The Polytechnic, Ibadan in Nigeria is one of the leading tertiary institutions in Nigeria and is renowned for its astounding performance in producing leaders of thought in all spheres of human endeavors.
Students of the institution are always respected by their colleagues and they are envied by students of other institutions for the level of education they receive in the institution is on par with the best you can get in the country. The school is renowned for being a citadel of learning and innovation largely due to the exploits of her students in the engineering department who are popularly referred to as ‘Southerners‘ by their colleagues in school because the faculty is located in the southern part of the campus.
Students in the faculty of engineering are mostly male students and due to this they have been wrongly tagged as being cultists, hooligans and thugs. They have been labeled this irredeemable and disgusting names by people who are supposed to be learned and leaders in the thought market.
Technology in the world all over is known as the bedrock on which every known society of man predicates its development or hope to achieve the necessary advancement in their day to day life activities. This is because with the advancement in technology, the life of man has become relatively easier as machines have taken up most of the herculean, strenuous and ardous jobs that hitherto were done by man with a far greater efficiency.
But, this phenomenon, technology, would not have been made possible without the innovative minds and the analytical skills possessed in tremendous abundance by engineers who by applying their knowledge in science to innovate, design, construct and maintain machines, buildings, roads etc. have been able to use it for the betterment of life of an average man on the street.
Engineers with their knowledge are able to create wealth, drive development and improve the quality of life. Engineering is far more than just machines, buildings and cold-hearted calculations that is devoid of empathy. It is solving real world problems and overcoming challenges to make the society and the world at large a better, safer and easier place to live in.
Little wonder then that engineers have been at the vanguard of all manners of development and as the society prospered so as the vast field of engineering prospered which have made engineers celebrated for being the gold standard for their obvious analytical skills and their innovative minds.
With the aforementioned in mind, one would assume that engineering students would be revered, respected and treated with the utmost adoration by their learned colleagues in other departments and faculties rather their sheer presence strikes terror and fear to the other “Poly Students “who want little or nothing to do with any engineering student. And they go about name-calling students of the faculty as being notorious.
This line of thought is not only wrong but also totally fallacious and reeks of defamation as some of the best behaved, cerebral and hardworking students of the institution lies in the south campus of the institution.
One reason this line of thought has been difficult to shake off by engineering students is because the faculty is dominated by male students while the female students make up an insignificant number when compared to the ratio of male to female in other faculties and departments of the institution. Because of this large number of male students, the erroneous thought is able to take a foothold in the thoughts and mind of our fellow learned colleagues. They, somehow, believe that the male dominated faculty can only be peopled by students of questionable characters with an insatiable thirst for violence, carnage and mob like vices.
Whereas, an average engineering student in The Polytechnic, Ibadan like every other student in the school is faced with an arduous task of struggling to gain educational and technical knowledge while at the same time battling the stigma that he is not a hooligan nor a thug and thus shouldn’t be labeled as one.
He has to convince his peers that he is not quick to violence nor prone to cultism for the fact that he is an engineer. That like every other student, he is striving hard to make good grades in class and he should be judged by the content of his character and not be generalised with the false impression that the faculty has battled in for long.
Where every other students from other faculties have it easier to get away with some illegal actions, an average engineering student has to make sure he commits no cardinal sin less he is labeled a cultist. He has to be extremely cautious with his dressing, his words, his actions and the friends he keeps.
This wrong generalisation has affected the pysche of the engineering students and as created a siege like mentality of an us (Southerners) against them (Northerners) which has soiled the team spirit, and love that should be fostered in the academic community. An engineering student looks at his colleagues from other faculties with a kind of distrustful eyes thereby making any form of communication to be laced with doubts, mistrust, and lies as he does not want his actions to be labeled as another act of the “Southerners”.
Thus, southerners have a difficult job of negotiating their way with the intricacies of the institution. They are faced with the dilemma of either damning all consequences and try to be free of the shackles of the stigma of being a foot soldier of carnage and destruction or embracing the unwholesome name and continuing to live their life’s like the views of others do not matter.
Written by: ADEJUMO OLALEKAN ABDULHAFEEZ, HND1 student of Mechanical Engineering Department.Credits: PRESS Council, TPI
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