Nsukka, anucleated and fast-growing town. A sublime and scenic land of beauty housing the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus- the brainchild of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. 1960 was the year, the manifestation of the shared consensus to establish this citadel of learning, where hungry minds would crave torrentially from all walks of life to tap from her wealth of knowledge, meet the fate of their dreams, and satisfy their expectations.
Though the university at its infancy was a grim victim of the Nigerian/Biafran war. This is evident on Zik’s flats located across and opposite the University’s second gate, and which has been abandoned for years because of the adversity it had faced and other unknowns.
The University of Nigeria is a mother of four major campuses; Nsukka, Enugu, Aba, and Ituku-Ozalla all located in Enugu and Aba in Abia State respectively, still in the Eastern part of Nigeria fondly called “the Land of the rising sun.” The strength of this publication is, however, limited to Nsukka campus.
The journey into the University starts from Ogige market, which seems to be the most evident centre of commerce in Nsukka. Items which could not be found within the school environs could be found at Ogige market. It serves the commercial interest of students and beyond into the heart of the town, as there are many purveyors of disparate items and services.
A glimpse into the market crafts the image of the University’s shuttle services in their green and white colours Peace Mass Transit, a renowned transport company across Enugu and beyond, also the most preferred by students, is situated directly opposite the market.
On the entrance of the university gate is boldly engraved in green colour, “UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA,” with an imprint of the official school badge, which on first coming would make one feel so full of himself and assume his coming to be a sojourn into the moon, especially if he was newly admitted. The very feeling of satisfaction to officially bear the default moniker “Lion or Lioness,”
Inside the campus are security agents scattered across checkpoints, in their black-on-black uniforms similar to that of the Nigerian Police, only differentiated with the university badge. They’re ready to mellow the hearts of stone heads.
From the main gate, a stroll into the ravines, ravishingly adorned with aesthetic flowers, grassland, trees and stones, thus creating serenity – are commercial banks. Proceeding deeper lies the salient sculpture of a Lion crafted with an embodiment of the feeling of bravery and courage, conspicuously standing in the middle of the roundabout leading into the heart of the university.
One could hear it roaring. Along the berm, trees of various morphologies had sprung, serving as canopies and ensuring a salubrious environment. Young trees little more than twice an average man’s height decorate the paths of the University environs, with thick grasses carpeting the narrow strips.
Weekdays, before the sun starts peeping from the Eastern horizons, the University community would be tensed with grim excitement and awakened the spirit of seriousness as students would be seen running from pillar to post in this common quest of drinking from the cupful of knowledge the university serves; melodious sounds would be often heard, spawning from the music department; they would pierce through the still early morning air from violins, xylophones, and sonorous high pitched voices in harmony like that of a royal symphony orchestra.
At the same preparatory time, the female students would be seen outside their hostels fetching water or sometimes, spreading their clothes.
Night class students consider it very convenient to go back during these early morning hours to ensure safety as night movements could expose them to perils masked in the mild breeze of roadside grasses.
Some students also find it more convenient to browse the internet with the transient school Wi-Fi which is occasionally poor during the day and faster at night or the early hours of the morning. Students would spend it on downloading movies, watching highlights of professional football matches.
They could be mostly seen at Princess Alexandria Auditorium [PAA], beside ‘Social Sciences’ lecture theatre, GS building, around Engineering faculty, and most places believed to have the strongest connections. Some of the available Wi-Fi ports include; Lionet@VC_office, Lionet@MIS, Lionet@ICT, Lionet@PAA, Lionet@Unesco, Lionet@Library_up, and so many others which could be found at designated places inside school and hostels.
When the sun is fully set, spreading its brightness over every creature, everyone is faced with one activity or the other in the already rambunctious and rollicking campus, with random movements of students proceeding to their various departments, while premed students comprising the Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology and Students in Basic Medical departments, would be seen running from one faculty lecture theatre to another as their faculties are not situated here in Nsukka campus but at the second mothering campus; University of Nigeria Enugu Campus [UNEC].
Now you’ll see them at Jimbazz receiving Physics or Biology class. Next, at Veterinary Medicine Hall, GS building, Biological Science theatre hall, and the Physical Sciences hall to wait for Pure and Industrial Chemistry department lecturers.
Pharmacy students blend the University with their ash and white corporate attires and long coloured ties fittingly knotted around their collars, looking grand and impressively beautiful. Veterinary Medicine students appear sweet, splendours and glamorous too with their black and white corporate.
Mass communication students haven’t left aside in this continuously admired allusion of corporate dressing. They’re seen in their sky blue and black intensifying the beauty of the university.
Agric students though not seen on corporate are however admired, since seeing them reminds one of his hometowns as they walk proudly in their locally made hats, hoes, baskets and matchets.
Engineering students with their drawing boards and T-Squares reminds one of his secondary school days, especially those who attended technical school. Indeed, life in Nsukka is funny, and the fun here is life and both are inextricable.
