Jude Uchella 2


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