OPINION: “The Genesis Of LAUTECH Crisis” | 5 Takeaways From This Abuja Facts Article
Last month, the students of LAUTECH published an obituary of their Vice Chancellor, Professor Sulaiman Gbadegeshin,as a form of protest action over the lingering strike action in the school. This occurred after the school had been shut down for about 8 months and then reopened again. This is the second strike action the lecturers have embarked on.
Yesterday, students asked the Federal Government to take over the school from Oyo and Osun states who share joint ownership.
If you’re wondering how the whole thing came to be a big nasty pile of mess, these are 5 takeaways from what Abuja Facts penned down:
1 It did not start with Governor Ajimobi
To a layman (a person who lacks knowledge of a subject), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho crisis emanated few years ago under the control of the progressive governors of Oyo and Osun state respectively but to someone who is well informed and that is conversant with the happenings of the past especially the historical details of LAUTECH as an institution would know that LAUTECH crisis emanated in the 90’s; few years after its creation. The crisis as at then was minimal and manageable until Alao Akala administration started the ownership tussle that intensified or deepened the institution crisis which caused a wide communication gap between members of LAUTECH community and creation of factions with opposing sides.
I could remember how some indigenes of Ogbomosho assaulted, attacked and chased Osun state indigenes out of LAUTECH during the ownership tussle and how some staffs (indigenes of Osun state) suffered great abuse as a result of Alao-Akala led administration decision. As a result of the ownership tussle, state funds that would have been useful in developing infrastructural facilities within this institution were used for the construction of teaching hospital with infrastructural deficiency. The ownership tussle relayed fear and each party involved became less concerned about the development of this institution because no one knew what might become the end of the ownership tussle. After Ajimobi and Aregbesola emerged as visitors of this institution, political solution surfaced and ownership tussle did not only become issues of the past but tuition fee was reduced too.
2. AREGBESOLA IS TO BLAME
One might wonder why LAUTECH is still under the bondage of strike after the issue of ownership has been resolved through political solution and how strike has crippled the academic activities of this institution. Stop wondering and face the simple truth; the irresponsible and negligence act of Osun State Govt. and implementation of unnecessary strike actions by member unions. I doubt if you have a copy of the statement of accounts released by LAUTECH management during the presentation of the Vice-Chancellor at the Oyo State House of Assembly where it was stated unequivocal that Osun debts stood at 5.7billion naira while Oyo debts stood at 1.8billion naira.
It is glaring that Osun State Govt. has not been paying LAUTECH subventions for the past three years and Oyo State Government has been meeting its monthly obligation until Osun State Govt. stopped showing commitment to the progress and growth of LAUTECH. It is obvious that LAUTECH is a dual ownership institution and it is the responsibility of owners to cater for her needs. The difference between the debts of the owners shows that Oyo State Govt. fulfilled her obligations to LAUTECH for a while despite the stoppage of funds from Osun State Govt.
It is pertinent to note that staffs of LAUTECH were owed a month salary before they went on strike even though state workers were owed two or three months’ salary then and the public needs to be informed on how the struggle for academic earned allowance led to the present crises. Yes. The struggle for academic earned allowance intensified LAUTECH crises even when neighbouring state universities workers and federal universities workers were owed as well. The implementation of unnecessary strike actions in LAUTECH and constant closure of the school weakens the Internal Revenue Generation of this institution which ought to have served as aid to the finances, expenses and capital income of this institution. As I’m writing this piece, LAUTECH has lost her revenue due to low enrolment and participation of consumers caused by unnecessary strike actions and closure of school.
3. THEY’VE KISSED AND MADE UP
It is also on record that both owners met in Ibadan as a result of the reoccurrence of the ownership tussle where some hooligans in Ogbomosho attacked Osun State staffs in LAUTECH. In that meeting, Aregbesola reaffirmed the interest of Osun state govt. as far as LAUTECH is concerned and a treaty was signed by both owners that LAUTECH remains a property of both states. The reason behind Aregbesola’s act is not fetched, they are fully aware that Osun people dominate LAUTECH and any attempt to withdraw from the treaty means that LAUTECH will become the sole property of Oyo state government and there would be reshuffled of staffs and workers within the institution. Aregbesola will always say that they are interested in LAUTECH and they are incapacitated.
4. INDIGENES AND NON-INDIGENES
It is also on records that student leaders of LAUTECH did not stage any protest in Osun state until the outcry was much and the issue has become a national discuss because a majority of LAUTECH student leaders in the Students’ Union Government are indigenes or residents of Osun state. Likewise, it is also on records that Ajimobi came out of the state executive council meeting to attend to students of LAUTECH who protested at the early days of 2017 while Students of LAUTECH protested for two days before the deputy governor of Osun state attended to the protesters. Maybe the public needs to be informed too that the president of LAUTECH Alumni Association is also an indigene of Osun state.
It is also on record that Oyo state govt. met with the management, aggrieved member unions and students in the middle of January where Ajimobi made a promise of #500million to be paid into LAUTECH accounts as a temporary solution till the visitors’ panel report came out and a permanent solution is attained. Yes. 500million was paid into LAUTECH’s account which was used to settle some outstanding fees while Osun state govt. paid the sum of #42million after weeks.
5. WE NEED TO ASK PERTINENT QUESTIONS
It is also worthy to note that all union leaders of member unions such as ASUU, NASU and SSANU are indigenes of Osun state. If Osun State Govt. could stop showing commitment to the growth of LAUTECH; it is unfair to blame the woes of LAUTECH on Oyo state. If Osun State Govt. could stop fulfilling her obligations to LAUTECH; it is unfair to blame the closure of LAUTECH on Ajimobi. If Osun people (students, staffs and workers) dominate or represent the larger population of LAUTECH; it is reckless for Ajimobi to be responsible solely for the wellbeing of LAUTECH. Union leaders that started the campaign for the payment of EAA (Earn Academic Allowances) are indigenes of State of Osun and records have it that Only Ajimobi has always negotiated and taken care of LAUTECH crisis. LAUTECH is jointly owned by Osun and Oyo states respectively but only Oyo state has been responsible for the settlement of crises and total wellbeing.
Have you ever asked why?