University of Nigeria, Nsukka tolerates different religions provided they don’t promote violence which is a threat to the peace and tranquillity of the university. Here, everyone is a hero of his opinion as regards to worship and seeking the truth of God’s existence. Inside the school, there is St. Peter’s parish for the Catholic faith adherents, Christ Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Methodist, Assemblies of God, Watchman Charismatic Church, and so many other factions of mixed up protestant and Presbyterian churches located inside and outside the school vicinity.
There are also fellowship centres inside the campus which range from NFCS, CASOR, NIFES, CSF, RCF, Dominion City, and so many others including non-denominational fellowships which are predominant in various departments where students occasionally meet and soak themselves in the pool of prayers and intercessions. For Muslims, there’s a central mosque located just before the second gate within the University premises.
In furtherance, University of Nigeria, Nsukka unarguably and explicitly expressed her dearly love for the female students. This love is evident in the number of hostels allocated to them. There are at least ten good hostels apportioned to female Students inside the school, unlike the two adjacent breeding homes of ammonium cyanate, mosquitoes and bed bugs, fashioned as boys’ hostels located almost outside the campus.
One had once argued that the two scruffy and execrable structures are no better than abandoned projects and unmistakable if described as a stark example of Nigerian prison. Another opined that the buildings were victims of the Nigerian/Biafran war that is still licking wounds of adversity from arson. In contrast, these objects of ridicule are tenaciously housing intelligent students in this learning hub, the nation’s heartbeats and potential professionals in different fields. Each hostel is named after a prominent person who had contributed to the pronounced glories of the University.
The University, of course, has a lot of interesting structures, sculptures and sculpturesque modifications; each sculpture is glaringly representing a particular idea, lesson, memory, legendary and/or award as there are in the history of the school. The school library which is often referred to as the largest library in West Africa has a lot of books which would interest one to read.
It has different sections which you’ll get to know more about in your GSP111 course, but the art students and lovers of Literature should not fail to always visit the Africana section of the library. Likewise, the Science students should embrace the Sciences and technology section of the library, including the reference section.
To everyone, irrespective of your department, do not miss visiting “ABUJA BUILDING” the most solid building in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. It was erected with concrete building materials and a sense of the prehistoric era of most British Colleges. It houses the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics and Computer Science; and also the grandiose laboratories belonging to the Physics and Chemistry Departments. It was named after the former Vice-Chancellor and educationalist, Prof. J.O.C Ezeilo, but is colloquially called Abuja Building. One would argue that it is one of the most tangible buildings that can be found in any Nigerian higher institution.
Saturdays’ activities are worth mentioning to this point. The stadium is usually filled to the brim on Saturdays. Such population Achebe would metaphorically describe as “…so populated that a grain of sand won’t find its way to the earth.” A lot of games and body fitness activities are done at the uncompleted stadium almost resembling an amphitheatre just opposite Eni Njoku hostel.
There are other stadia and gyms too which are scattered at designated areas still close to the main stadium. Sporting activities like football, basketball, volleyball, handball, lawn tennis, track and field events, gyming, dancing, etc., are done in these places. A piece of background music such as hip-hop or R&B is usually played to ensure there is a mixed-up feeling of agility and focus among participants or trainees. Other students who aren’t concerned about body fitness activities find it more convenient to visit the library on Saturdays.
Eateries inside the campus include Chitis, Marlima, Belima, S.U.B, 11:45, and some local restaurants which may be found at designated areas too, notably the colloquially called “Container”. One had once argued that Chitis serves more delicious meals such as freshly baked bread and cakes, better yummy ice creams and exorbitant food and drinks. Another said Marlima is better in terms of confectioneries. Bigger boys with little change prefer patronizing “Container” where you can find Okpa, Abacha, soya milk, zobo, sausage rolls and buns stronger than Abuja Building. Students are stratified by choice and affluence.
However, academic preeminence and its hounding are the most essential of all this fun. The struggle into lecture halls is always evident to Charles Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory of Natural Selection-“survival of the fittest”, especially for premedical students. You will be squeezed and mashed as how a market woman in Ogige market would squeeze harmattan bitter leave.
Develop your ears to withstand strains, should you come late to any lecture as sometimes, there may be no public address system. Same applies to your eyes too, should your lecturer’s marker become languid with no extra marker available. Train yourself on how to cover voluminous books and get ready for questions from there. You’ll still hear from Henry Ben, Best Brain, Catalyst, Chuk’s Academy, Authority, Smile and other tutorial masters who are professionals in brainwashing students, though some of them mean business when it comes to teaching; your intuition would play a big role in your decision of a tutorial centre.
This writing is just the tip of an iceberg. You’ll get familiar with life in Nsukka within a fraction of time. Stay focused and don’t forget where you are coming from. Your dreams should be your ultimate motivation. It’s fallen to you to achieve the success, you’ve so long, dreamed of. The place you’ve so long longed for.
Your father is the Lion of Judah, therefore you’re a Lion!
Medical Laboratory Sciences ‘023