By– Olatunji Haleem, Aboluwarin Bukola and Ajani Steven.
MHPO: Tell us about yourself Sir?
I am Atanda Ademola from the Department of Educational Management. I am also a Mellanbite because once a Mellanbite, always a Mellanbite. I stayed in B2 in my final year, which was during the 1998/1999 academic session. I became the assistant hall warden in 2013 and was re-elected in 2015. In 2016, I became the substantive hall warden. Mellanby Hall is like my home.
MHPO: In this your administration, Mellanbites can already point at some key infrastructural projects that have been completed like the big block A tanks, the block C back gate, and the new erected fence at block A. Can we expect more future infrastructural projects in your administration or is that all?
Well, so far so good we give glory to God. There is something called continuity in administration and to say that all these infrastructural projects are being done during my administration will not be fair on the previous administration. It takes time for the school to release money for projects like these. Initially, we thought the school would give us money but we were told that the hall should use whatever fund she generates in the hall to fund her projects. So, in anticipation of the school’s fund, we had to look internally and it is what you students are paying that we manage. Water is essential and that is why we embarked on the water tanks project. Now, we have successfully increased the hall’s water tanks capacity from 5000 to 7,500 capacity.
Also, we had to put up the new fence to curb the security challenges the hall is having. Concerning the electricity challenges, particularly, block A, we are still working on it because we still need to acquire materials to make it work. The problem is that the students tamper with the fuse box from time to time. Concerning the reading room, we brought an electrician to give us an estimate two days ago. We plan to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the hall, restore the flowerpots in the hall, and renovate the senior common room. Also, we want to establish a good relationship with the management and the students and that is why we have a warden in the hall not a warder because this is not a prison yard.
MHPO: Sir, what can you say about the accommodation issue in the hall, rumours are flying around that there is no transparency in the process?
We are all aware that freshmen and finalists are to be given priority over others when it comes to the issue of accommodation in the university. Other students aside these two should see accommodation as a privilege and not a right. During online application, we discovered that the names sent were more than the available bed spaces and that was why we came up with the 48 hours’ rule that if within that period a student does not do his online application, then he stands to forfeit his bed space. Another problem is people paying for accommodation even when they have not been given a bed space and those who have been given refusing to pay. It will take a while for these problems to be resolved and when they are eventually resolved, accommodation will be given to those who merit it. So far so good, I can say we are transparent but transparency has different definitions and depends on perspective.
MHPO: what is your view about the hall management being signatory to the hall’s account?
We all constitute the hall management and we are all stakeholders. The school has discovered in the past that students just lavish their colleagues’ funds recklessly. The development is just for the hall management to serve as a third eye, prevent fund mismanagement, and foster accountability.
MHPO: What are your plans for students with disabilities in the hall? Let us use- Mr. Idowu who was transferred to Kuti hall and Mr. Musa who was allocated a room at the topmost floor- as a case study.
Have any of the students complained to you? If yes, what is the nature of the complaint?
MHPO: They did not complain per se, but we observed their displeasure.
Mr. Idowu only wrote a letter to the Dean of Students that he has acquired a new tricycle and since Mellanby hall has no ramp to facilitate his movement around the hall he had to change his hall of resident to Kuti hall. About the other person, I think the fault stemmed from the accommodation application because if a student does not state his disabilities and the hall does not notice it, then automatically, there will be problem. One came to me recently and I was surprised and had to ask him where he had been all this time. I gave him all possible assistance.
MHPO: Sir, don’t you think that the construction of ramps around the hall will go a long way in facilitating the movement of these students around the hall?
It takes time. One cannot just go around changing the structure of a place. Besides that, I think Kuti hall is the hall where people with special disabilities are allocated to. I will inform the school management about this.
MHPO: How has your relationship been with the hall executives and the legislative council?
The relationship has been smooth.
MHPO: What is your vision for this hall?
Good water supply, repainting of the hall, and flowerpots restoration. Not only that, the management will ensure a clean environment particularly, pertaining to the overflowing sewage along the road that lead to Tedder hall. The overflowing sewage has been an eyesore for the hall and the hall management has been mounting pressure on the school authority to fix it. The drainage system in the hall will be maintained. A good relationship between the students and the management will be enhanced.
MHPO: What advice would you like to give to Mellanbites?
I will like Mellanbites to cultivate the habit of maintenance. If this hall was built over 60 years ago and it is still very habitable, then we should also preserve its good state for generations to come. Generally, all facilities in the hall should be properly maintained and taken care of. How hall facilities are handled tells whether they would last long or not. Also, academically, Mellanbites should be solid and strike balance in all other sectors as well, particularly, they should engage in sporting activities for body and mental wholesomeness. Cordial relationships should be maintained among all Mellanbites because how you treat one another now will determine future interactions.