Despite the treasury single account policy which was put in place to promote transparency in government and its agencies, the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, jointly owned by Oyo and Osun governments, operates 97 different bank accounts in almost all the commercial banks in the country.
For long, especially in the last two years, the institution has been enmeshed in industrial due to the inability of the owner states to pay salary as and when due.
Like an ‘abiku’, workers unions in the university have been embarking on indefinite strike actions intermittently, to express their displeasure.
Only last week, the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, embarked on strike, following the inability of the owner states to honour the MoU signed before they disembarked on their more than 8-month industrial action.
Quoting the report of the visitation panel headed by legal luminary, Chief Wole Olanipekun, Oyo State education commissioner, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela revealed that majority of the banks have folded up due to either restructuring, merger or outright de-listment by the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that a total sum of N13.626 billion subventions, excluding Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) was released to the institution by the owner states between 2011-2016.
This is just as Olowofela, who was once a council boss, said that the position of the owner states demanding an external forensic audit of the institution in order to unravel the cause and proffer lasting solution to the incessant crisis that has continued to rock the institution, has been justified based on the report
Olowofela, who spoke while receiving Executive members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the state, disclosed that part of the recommendations of the visitation panel was that the accounts of the school and its workforce be audited.
Hear him: “We are not too comfortable with the accounting process or procedure of the institution, that is the least we can say now. Part of the recommendations of the visitation panel was that the accounts of the school must be audited; not only the accounts but the workforce too must also be audited such that we look at the best practices on how to run this particular institution. The bursary department still relies on analogue mode of operation, with its attendant challenges and risks”.
“When the government said you must have single account, the report of the visitation panel report shows they have many accounts. If you have many accounts, you have not been accused of any financial misdeeds, but we must know the truth so that at the end of the day, we will know whether something is wrong with the management, administration or the accounting process.
“The visitation panel observed that the university opened ninety-seven different bank accounts in almost all the commercial banks in the country. Some of the banks have closed shop, due to either restructuring, merger or outright de-listment by the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he submitted.
He reeled out the subvention given to the institution. “The subventions released to LAUTECH between 2011-2016 goes thus; Oyo state released 8,473,361,702.25, and Osun state contributed 5,153,047,345.74, totaling N13.626 Billion.
“Also, the students population is as follows : Undergraduate (Regular) – 27,457. Undergraduate (Part time ) – 1514. Postgraduate (Regular) – 2857. Postgraduate (Part-Time) 3054 . Open Distance Learning (ODL) 655. Total- 35,507 Students. Why is it difficult for LAUTECH to survive, while institutions with less students’ population are surviving?”.
“We must ascertain whether the government needs to jerk up the subvention or whether government needs to remove the subvention completely. We must know so that we will be acting based on facts. But what are we observing now, people are moving from one quarter to the other raising emotions “, Olowofela added.
Appealing to the labour unions of the institution to give peace a chance, he, however assured that “We are getting closer to the solution than to the problem. If we have an enabling atmosphere such that the audit firm is able to do the job there, the two governments will comply with the recommendations. The audit firm must submit its report within the next three weeks. But it appears as if some people want to truncate the exercise. I am appealing to the workers to give peace a chance”, he urged.