Ayoade Zariat Yetunde writes,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, which has the reputation of being the most peaceful University on the soil of Nigeria since its establishment in 1975, is known as an institution that awards her degrees based on character and learning.
The school like any other institution in Nigeria, provides accommodation for the students at low rate to ease their burden of accommodation and, in each accommodation provided, there is a guardian angel called the “Matron” for female hostels and “Patron” for the Male hostels.
A matron/patron is an elderly woman/man who manages the domestic affairs of the students’ halls of residence.
The Matron/ Patron are charged with the responsibilities of inspecting students upon their arrival, checking of all required documents and submission, looking after the welfare of students and so on.
In the quest of discharging this duties the Matron/Patron are also charged with the responsibility of being kind towards each student regardless of their tribe, religion or creed, in order to protect the students’ mental health and also to make the students enjoy their stay at the hostel.
I remember when I stepped into my new hostel as a returning student, only to find out that my bed space has been swapped by my roommate. Unknown to her, I had already sent my friend to take a picture of the space for me even before I moved in. I got into a heated argument with the roommate and my bunkmate rushed to call the Matron before it escalates into a big fight.
The Matron came in, and I showed her the picture which proved the bunk was switched and she ordered the girls to change it back immediately. She let them know they have committed a great offence against the protocol of living in the school hostel and I was also scolded for resolving to violence rather than reporting to her first. I was extremely happy because if not for her, the girls wouldn’t have swapped the bunk back. This only proved that the role of Matrons/patrons in the hostels can never be overemphasized.
However, there are lot of instances where the matrons/patrons are often so harsh in their dealings with the students.
In an institution where each student is struggling to get good grades, make up for missed class, tests and assignments, the hostel should be a haven where the students can return to, in order to ease all burden of the school activities, but in a situation where the Matron/patron is not making the hostel conducive for student to live in due to their harsh treatment and judgments, the parental duties placed on them can hardly be achieved.
Depression as a cankerworm is real and has been eating deep into the fabric of every sphere of life. Everyone has different battle to fight; either in their academic pursuit, family-life, and relationships, that we know nothing about, and the least we can do to help each other survive the troubling waters of life, is to be kind in our relationship with each other. I believe this responsibility falls on everyone, including the matron/patron in their dealings with the students.
The matron/patron has been tagged as a parental figure who is charged with the responsibility of giving parental love to students. So, they should be someone every student can talk to freely, someone who is ready to help in all aspects of hostel affair and not a hitlerish person.
It should be noted that, while there are series of offensive acts most students perpetrate against the Matron/patron, no one is to be pampered or be given special treatment.
The matron/patron is entitled to scold any student who errs, justly and equally.
In conclusion, I urge our matrons/patrons who have been tagged as parental figure, to treat us with parental love and care. We ask that you welcome our enquiries with warmth and make the hostel a safe home for every student to live in.