The Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso chapter of the Association Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has berated the government of Osun for describing its members as ‘internal enemies’.
It would be recalled that Osun, through its information commissioner, Adelani Baderinwa, had urged the public to prevail on the management and staff of LAUTECH) to be open and sincere in the bid to end the lingering crisis rocking the university.
In the statement, the state government said it was doing everything to resolve the crisis and ensure quick resumption, “notwithstanding the selfish politics being played by some people, management union and staff of the institution.”
But ASUU, reacting through a statement signed its chairman and secretary, Dr ‘Biodun Olaniran and Dr ‘Toyin Abegunrin respectively, stated that the government erred by “tagging workers who have not received salaries for nine months as “internal enemies” of the University by the handpicked surrogates of government is demeaning. Our Union wonders the credentials that these proxies parade either in public or private practice to warrant the insults that they spill on intellectuals.”
The union added that ”While our Union is committed to accountability, such exercise must be carried out in line with the dictates of University edict, which empowers only the Governing Council to audit the accounts of the University and not the visitors.
“However, issues of operation of accounts and management of funds are activities of both management and the Governing Council, who were appointed by the owner states. Therefore, queries on infractions on multiplicity of accounts, redundancy of accounts, extermination of ventures and insinuated mismanagement of funds should be directed to Council and management. If the owner states cannot ask them questions; it is either they are acting in mischief or conniving together to destroy LAUTECH. Thus, the traumatized workers should be spared from insults of being classified as “thieves”. While the Olanipekun-led Visitation Panel recommended auditing of the University accounts and personnel, it does not specify that the University should be closed down while doing that, rather, it recommended an immediate payment of N 1.78 bn by the owner states.
“It has become a lame exercise for the governments to hurriedly compare LAUTECH with UNIOSUN on sustainability. Worldwide, we do not know those universities that are self-sufficient on tuition fees. At the moment, UNIOSUN that has about 20 Professors has cried out loudly that it cannot survive without subvention, yet the government keeps telling lies about this. To be specific, what is the wage bill of UNIOSUN compared to monthly bill of N365 million in LAUTECH? Is there a single retiree at UNIOSUN as compared to LAUTECH? The tuition regime at UNIOSUN revolves around N100, 000-140,000:00, while it is flat rate of N65,000:00 in LAUTECH. Even at that, the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) was used to pay salaries for 18 months in LAUTECH, which the agents of governments are always silent to mention. The postgraduate fees being quoted by governments are products of falsehood.
“In the Olanipekun’s report, the indebtedness of the states to the University, as at then, were succinctly captured (N 7.15 b), and it was recommended that they pay the debts, so that the University can resume academic work. To our amazement, the recommendation is being jettisoned in favour of the audit exercise. If not for the ASUU-motivated interventions of Tetfund and NEEDS assessment, the University has not received a kobo as capital grants from the two owner states since the administration of the two present visitors. If the owner states cannot meet the wage bill of the University nor provide capital grants for the development of the University; they should be bold to declare insolvency at running LAUTECH, so that Federal Government (FG) that has invested heavily in the University can take it over in the overall interest of the public.
“On the ownership of the University, the position of our Union is very clear as dictated by the edict of the University, and so we should not be dragged into misgivings about the ownership.
“The University has been accused of not showing any research output, despite funding from FG; this is a far cry from the realities on ground as evidences abound about the modest achievements of staff, students and graduates of the University despite the challenges. We do not know the data that were evaluated to arrive at this jaundiced conclusion by the government because LAUTECH community has been recipient of several national and international awards and recognitions. Even in their governments, some of those that were trained in LAUTECH are active players, whom we call upon to use their positions in the interests of their alma mater.
“In conclusion, it would be appropriate for the owner states to face the task of nation-building by releasing fund to the University, and desist from acts that are capable of putting lives of staff, 30,000 students and their parents in jeopardy. The good people of Oyo and Osun States, South west and indeed Nigeria are called upon to prevail on the owner states to do the right thing by funding LAUTECH adequately. It is appalling that we are yet to see the impact of the Chancellor of the University, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in resolution of the current crisis.”
The union said that the ”fruitless media war and misrepresentation of facts by the agents of government in Osun State on the current crisis rocking the University have failed,” adding that the “the calculated attempts to discredit the University community by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Adelani Baderinwa are also not lost on us.”