Nigeria’s premier
university, the University of
Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, is
enmeshed in a convocation
preparations scandal as a
graduating gown is shared
by five students.
The university, which is
today concluding its 45th
convocation ceremonies,
is reportedly entangled
in a convocation mess as
students literally fought
over convocation gowns,
caps, hoods and scrolls –
which are in very short
supply at the institution.
It was also gathered that
after the students paid
N10,000 each as convocation
fee, which would ordinarily
take care of the convocation
materials, almost all the
departments were hard hit
by the acute scarcity of the
materials.
To pacify the angry
students, the school
authority allegedly made
an ad hoc arrangement in
which one gown would
be worn by five different
students.
Enugu campus Public
Relations Officer of the
university, Mr Joseph Onah,
confirmed the scarcity but
said it was caused by the
high population of students.
However, he denied
that students were
literally fighting over the
convocation materials at
the Department of political
science on Thursday
afternoon when the gowns
were shared out to them.
“It’s not true. It has not
got to the extent of asking
five students to share one
gown,” he said, although he
did not say how the majority
of students affected by the
shortage of convocation
materials would cope.
Onah said that the
university authority has
just awarded a contract
to produce more gowns
to solve the problem of
shortage. “They have just
awarded a contract to
produce more gowns,”
he said, adding that the
problem was not a serious
one.
Similar problem reared
its head at the Department
of political science where
students were said to have
“wrestled and fought” to
get the gowns and other
convocation materials.
It was learnt that although
the first year students were
said to be over 200, only 35
gowns, 25 hoods, few scrolls
and caps were released and
shared to them, leading to
the said struggle witnessed
in the office of the HOD’s
secretary who had the uphill
task of giving the materials
to the students.
When Nigerian Pilot
visited the Department
of political science whose
motto is “We Train Leaders
Here”, at about 3.00pm,
the atmosphere was rather
less restive but students
were still trickling into the
secretary’s office to demand
their convocation materials.
“We begged and begged
for them to give us more
gowns but they said we
should go to the central
stores if we needed more,”
said secretary to the HOD,
who quickly added: “They
said the way they shared the
materials out was the way
they were given to them by
the school authority.”
Apparently confirming
the crowd of struggling
students who flooded her
office to demand for the
gowns, she said: “If you
see the number of students
that crowded this office
today, struggling to get
their convocation gowns/
materials, you will pity me.”
At the Department of
Philosophy, where more
than 70 students needed
the convocation gowns/
materials, only 24 gowns
and not up to ten caps and
scrolls were released to
them, it was gathered. “We
were not even given hood
at all,” said some of the
students who were handed
over the materials at about
3.16pm on Wednesday.
The story is not different
in the Department of Mass
Communication where
about 60 students were
given 20 gowns to manage
during the convocation
ceremony.
“The arrangement is that
200 gowns were released
to each faculty and the
faculty released 20 gowns
to each department. That
is the real situation,”
said one of the affected
students in the Department
of Mass Communication.
He said he would have to
manage with those who got
convocation materials to
take photographs.
A year one student of
Political Science, seen in the
office of the secretary to the
HOD, who identified herself
simply as Precious said:
“I have been struggling to
get the gown and cap but
it wasn’t easy for me,” she
said, and wondered why
the school couldn’t provide
sufficient convocation
materials for the students.
“I made high scores in
my exams and I paid the
N10,000 but now I will be
begging people for gown,
cap, hood and scroll to wear
and take photograph. What
if I don’t succeed in getting
any, it may create a bad
impression in the sense that
people might think that I am
not one of the matriculating
students,” Precious said.
However, the real
cause of the scarcity of
convocation materials was
not immediately known
but an official in the Public
Relations Department of
the school, who claimed
ignorance of the scarcity,
also said the school
authority would resolve
whatever was the problem


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