LAUTECH will bounce back

Please follow and like us:

  • 0
  • Share

LAUTECH gateLAUTECH an institution that has produced thousands of outstanding graduates in the field of medicine and engineering, particularly in Information and Communications Technology and other academic endeavours. The university that has corporate bodies milling around its gate, waiting to poach brilliant students that strewn the ambience. All that stopped the moment the Visitors came to power. Befuddled Nigerians are asking if the governors never knew that for three consecutive years, this beleaguered LAUTECH was the scion of all eyes rated the best state university in Nigeria and the third best university in the country. When the Federal Government acceded to the establishment of the College on March 13, 1990, a move triggered by General Adetunji Idowu Olurin in 1988, no one ever thought of a day when this burgeoning citadel of knowledge would be brought to its knees literally and a family of rulers will disdainfully and willfully throw away the future of over 30,000 undergraduates even at a time when a successful graduates iare pinning away on the streets of unemployment.
It is callous and confusing. Confusing in the sense that while these poor students and their lecturers became beggars at the corridors of their traducers, Governor Ajimobi is splashing money on and attracting international donors for his pet project, the Technical University, Ibadan (TUI) which, to all intents and purposes, is a fledgling surrogate of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso. With a Vice Chancellor and a Pro-Chancellor already in place, negotiations with the Central Bank of Nigeria,Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the potential of facilities from International donors with groping executive backing, the Oyo State government has abdicated and inter-switched its role in favour of a new son to the utter detriment of the orphan.
Our own governor is now telling everyone with glee that here cometh yet another landmark achievement of his last year in office. We should not forget that in neighbouring Ogun State, there are five existing state universities and not one of them is being sacrificed for the other. Overall, there are 38 state universities in Nigeria and none of them is experiencing this kind of heartrending crisis except that between Cross River and Akwa Ibom states which was swiftly resolved in favour of the latter because politics was set aside.
With the benefit of hindsight, it now begins to unravel why the Supreme Court took that strange decision in 2012 that compelled the two state governments to retain joint ownership of LAUTECH.
In 2010, largely due to the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Governors Adebayo Alao-Akala and Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Oyo and Osun states respectively, jointly signed an agreement ceding LAUTEC to Oyo State following all formal procedures. When the institution’s case got to the Supreme Court, somehow, the Joint Agreement ceding LAUTECH to Oyo State signed by these former governors and which could have had direct impact on the case, was missing and it was neither an oversight nor a coincidence. Because the Governors knew that presenting the Agreement before the Supreme would automatically hand over the Institution to Oyo state, it was removed as an exhibit. Five years on and the subterfuge is still haunting us all.
As for IUT, the bill was brought before the house under the name Oyo State Technical University, Ibadan and had passed the first, second and third reading, only for the name to be substituted with Technical University, Ibadan. But the intrinsic implication of that name change is that it is unknown to the laws of Oyo State because it was breached where it mattered most. While one is not being parochial, it is a matter of fact that currently, two ranking members of the 8th Assembly who actively egged on the Executive to perpetuate this anomaly are the current Chairman of the Parliamentary Council who was Chairman Education Committee in the 7th Assembly and another member both of whom have filial reasons to maintain the status quo on LAUTECH.
It is not surprising that the Oyo and Osun State governments have not enjoyed any support outside their cabinet and of course the governors’ aides but it rankles that they have now resorted to blaming both students and workers alike, often turning the Wole Olanipekun’s Panel report on its head. Kudos must go to both groups for maintaining dignified postures in spite of the provocation and for going about their protestations with civility. Men of goodwill have sought to assist in finding solutions to this quagmire. Prominent among the measures being proffered are for the Federal Government to take over the institution. The problem with this is that the central government is already drenched in its own sweat trying to manage the existing 40 universities under it with myriads of crises in a substantial number of them. Aside from the perennial issue of funding at a time when existing ones cannot meet their basic needs, taking over another university cannot be undertaken by sheer executive fiat.
The other option is private ownership. As it is, there are 68 private universities in Nigeria and we are still counting.The effectiveness of many universities in this category is suspect mainly due to the unhealthy priorities given to the business aspect at the detriment of academics. Many of them are battling to survive under the present economic climate and this is steadily rubbing off on there academic and corporate responsibilities. Besides the structure of LAUTECH is such that it will take a massive restructuring to make financial sense to investors. All this apart, the manner in which plots of land were handed out to the institution at inception might make it difficult for the investors to survive the potential litigation from owners whose landed properties were commandeered in the name of sacrifices to the community. Many of them are already gearing up to lay claim to their lands if the place is turned into a profit making venture.
The third option is for the institution to be handed over to the Oyo State government as it was in the original Agreement between Akala and Oyinlola in 2010 as brokered by Obasanjo. It is tidier, efficacious, realistic, cheaper and justifiable. Grey areas like the College of Medicine can be worked out with minimum fuss. It is such a pity that we have had to pay a heavy price for a decision that should have been wrapped and sealed seven years ago but that is what you get when everything has to be measured through the political periscope
•Prince Oyelade, an author and publisher, writes in from Ibadan.

The post LAUTECH will bounce back appeared first on Tribune.

Facebook Comments

Please follow and like us:

  • 0
  • Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *