…releases N500m subvention to LAUTECH
By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde has said that the State government will jerk up its budget allocation to the education sector to 20 per cent in 2020.
The Governor, announced the decision while speaking at a consultative meeting with stakeholders at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso on Tuesday.
Besides, the Governor also announced the approval of N500 million subvention to LAUTECH to address the demands of its workforce.
He 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.
Makinde is one of the two Visitors to the institution jointly owned by Oyo and Osun states.
According to the Governor, 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.
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 today [Wednesday], noting that in line with his promise during the electioneering period, his government would find a lasting solution to the LAUTECH crisis.
Makinde, 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.
The Governor, however, maintained that though the issue of joint ownership has muddled things up, the aspiration of his government remained that LAUTECH 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.
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.
In his response, Makinde 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, either Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, we don’t mind. Even, experts will still come into 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.
Makinde, while addressing the issue of joint ownership of the institution, told the stakeholders that though Oyo State could shoulder the responsibility of funding LAUTECH because his government has lived up to its promise to raise budgetary allocation to education to 20 per cent, it had an engagement with Osun State and negotiations must take place on how to chart a sustainable path for the University.
He said, “But the good news is, tomorrow (Wednesday), I will lay a budget before the State Assembly with, at least, 20 percent for Education. Can Oyo State shoulder the responsibility of sole ownership of LAUTECH? My answer is resounding yes. But we do have a lot of work to do. We have an engagement coming up with our brothers and sisters of the State of Osun. We have negotiations that must take place. We can only get ourselves on that sustainable path if we have your support. This is devoid of politics. I am not playing politics here. The time of politicking has passed. You gave me your mandate and I am exercising it on your behalf. So, there is nothing to politick right now. Politicking will resume in 2022. So, anyone who wants to politick can wait a little bit to start with us again. But in the interim, we have a lot of challenges ahead of us to tackle and getting a solution to the crisis in LAUTECH is one of those challenges we must tackle.
“I want to solve the problem of ownership before putting a kobo of Oyo State money into this matter. But looking at all of you here, I cannot do that. Christmas is fast approaching and all of us want to go home to celebrate with our families and friends. I will release some money from Oyo State to LAUTECH but under a certain condition. Osun State government claimed it has released N250 million for LAUTECH. It is only the VC that can confirm that.
“Oyo State will be ready to release, at least, N500 million naira 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.
“Be of good cheer, weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning. For LAUTECH, joy is coming in the morning.”
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Michael Ologunde, who expressed delight that Governor 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.