By Gabriel Dike
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has asked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to douse the tension in Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, by releasing the white paper on the prolonged crisis that rocked the institution.
The ERC stated that the non-release of the white paper after the panel submitted its report over a year ago was generating conflict on campus.
The group, in a statement signed by the deputy national coordinator, Ogunjimi Ayobami, and director of social mobilisation, Michael Lenin, said the release of the white paper was long overdue and members of the four staff unions were worried about the delay.
The ERC reminded Sanwo-Olu that part of the agitation for the white paper was to know the fate of seven workers illegally sacked by the immediate past rector, Mr. Oluyinka Sogunro.
“The Education Rights Campaign considers the non-release of the white paper on the seven-month crisis that rocked LASPOTECH in 2019 over one year after the panel submitted its report as a sign of ineptitude and lack of concern for the interest of workers on the part of the state government.
‘‘We hereby call on the Governor Sanwo-Olu-led government of Lagos State to do the needful by releasing the white paper immediately. This is the only way to show that the panel and its widely advertised aim of trying to resolve the crisis that engulfed the institution are not a cleverly orchestrated ruse meant to just deceive the workers to sheathe their swords,” ERC stressed.
The group recalled that seven staffers, cutting across the three unions, who were sacked by Sogunro, were yet to know their fate since 2019 when they were disengaged, as a result of the delay in the release of the white paper.
The ERC listed the sacked workrs as Abimbola Ogunbambi-Ibrahim, Semiu Akinlawon Fasasi, Yemisi Omowunmi Olabisi, Abisola Temitayo Afolabi, Mrs. Rasheedat Abudu, Badmus Mutiu and Olorunseun Emmanuel.
“They were all sacked for their roles in the struggles of LASPOTECH staff. When they recently appealed to council for a review of their sack, they were simply told to wait for the white paper. This and more are the reasons LASPOTECH workers earnestly await the white paper and are angry about the delay.’’
ERC said the implication of the delay is that workers who were illegally sacked have continued to suffer endlessly and resulted in tension and anger on campus, adding ‘’the only way to douse it is for the Lagos State government to release the white paper and also commit to righting all the wrongs and injustice committed by the immediate past administration including reversing, immediately and unconditionally, the illegal sack of the seven members of staff.’’
Meanwhile, the group condemned the statement credited to the Special Adviser on Education, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, who faulted the workers for demanding release of the white paper.
It said: “As far as we are concerned in the ERC, this kind of arrogant response from someone who is expected to advise the governor on educational matters is not only insulting and demeaning, it also lacks empathy for workers who have pinned their hopes on this white paper for the expected resolution of many of the pending issues concerning the 2019 crisis.’’