‘Oyo, Osun should help LAUTECH’
the Oyo State House of Assembly has directed Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Adeniyi Olowofela, and his counterpart from Ministry of Justice, Mr. Oluwaseun Abimbola, to submit reports within the next two weeks on how to resolve the crisis rocking Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).
The directive was against the backdrop of the strike embarked on by the institution since June 9, over non-payment of salaries, which has totally paralysed academic activities in the institution, as well as the way forward on the crisis being generated by the joint-ownership of the institution by the Oyo and Osun States.
The assembly at a plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Michael Adeyemo, told the commissioners that the reports must have two parts. The first part should contain short-term solution to the lingering crisis that would ensure return of students and workers to LAUTECH as soon as possible.
The second part of the reports, according to the lawmakers, should contain the review of the joint-ownership of institution by Oyo and Osun States, and recommend ways by which Oyo State could become sole owner of LAUTECH, which was said to be a long-term solution to the crisis in the institution.
The two commissioners, Olowofela and Abimbola, who appeared before the lawmakers yesterday, had been summoned last week Thursday to appear before the house with their reports. But the duo said they were unable to prepare the reports due to their active participation in the ongoing verification exercise for civil servants in the state. They asked for more time for them to prepare the reports.
Daily Sun gathered that an apex indigenous association in Ogbomoso, the host community of LAUTECH, has two weeks ago asked natives of Osun State working in the university to vacate the institution and should not return so that Oyo State could own the institution alone for proper funding.
The Oyo State House of Assembly had last week adopted a motion that Osun State should disengage from the joint-ownership of the institution. The motion, entitled: ‘Reviewing the Joint Ownership of LAUTECH: A Step Towards Sole Ownership by Oyo State Government,’ was moved by Olawumi Oladeji, representing Ogbomoso North, and nine other lawmakers.
Oladeji stated that the joint-ownership of institution began in 1991 when Osun State was carved out of the old Oyo State, saying: “We are concerned about the persistent crises in the university due to default in payment of staff salaries as and when due. Cumulatively, State of Osun Government is owing 15 months staff salaries as at September 2016. Consequent upon this, the university staff has embarked on an indefinite strike which has paralysed all activities in the university.
“It should be noted that if the industrial action embarked upon by the university staff persist for too long, it may spell doom for the existence and growth of the university. Urgent need to be taken to address the issue of joint ownership of LAUTECH in view of the present challenges and crises rocking the university.”
Meanwhile, the National President, LAUTECH Alumni Association, Mr Babatunde Bewaji, has called for synergy between the two owner-states in settling the challenges rocking the institution.
Speaking at a public forum in Ibadan, Bewaji described the call for the sole ownership of the university by the Oyo State House of Assembly as unnecessary and insignificant at the present time.
The most important thing, according to him, is how to settle backlog of salaries owed the workers.