Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Students from the National Association of Osun State Students (NAOSS) and National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Osun State Chapter/Joint Campus Committee (JCC) have said that the Oyo State Government was not sincere in the lingering crisis at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho.
Oyo and Osun, the co-owners of the institution, have been embroiled in disagreement over the funding of the school and the teaching hospital at Osogbo, with both states passing the buck to each other for not fulfilling their counterpart funding mandate.
In a press statement jointly signed by Oderinwale Elisha, President of NAOSS and Abidoye Omololu, President of NANS/JCC Osun Axis, the students called on both states to respect the sacrifices of the heroes who laboured to establish the university by upholding the spirit behind the establishment of the school.
Oderinwale, while addressing reporters in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on Friday alleged that “there was a clandestine move by the Oyo State Government to fraudulently take over what jointly belongs to the two states.”
He further accused the government of playing politics with the future of the students, decrying what it called its “blackmail and propaganda.”
He said: “Records in the public space show clearly that it is the same Oyo State that has been sponsoring tissues of lies against Osun State, accusing it of failure to live up to its responsibility over the years, especially concerning the funding of LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo.
“At inception, the tenets of the joint ownership arrangement was that while Oyo pays salaries of workers at LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, for six months, Osun will pay salaries of workers at LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, also for a period of six months and vice versa.
“Can Oyo State Government tell Nigerian students and the discerning pubic why it stopped paying salaries of workers at LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, the only one known to law and recognised by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria since 2013?
“We have it on record that since 2013 to date, Osun alone has been paying these salaries, and as we speak, it has expended N16,604,510,806.12. Ironically, within the same period, Osun has also committed over N9bn to the funding of LAUTECH, Ogbomoso. So, cumulatively, from 2013 till now, Osun has expended over N25 billion on LAUTECH. Oyo State should tell us it’s own level of commitment,” he said.
What he termed as inequality in the distribution of assets between the two states, Oderinwale explained that while seven out of the eight faculties in the institution were located in Oyo State, only one faculty was sited in Osun.
“What of staff strength?! It is 80 percent to 20 percent in favour of Oyo State. Again, even in students’ enrollment, it is in favour of Oyo State. But it is supposed to be joint ownership. Yet , we have this obvious lopsidedness. However, if in spite of the obvious lopsidedness, Osun has continued to be alive to its responsibility, without a corresponding reciprocity, then, something is wrong.”
He said that in spite of the “obvious lopsidedness,” Osun has continued to be alive to its funding responsibilities.
“We, therefore, demand that Oyo State, henceforth, stop the unnecessary blackmail and propaganda and tell the public the true situation of things at all times.
“If eventually the two states can no longer run the university jointly, they should follow the laid down pronouncements for division as clearly stated by the judgment of the Supreme Court in 2010 on the said matter,” Oderinwale said.