The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, in a statement confirmed that the Governor told the gathering at Ladoke Akintola University Technology (LAUTECH), that the State was jerking up its budget allocation to education to 20 per cent.
Penpushing further reports that, Makinde stated that the only condition his government would give the university was that stakeholders in the school must submit a written agreement to his office on how the funds would be disbursed.
The Governor is one of the two Visitors to the institution jointly owned by Oyo and Osun States, explained that, the visit to the University, which has been enmeshed in labour crisis over its joint ownership, was with a view to seeing things first-hand and ascertaining the situation in the institution ahead of the inauguration of the Oyo State’s committee on the ownership crisis.
Penpushing also reports that, Makinde maintained that he would inaugurate the Oyo State’s committee, which will work with its Osun State counterpart on how to resolve the University’s crisis, noting that in line with his promise during the electioneering period, his government would find a lasting solution to the university crisis.
“Oyo State will be ready to release, at least, N500 million to LAUTECH. We will only release that money if the leadership of ASUU, SSANU and the rest will come up with an agreement on what they will do with the money. You will get the money immediately you have that agreement. I look forward to it. If the VC can come up with a document where everybody has agreed, we will release the money the day after’.
The Governor who stated that he remained committed to his promise that the University would be adequately funded and that its academic calendar would become regular and definite, said there had been challenges to the realization of the promise because the institution was jointly owned.
Penpushing reports that ,he however, maintained that though the issue of joint ownership has muddled things up, the aspiration of his government remained that the university would be counted among the best in the world, urging people not exercise fears over their jobs or what would become of them, as he assured that Oyo and Osun States would resolve the matter as brothers.
Penpushing reports that, at the interactive meeting attended by students, workers, University management and indigenes of Ogbomoso, among others, representatives of NASU, SSANU and Federating Units of Ogbomoso Indigenes placed their demands before the Governor, with most of the speakers including the President of the Ogbomoso indigenes, Alhaji Saka Bello Aremu and Comrade Makinde Oyewande, making strong cases for the sole ownership of the institution by Oyo State.
The Governor in response said: “I will always listen to you as I have just done. The reason government exists is to enable the people to benefit from the dividends of democracy. On the issue of joint ownership of LAUTECH, there is no family in Oyo State that does not have a linkage with Osun State. We were all of Oyo State before. I have appealed to the management of this institution that we should not go towards xenophobic issues. We are brothers and sisters with those in Osun.
“My wish for LAUTECH is to compete with the best of institutions in the world. To do that, wherever we can get the best hand, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, we don’t mind. Even, experts will still come to a lecture in this school. So, please let us push aside the issue of Osun and Oyo’.
‘Everybody that is working here, irrespective of where you came from, it is the duty of the government to ensure you have job security and get your salary as at when due. On the 25th of every month, which is the GSM Date in Oyo State, they receive their salaries. And very soon, it will be the same for LAUTECH. From ASUU to SSANU, to NASU, we will resolve the issues.
“By 9am tomorrow (today), I will inaugurate the committee for Oyo State to negotiate with Osun the way forward for LAUTECH. We don’t want to make any mistake and that is the reason why I am here to interact with stakeholders to hear from them and I have heard from you loud and clear. And I promise that we will move on the path that is sustainable for all the stakeholders of LAUTECH’.
“I listened to NASU, ASUU and other trade unions and learnt that they are owing you salary. I can conveniently claim that I have only been here for almost six months now and that the money you are owed was before my time but I am not one to shy away from responsibilities’.
‘We are taking full responsibility for all the things that have happened in the past but we have to chart a sustainable way forward. I listened to the Vice-Chancellor while speaking and learned that all the money they are owing you is about N6.07bn. It is a lot easier to spend N6bn to establish a new university for Oyo State. Yes, we can do it. Some other people did it. You have heard about Technical University in Ibadan but we are not going to trail that path. For the people of Ogbomosho, LAUTECH is our own Cambridge. It is our own Oxford. It is at the arch of the economy of Ogbomosho and, by extension, Oyo State’.
Penpushing also reports that earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Michael Ologunde, who expressed delight that Makinde embarked on the visit to assess the things on ground, said: “It is a special opportunity to have you here. As a matter of fact, when we were told last week that you will be here, it really gladdened our heart because as the Chief Executive of the State, the University is entirely yours and it is important for you to take a visit and access the situation to know what is on the ground. In the process, the University will have the opportunity of placing its problems and aspirations before you which we hope that, by your coming today, will disappear.
“It is our greatest pleasure to welcome you most heartily to this University which is the best University of Technology and, in Webometric ranking of the world’s renowned assessment organisation, the 7th best in the country. We are sure that it is as a consequence of all these attainments that your passion for the sustainability of this University so as to be able to achieve its pride of place in the comity of universities the world over that you are here. And you are so much concerned and we believe, as I have said earlier, all our concerns and the problems associated with the concerns will disappear today. We are pleased to have you in our midst’.
“The VC has read to us so many achievements from this University but now, we are asking the lecturers and the non-academic workers to deliver on empty stomach. And that is because, in the past, two elephants were fighting but who are those suffering? The people are the ones suffering. But thank God that we are not elephants. But they say ‘a dog that has followers can kill a monkey’. With your support, we will find a lasting solution to the issue of LAUTECH’.