Some members of the University community have expressed their excitement that FUNAAB would soon be resuming for academic activities. According to them, this would enable them to be better engaged and boost their business ventures. The respondents spoke their minds during an interview granted the FUNAAB Bulletin. A taxi driver, Mr. Ajibola Ogunmefun, stated that the current situation of things in the country had largely affected his transport business. He noted that the increase in fuel price with the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had made life more difficult for him, stressing that before now, when students were on campus, they made more sales when compared to now when there were fewer people on campus to patronise taxi drivers.
“Ever since the students have been away, business have been dull. Our income is now much lower than what was applicable when the students were around. Also, an increase in fuel price has affected our business and income, as transport activities have been paralysed ever since the students have been away together with the arrival of COVID-19, but we believe that things will get better because people are tired with the way things are and we also know that with God, there will be an improvement”, he said. Corroborating him, another taxi driver, Mr. Samsudeen Adeosun expressed his concern with the low patronage that he had been experiencing since students were away, stressing that majority of them (drivers) were tired with the way things are. He noted that the absence of the students was greatly felt, adding that their source of living was mainly derived from the transport business.
According to him, “We are all tired because we derive our source of living from our transport business and things have been made more difficult with the absence of students and also with the increase in fuel price. Before now, transport fare was N50, but with the pandemic and increase in fuel price, it has been increased to N100 and people still find it difficult to pay the new fare due to the financial state of most of our passengers”. He, however, implored the government to help reduce the price of fuel, as students are about to resume on campus. A fashion designer, Mr. Akinwale Salami, revealed that business owners find it hard to thrive when students are not around, adding that business activities are always on hold when students are away and that they had been praying that there should be an improvement in sales.
The manager of a filling station, Mr. Emmanuel Faleke stated that the rate at which sales were made when academic activities were on had reduced drastically, stressing that they were eagerly looking forward to students’ resumption for things to change. According to him, “As we all know that 80 percent of the population in FUNAAB environment is made up of students, our sales have been greatly affected as a result of this. When the school was in session, the rate at which we sell was different compared to now, but all I can say is that presently, our sales have reduced and we have been looking forward to the school resuming so that everything can pick up”. A fuel attendant, Miss Titilayo Adeniji attributed low sales to the absence of students within the campus area. She noted that their absence was being felt, adding that sales had not been going on smoothly and hoped that as students resume soon, sales would go back to how it was when they (students) were around.
The President, FUNAAB Students’ Union (FUNAABSU), Comrade Michael Oloyode informed that despite the pandemic, which affected all sectors of the economy and changed the situation of things on campus, FUNAABSU, under his administration, had been able to carry out various activities as part of his agenda as President. For instance, the union had been working on various projects such as the renovation of the Students’ Union Building and the Students’ Union Recreational Centre, among others. He added that a lot of programmes and opportunities had been facilitated by his administration. He called on the government to prioritise education with better funding in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Comrade Oloyede assured that the union would remain focused and strive towards achieving greater things in the New Year, despite challenges and other limitations, noting that as long as they (union officials) remain determined, responsible and responsive, nothing would be impossible for them to achieve.