UNN Hostel Diaries

“Mbanefo see tanker!” “Tanker! Tanker!” the boys jeered clapping their hands. ‘From what seemed like the voices of five male students, I suddenly began to feel the tone increase until I could easily agree that I had been surrounded by the entire school each person hitting the metallic rail and singing “Tanker! Tanker!”. There I was, stuck at the center of the popular “notorious” Mbanefo hostel’s quadrangle mortified and wishing the ground could open and swallow me up. The hostel occupants had surrounded the four aisles of the hostel on each series and as they jeered I could feel my tears choking me’. That was Obianuju’s (not real name) experience in her first year in the den many years before I gained admission. According to her, it was normal for the male students to hail any female who “dared” to visit them. Obianuju described them as “female starved” hence the excitement anytime a female is seen around Franco. ‘I wondered (still do) why females were addressed as “tanker” and why the extreme excitment anytime a female is seen around their hostel. “A set started it” were the thought of my friends and gradually it permeated until it became an existing tradition. Being an extremely reserved person, I almost swore that the dust in Mbanefo will never ever kiss my feet until I graduate. 300 level I was assigned to the famous old post graduate hostel – Kwame Nkrumah. We became official neighbors with the dreaded Mbanefo boys. It was such an enthusiastic feel (or so it seemed) for male students to have female students within their den and for us it was an “honor” to share fences with the famous boys. Gradually, they became familiar with our presence and the desire to hail “tanker” faded with each graduating class. Having the boys within the same community became fun as weeks rolled into months. We got use to them calling out to us in the midnight saying “Nkrumah ee! We are cold” and the different responses they always get from female students. We had the weird ones who could decide to mimic popular vendors at wee hours of the morning. “Ma Ihe foro gi n’ime! Check your weight and know what remains in you” “Drycleaner!” “Okpa di oku!” “Maria di nso… Catholic students it is time for morning devotion” Amazingly, more than half of the occupants in both hostels will be thrown into hysteric laughter and only then will it dawn on us that a lot of people are awake either studying or doing chores. The boys also came handy as detectives, they were the first people we called anytime we were attacked by thieves. Franco was fun and more importantly for a lot of us that successfully broke the “Mbanephobia” Something really cool played out on the evening of 24th April 2011. It was Easter Sunday and a handful of girls stayed back in school. I, Njide and Nonso were together in room 427 eating ofe akwu and white rice Njide had brought back for us from Enugu. It was a serene evening and we had stayed back in school because of the serenity. We talked, laughed and gossiped about a lot of things until one of us decided to become naughty (thinking about it now, I may have been the naughty one). The person went to the window to start up a conversation with the boys, the others joined and it became a real convo. They complained that they hadn’t eaten anything and we told them we had “food”. It was all a joke o! Ofe akwu had finished, we were only trying to play with them
I learnt my first Golden rule that day “Never mess around a boy with food” Hay God! They were now saying “Should we come?” and we were screaming “Yess!!” excitedly Hay God! All we thought was that they wouldn’t take us seriously and then we wondered how they could locate our room. Few minutes later, we heard a knock on the door and then voices “Nkrumah ee!”
We opened the door to what seemed like a Basilica of Men. We didn’t stop screaming We made new friends that night but we promised them food another day. They did come back and Njide prepared Indomie’. Thinking about her story to me then, I now compared how Franco is now to the sweet old days when hostel was a hell of fun.

3 thoughts on “UNN Hostel Diaries” by Ezeobi Tochukwu Charles (@EzeobiTochukwuCharles)

  1. Dinah (@ChidimmaOji)

    Lol. “tanker” every UNN graduate and student can relate to this. Mbanefo hostel-the most notorious male hostel in school

  2. Hmm, nice story.

  3. Emeka Oji-Dike (@Mexy)

    Nice one

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