[Must Read] Oba Of Ogbomoso Writes Gov. Ajimobi & Aregbesola Over LAUTECH Joint Ownership “A Failed Experiment”

[Must Read] Oba Of Ogbomoso Writes Gov. Ajimobi & Aregbesola Over LAUTECH Joint Ownership “A Failed Experiment”


by DJ BOBTEE! 


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I feel highly obliged and compelled to draw the attention of well-meaning Nigerians and the Visitors of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso to the noxious development ongoing at the institution.
The issue has been lingering on; and for over three (3) months now the institution has detrimentally remained close. The attendant academic disruption has not only become a source of concern for all well-meaning residents of Oyo State but also a humongous embarrassment to the whole world. Hence, as a father to all, it is pertinent that I offer my candid suggestion on the way out of the current impasse before further irreparable damage is done to the institution.
LAUTECH was established by a signed edict dated April 23, 1990, to advance technological education in Nigeria. At inception, it was named Oyo State University of Technology (OSUTECH) but with the creation of Osun State in 1991 from the Old Oyo State, the University witnessed a change in taxonomy to what it is today. The University started with a total of 436 candidates enrolled in four faculties: Agricultural Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Engineering and Management Sciences, and Pure and Applied Sciences. A College of Health Sciences was established a year later at Osogbo (capital of Osun State) after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in October 1991. In its 26 years of existence, the University has made tremendous impact; it annually turns out technologically-skilled manpower for the nation and the world as a whole. Presently, it’s a source of employment to over 3,000 Nigerians, and with 25, 000 students population, it’s a stimulus to the economy of the two states. Thus, allowing the University to slip into decay will be a distasteful disservice to our people and a most unpatriotic thing.
In the main meanwhile, the resolution to jointly own and fund the institution has proven to be an error, considering the unfolding events. Clearly, the status of joint ownership has perpetually bred a corrosive distrust, a constant spark for breakdown of inter-governmental relationships and incessant conflicts.
The unhealthy relationships came to the open during the administrations of Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, ex-governors of Oyo and Osun States. It also engendered conflict between Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and Governor Rauf Aregbesola; and then between Governors Abiola Ajimobi and Rauf Aregbesola. The display of administrative “big egos” has often taken the centre stage and has become intractably untamable. Hence, the two elephants that fight, it is the grass that suffers most. While the breakdown of inter-governmental relationships lasts each time, irredeemable damages are incurred and those at the receiving end are the hapless students, the unlucky parents, the flustered institution’s workers and of course, the two states.
From the foregoing, I find it difficult to fold my arms, the edict that established the University has never been ambiguous as it emphatically entrusted the ownership to Oyo State. For fairness and justice, at the creation of Osun State, Oyo State supported wholeheartedly the establishment of a College of Medicine and Teaching Hospital at Osogbo. This arrangement presupposes that in the future, it will become a case of Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit – when two parties hold on to whatever it has on its land. It is recognition of this philosophy that has persistently motivated Oyo State to over the years contribute the most to the growth of LAUTECH.
Compounding the joint ownership quandary, in 2006, Osun State unilaterally went ahead to establish its own University – Osun State University (UNIOSUN). Many took the action to mean that Osun State was technically pulling out of her joint ownership of LAUTECH, considering the financial burden.
Dismissing this allusion however, Osun State gave assurance it would not disregard its fiscal commitment to the institution. But sadly, experience has proven to the contrary? Osun State has defaulted unrepentantly to redeem her financial obligations to the University for over fifteen (15) months now. In sincerity, what this portends is that the financial burden of running two state-owned Universities has become too heavy a load for the Osun State Government.

