Two traditional rulers, Oloto of Oto-Awori Kingdom, Oba Josiah Olanrewaju and Alara of Ilara, Oba Folarin Ogunsanwo on Tuesday disagreed over the location of the main campus of the proposed University of Education, Lagos (UNEDLAG).
The disagreement occurred during a public hearing organized by the Lagos State House of Assembly’s Committee on Education (Tertiary) at Assembly Complex, Alausa, Ikeja.
The hearing was on “A Bill for a Law to provide for the Establishment of the University of Education, Lagos (UNEDLAG) and for connected purposes.” aimed at converting the present Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED) Otto/Ijanikin and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Noforija, Epe, to a university.
Stakeholders at the event had alluded to the growing demand for university education as against the drop for other tertiary education in the country.
In his submission, Oba Folarin argued that with the large expanse of land available in Epe, the main campus for the university should be stationed in Epe division of the state.
The royal father also noted that the proximity of University of Lagos (LASU) to AOCOED would have considerable impact on traffic along the LASU-Ojo corridor.
“Today history is being made. I’m speaking on behalf of all royal fathers in Epe division. The proposed university is deepening the third pillar of the THEMES agenda of the state governor. Education is the best legacy we can bequeath to our children,” he said.
While arguing that NCE certificate was fast going into oblivion, he stated: “It is right for the university to be sited in MOCPED Epe. It is difficult to have two universities along the same corridor.
“There is sizable expanse of land in Epe. This will provide befitting structures and make peope to study under conducive atmosphere. I urge the government to look at this side,” Oba Ogunsanwo posited.
However, the Oloto of Oto Awori, Oba Olanrewaju cautioned the state goverment not to dabble into unnecessary controversy, saying the Badagry division had been clamouring for the upgrade of AOCOED for over twenty years.
The royal father who spoke in Yoruba, appealed to the state goverment not to dash the hope of the people in the area, arguing that the main campus should be sited in Ijanikin.
He said: “We have been clamouring for this in the last twenty years. You, members of the House of Assembly have been doing what you are elected for, your representation, no doubt is pleasing to us.
“We should be careful, we should not allow conspiracy to destroy this lofty idea. In as much as the university is located in Ijanikin, it is also in Lagos. We have achieved this kind of a feat in the past, this should not be an exemption.”
In his response, the Deputy Speaker, Hon Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni who spoke on behalf of the Speaker, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa said the House would not dabble into the fray, saying what the House is interested in is to do what will be iin the best nterest of the state.
“The House will not join the fray. The arguement is neither here nor there. It is what is in the interest of the state that will be done. We cannot support one community against the other,” Obasa noted.
While giving the overview of the Bill, the Leader of the House, Hon Sanai Agunbiade said there are 53 sections in the proposed law.
According to him, section 44 addresses the funding of the institution.
It reads: “Local Government in the state shall contribute two percent of their Financial Allocation to tertiary institutions in the state such that not less than sixty percent of such money should be given to universities owned by the state, for the purpose of educational development (Academic and Physical).”
Speaking with journalists, Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Education, Tokunbo Wahab said that the establishment of the institutions was part of the governor’s THEMES agenda, adding that certificates of Colleges of Education and Polytechnics are obsolete.
Wahab explained that Lagos State University (LASU) could not accommodate all courses of education and that prompt the need to establish the University of Education in the state.
On the disagreement between the traditional rulers on the location of the proposed university, Wahab described it as “mundane” , adding that it would never distract the government from the “bigger picture”.
” Mr. Governor and the Speaker in their own wisdom agree on the location”, said Wahab.
On the accommodation, he said the bill itself has made the institution to be residential, adding that there would be approval for the school to build hostels.
In a related development, the House also held public hearing on a bill for a law to establish the Lagos State University of Science and Technology.
The intent of the bill is to convert Lagos Polytechnics to University.