What Comrade Amade Told Col. Afakirya That Made Him Build Hostels in Kogi Poly

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It was a terrible and horrible campus to live on at the Lokoja Campus of the Kogi State Polytechnic during the reign of the erstwhile military administrator of the state, late Colonel Bzigu Lassa Afakirya.

Colonel Afakirya was posted to Kogi State by the Sani Abacha military junta.

It so happened that students of the campus were confronted with untold hardship of staying on long and thick queues before accessing water for drinking, washing and other domestic uses. As if that was not enough, overcrowding in hostels was painfully accepted as a norm as rooms originally designed to house four occupants were overstretched to squeeze-in between 12 to 15 students.

More so, the appalling condition of the hostel accommodation necessitated mass exodus of students to seek the comfort that off campus accommodation provided, regardless of its accompanying exorbitance in the cost, inconvenience and danger of having to move at night and all that. Safety was first on their priority list.

Worse still, lack of other life’s necessities like decent public conveniences, overgrown bushes in and around the few hostels that were on campus as at that time provided safe haven for dangerous reptiles like snake which left students so vulnerable at all times in the school i.e. both day and night.

Students’ deaths resulting from snake bites, scorpion stings, cockroach bites, and other epidemic diseases suspiciously caused by open defecation was commonplace on the campus. All these, largely contributed to the hostilities that existed between students and their lecturers, students and students, lecturers versus lecturers etcetera.

Troubled by the agony that the Kogi State and other Polytechnic students all over the country were going through as at the time, Comrade Amade Godwin Edime was the National President of the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), he led a delegation of the national executives of the association to Kogi State Polytechnic. That was where the whole story started from.

On getting to the Polytechnic campus, Comrade Edime, as his custom was, held a meeting with the local chapter of the association in Lokoja and was completely kept abreast of all the ordeals of the students. He swiftly swung into action by engaging the Polytechnic authorities.

But when all available pacific approaches to amicably convince the institution’s management to embark on projects that would alleviate the sufferings of the poor students, the management seemed not to understand the language of dialogue. Then, all the students were enjoined to do a peaceful protest.

Though peaceful, the signal was straight and clear as both the school management and the entire state government manned by a Military Administrator were rattled. Consequently, Colonel Afakirya immediately summoned the Rector who in turn fingered the leadership of the national association, led by Comrade Edime to be the mastermind of the protest.

Meanwhile, the version of the entire scenario which the Rector relayed to the governor was very unclear to the Comrade. This is because, up to the present moment, Comrade Edime is yet to decipher the reason for the governor’s initial hostility to him.

Immediately the military boys brought the Comrade to Col. Afakirya, the first thing he said was, “Oh! You are the one who is initiating our students into cultism and causing unrest on our campus right? By the time we are done with you, you would regret ever taking that kind of unwholesome action on our campus.” When the military officer eventually finished addressing them with visible outburst, having been misinformed, the Colonel eventually calmed down when he noticed their genuineness and sincerity, he then asked him (Edime) to say his own side of the story.

That was how the Comrade took his time and narrated their mission in the Institution and how, as national executives, they had an obligation to tour all the entire Polytechnics in Nigeria and mediate between school authorities and their students and see where to find common grounds so that the sufferings of students could be assuaged. He further narrated the peculiar horrendous case of that of the Kogi State Polytechnic and all that transpired.

On listening to Comrade Edime, the governor immediately called off the meeting and rescheduled to meet with him privately in the evening when he would have ample time to attend to the issue. Another turn of the whole event was just emerging.

Later that night, Col. Afakirya called Edime and asked that the both of them, no any escort, orderly or even driver was permitted to accompany them. Meanwhile, Edime had earlier told him to take a private on-the-spot-assessment tour of the campus and get a firsthand information.

When Col. Afakirya got to the campus in company of the Comrade who was seated in the front seat of the same car and he took his time to personally observe the pathetic situation of the students, he almost shed tears. Apart from the ones he saw at that night time, the Comrade took his time again to vividly extrapolate the day-time tough times that the students were subjected to. At that point, Comrade Edime knew how sympathetic late Afakirya could be toward the plight of the poor people.

Even when he had known what the pressing needs of the students were, Afakirya still wanted to hear it from Edime who he had asked to suggest what immediate action to take so as toarrest the situation. He did not waste time as he hurriedly requested that at least, two (2) hostels should be built for both the male and the female students each, including other school facilities that could make the campus conducive for effective academic activities to take place.

There and then, Col. Afakirya assured him that he would do just that, and true to his word, he commenced work immediately.  The both of them later got back to the government house and the governor gratuitously appreciated them for being advocates of development on their campus.

Today, those hostels stand as monuments of beauty and value traceable to the benevolence of a loving military man who was prompted by a servant of the masses-Comrade Edime.

Today also, Comrade Amade Edime is seeking the mandate of the Kogi East people to represent them at the upper legislative chamber (Senate) so that he can deploy his power and passion to negotiate, lobby and tactfully interact with powers-that-be in order to bring development to our people.

He has never been a self-seeking individual from his childhood and won’t start now. We call on all who desire to see development in Kogi East to arise and give Comrade Amade Godwin Edime all the support he needs to come out victorious in the coming senatorial election in Kogi East.

He is contesting on the platform of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA).

– Enejoh Solomon

Director, Media and Publicity,

Amade Political Action Network (APAN)

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