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Interestingly however, while Osun State is evading her financial responsibilities to LAUTECH, she continues to nurture her baby, UNIOSUN. Should I and the good people of Oyo State at large continue to be passive while the LAUTECH legacy is smothered into ruins and left prostrate? I say an emphatic no! In the light of this, I suggest that Osun State should channel her resources to building UNIOSUN to an enviable height while Oyo State is given the grace to solely own LAUTECH.
Furthermore, the joint ownership has become synonymous with incessant closure, underfunding and growth retardation, the two owner states now shortchange each other with reckless impunity. These then have raised fundamental issues that need to be quickly addressed.
The institution has been closed since June 13 with no hope of its reopening in sight. The institution’s workers are being owed over five (5) months salaries. The peril inherent in subjecting young fellows to a state of idleness unendingly is too obvious. Equally, the current gridlock predisposes the University to forfeit a whole academic session while final year students eyeing the mandatory National Youth Service stand at the threshold of missing mobilization for the exercise. What about this year’s admission? Innocent children seeking admission into the University next session are already left in the lurch, just as residents are exposed to a dire situation.
The University that was rated the best State University in Nigeria for two consecutive seasons, 2003 and 2004 by the National Universities Commission (NUC) has been witnessing a slide in rating and forlornly, this year’s ranking released by the body put it at 21st on the log, a very worrying development for all lovers of quality education. Also, the school’s chapters of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) have embarked on industrial actions over the matter. These actions by the various segments in the University are symptomatic of the deep financial muddle the University is enmeshed in.
The consideration of this fact must have also ignited a protest by many parents recently in Ogbomoso. The object of their grievance is the protracted standoff over the ownership status of the University, which is believed to be the catalyst for the closure of the school and the lack of will to reopen it, their action is best described as that of a goat driven to a wall and inexorably turns around to head butt its assailant, I fear this might escalate! They are angry that their children who were supposed to be mobilized for NYSC might be ill-fated for no “sin” of their own just as prospect for new admission is fleetingly fading away, not to mention the harshness this closure has imposed on the economy of the two states; they indomitably demonstrated their vehement, fierce resolve, even though I have been calming their agitations and impatient disposition with great efforts.
It is also instructive that though Osun State has stopped funding the University, its people are still dominant in the management cadre of the school which Oyo State indigenes however overlook. This is reflected in the breakdown of Principal Office holders and other appointments in the institution as highlighted below: Vice Chancellor – Professor Adeniyi S. Gbadegesin (Oyo); Deputy Vice Chancellor – Professor Timothy Adebayo (Osun); Registrar – Mr. Jacob A. Agboola (Osun); Bursar – Mr. A.B.C. Olagunju (Osun); Librarian – Mr. I.O. Ajala (Oyo); Provost, College of Health Sciences – Professor S.S. Taiwo (Kwara); Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences – Professor O.E. Ayodele (Ogun); Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences – Professor A.T. Adeboyejo (Ogun); Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences – Professor J.O. Adewoye (Osun); Dean, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences – Professor O.M. Oni (Oyo); Dean, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences – Professor Gbade Oyediran (Osun); Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences – Dr. A.S. Adekunle (Osun); Dean, Students Affairs – Dr. L.A. Jimoda (Osun); Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology – Professor K.A. Adebiyi (Oyo); College Secretary, College of Health Sciences – Mr. E.A. Ajibesin PAR (Osun); Secretary Post Graduate School – Mrs. Osundina T.O. DR (Osun); Personnel Affairs – Mrs. O.O. Oloke DR (Osun); Academic Affairs – Mrs. A.A. Oguntunde DR (Osun); PDS Secretary – Mr. Bashiru Isola PAR (Osun); Faculty Officer – Mrs. V.B. Obiyemi PAR (Osun); Director, Health Centre – Dr. Adegbosin C.O. (Osun); Director, Sports – Mr. Oguntunde A.O. (Osun). Isn’t this a clear shortchanging?
The slide must be checkmated. And as such, the most convincing resolution I can proffer to this (gratuitous) menace represented by the knotty issues above, lies in the immediate process of handing over of the University to Oyo State, which has no other state-owned University. I am aware that LAUTECH’s joint ownership status is calculated to show the outside world that two governments owning and running a University together is feasible. After all, there is no place found in Nigeria where such thing is practised. We should take a cue from what happened when Ekiti and Delta States were created from Ondo and Bendel States respectively, the existing state-owned Universities reverted to the state where they were located accompanied by equitable sharing of assets and liabilities. This ensured that the succeeding years are free of superfluous imbroglios over funding and constitution of the management team, and so they succeeded in precluding a perennial conflict over ownership status. Therefore, as events have wholly depicted, LAUTECH’s joint ownership is a monumental aberration and the so -called “model,” has utterly fallen apart.
It is precarious to toy with the lives of future leaders of the state and the country at large. Since it is palpable that co-ownership is not working, I appeal to the two Governors to quickly take a bold step towards a peaceful parting of ways regarding the institution. I call on well-meaning Nigerians to rise and rescue LAUTECH from imminent collapse. It is a clarion call. All stakeholders should urgently put all machineries in place to salvage the institution. It is evident the two proprietors, Oyo and Osun States, are tired of co-funding because of lots of intricate difficulties. Interestingly, both states would be desirous of having their separate Universities. Thanks that Osun State has UNIOSUN, with LAUTECH Teaching Hospital and College of Health Sciences, Osogbo while Oyo State has LAUTECH and the College of Health Sciences in Ogbomoso. Allowing each state to go it all alone would be statesmanship. The reality is that joint ownership of the University has proven impracticable in view of these elaborate problems associated with it.
The University’s Visitors, I crave your indulgences to draw your focus to the fact that Oyo State had long been tired of the joint ownership, let me refer to a letter that emanated years ago to corroborate this. Titled, “Re: An Appeal for Peace” dated 31st March, 2011, with reference No. Gov. 25/Vol.11/612 in response to my pleadings for peace to reign concerning the matter at the time, part of it states: “Kabiyesi, joint ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, when it so existed, was a partnership. At the point that Oyo State found that the partnership was no longer workable and mutually rewarding, we opted out … Our decision should not cause any bad blood …” The above claim from the Oyo State Government emphasized the position of the state.
Therefore, I admonish that Osun State Government be disengaged from the co-ownership of LAUTECH, the following reasons, which are summaries of the already highlighted points will suffice:
Inability of Osun State to continue to meet her financial obligations to the institution, it has been fifteen months now it last released grants to the institution, a situation that makes payment of salaries difficult and stifles capital projects.
Problems associated with the breakdown of inter-governmental relationships between the two states.
Passive attitude of Osun State towards the development of the institution, particularly in the area of provisions of infrastructures.
Opportunity for each state to hold on and be more dedicated to each state’s owned University i.e. UNIOSUN and LAUTECH.
For entrenchment of enduring peace and creation of a conducive environment for innovative development of both LAUTECH and UNIOSUN.
In conclusion I pledge to give full royal support to work along with other stakeholders to facilitate all the necessary arrangements that would lead to peaceful and smooth disengagement as soon as possible and pave way for each state to own solely her state’s University. It is time to face the reality on ground and take a stand that will be applauded by future generations.
Thank you.
Yours,
His Royal Majesty,
Oba (Dr.) Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III JP CON CFR
Soun of Ogbomosoland


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