In an attempt to provide a lasting solution to the lingering issues facing Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, the Christian Associations of Nigeria (CAN), Ogbomoso chapter, is pleading with the federal government step in.
This comes after months of unresolved issues between the school authority, Osun and Ondo state governments, over non-payment of N7.1 billion staff salaries.
To this end, there were series of dialogues among the involved parties as well as students protesting severally, but all efforts have been fruitless.
Thus, while trying to salvage the situation, CAN has called on the federal government to take over the institution and make it a federal university.
In a letter addressed to the federal government, CAN wrote:
THE CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA,
A PLEA TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO TAKE OVER LAUTECH:
THE ONLY FEASIBLE PANACEA FOR THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE UNIVERSITY
1. The lingering incessant strike action paralyzing academic activities in LAUTECH and strangulating her administrative system has become a matter of great concern to the Heads of Churches and Christian Association of Nigeria in Ogbomosoland.
2. The wanton wasting away of the lives, time and future of our youths and children who are students of this institution has become worrisome and disturbing to all discerned minds.
3. On several occasions, students have been sent out of school as a result of avoidable strike action spanning eleven (11) months. This has exposed the vulnerable youngsters to unscrupulous pressures; various types of accidents, high rate of criminality and untimely deaths while many have become redundant and frustrated because they are not able to constructively dissipate their pent-up energy.
4. Workers, both teaching and non-teaching are grossly impoverished as a result of non-payment of salaries and arrears, which, of course is the major reason for the incessant strike actions rocking the one time best state university in Nigeria. As at now, workers of LAUTECH are being owed eight (cool months salaries and arrears pilling up in years. Yet, neither the Governing Council nor the proprietors of the university is speaking or doing anything serious to address this crass maladministration! Staff morale is generally low.
5. Apparently, the concomitant effects of the sorry state of LAUTECH on the well-being of the staffers of the institution are far reaching: several of them are not able to attend to their medical bills, perform their duties as parents and meet critical domestic and social obligations.
6. Suffice to add that the experience of JAMBITES who were supposed to write their 2017 UTME at LAUTECH was not a palatable one and it constitutes a disgrace to our social dignity and collective integrity as a nation!
7. The host community is also badly hit by the wave of the crisis. The commerce of the city is in comatose because LAUTECH staffers constitute a bunch of her population. As elders in the host community, parents of these LAUTECH students and patriotic citizens of this country, the lives and future of our children are so precious to us that we cannot afford to see them struggle with these precarious situations and challenges that are beyond them.
8. From the look of things, the situation is beyond the power of the two owner states, or so it seems. All efforts said to have been made before now by the two owner states seem not yielding any desired result. As we speak, the governments of Oyo and Osun States have refused to make the reports of the much celebrated Wole Olanipekun Visitation Panel public! Too many questions are begging for answers here.
9. The proposed audit exercise recently muted by the university visitors is a welcome development. Such exercise is a conventional procedural oversight responsibility of proprietors of growing organizations and ivory towers, provided it is not just a ploy to tactically buy time, disintegrate the university or sack some of these hapless employees with reckless impunity. However, we opine that it will be counter-productive and seriously unhealthy to further keep the students and workers away from classroom while the audit is ongoing.
OUR HUMBLE PLEAS
1. As we appreciate and commend the hallowed efforts of the governments of Oyo and Osun States over LAUTECH imbroglio, we plead with all that are concerned especially the Federal Government, the National Assembly, Federal Ministry of Education and Nigerian University Commission (NUC) to urgently come to the RESCUE of LAUTECH by taking it over as a Federal University.
2. This will not only rescue the lives and destinies of almost thirty thousand (30,000) current students of the university (and several other desperate candidates awaiting admission), it will also put a permanent pay to the lingering crisis and rekindles the faith of all stakeholders in the leadership of our country.
3. Ipso facto, as of today, given human nature, especially in Africa, a joint venture stands the risk of unequal commitment sired by varied interests. What belongs to everybody actually belongs to nobody. Therefore, no matter how much the partners strive to pretend that these differences do not exist, they will come to the surface. This is the scenario playing out between Oyo and Osun in the case of funding of the institution. Or, how does one justify a situation where Osun as at April 30, 2017 owes almost 5.4 billion naira while Oyo owes almost 2.7 billion naira to the university?
4. In the whole of Nigeria, it is only LAUTECH that has dual ownership. Other states that found themselves in similar situations have peacefully shared assets and liabilities. This is what Prof Mafiana – led team from NUC tried to achieve in 2011 before the current administrations in Oyo and Osun came to throw spanners into it. Why is it that the university is the only monument they agreed to retain as a legacy of their common heritage? What of Colleges of Education in Oyo and Osun States, The Polytechnic Ibadan, and other higher institutions of learning located within the territories of the two states at the time of creation of Osun State?
5. It is clear to all and sundry that the experiment (Joint Ownership of LAUTECH) has failed. The only pragmatic way – forward is to embrace reality and allow peaceful parting of ways rather than the present pejorative and arrant grandstanding by the two governors. Sad to find out that there has been no capital grants to the university since almost 10 years ago! Major developments have been undertaken through Federal Government interventions; courtesy of TetFund Scheme!
6. The world is watching! Quick, noble, decisive and positive actions that can proffer both immediate and long-term solutions to this impasse will be expected from the NUC, Federal Ministry of Education, the National Assembly and other pertinent agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
LAUTECH WILL BE GREAT AGAIN!
Rev’d Dr. Israel O. Olaniyan
Chairman, Head of Churches
Bishop Bayo Akintola Sectetary, Head of Churches
Revd John Olarinde
Evang. Doyin Olayiwola
Chairman CAN, Ogbomoso North L.G
Revd J.O Olomoluwa
Chairman CAN, Ogbomoso South L.G
Revd G.A Adeleye
Chairman CAN, Oriire L.G
The Revd Titus Okewole
Chairman CAN, Suurulere L.G
Elder J.O Oyeniran
Chairman CAN, Ogo-Oluwa L.G
Revd. Dr. Dele Opatoyinbo
Chairman, Ogbomoso Zonal CAN
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