As a way of rescuing and contributing their quota towards solving the funding problem rocking their alma mater, alumni associationof the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, has unveiled a grand plan to raise N1billion within 90 days.
At a press conference held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday, the agenda was unveiled by the Alumni under the name #Fundlautech team.
A website www.fundlautech.com, a hashtag #fundlautech, to raise awareness while the programme was streamed live to thousands of LAUTECH students and alumni worldwide, were created.
Dorning the “FundLautech” white and wine T-shirt, the alumni, who came from all parts of the country
maintained that the decision to embark on the project is to “enable the university to open while negotiations and auditing as recommended by the visitation panel can continue.”
The initiator of the #fundlautech team movement, Adebayo Adeyinka, is being supported by co-initiators; Tunde Ajayi-Ope, Dr Saheed Adetunbi, Ropo Egbeleke and Sola Kolawole.
The five members of the #fundlautech team donated N1million to kick start the donation at the event.
In a speech tagged “Alas, there was a University” read on behalf of the Alumni, Adebayo Adeyinka noted that their target is to raise N7billion from the public as an intervention to the university.
Narrating the scenario that eventually led to the composition of #fundlautech team, Adeyinka said “the day a lecturer friend of mine begged for N1,000 was the day I knew we could no longer fold our hands. Together with the #fundlautech team, we decided to do something. The easiest thing in the world is to do nothing but criticize. But we were determined to put our money where our mouth is.”
Speaking further, he said “the unveiling today is the result of that determination to contribute our quota towards solving this problem. After weeks of consultation and serious brainstorming, the initiators of the #FundLautech team decided to adopt the crowd funding model where alumni members and friends of Lautech can send in their donations. This donation will be used to pay the salaries and obligations of the staff of Lautech.
“Our aim is to raise N1billion within 90days. The current wage bill of Lautech is N350 million monthly. If we succeed in raising this sum from the general public, we would have a foot in the door which will enable the university open while negotiations and auditing as recommended by the visitation panel can continue.”
Adeyinka stated that “this is the first time a crowd funding of this magnitude is taking place in Nigeria. It is also unique that we are employing technology to save a University of Technology from extinction.”
He said “Our strategy is both short term and long term. Short term in the sense of getting the university opened very quickly so that academic work can resume in earnest. To achieve this, we shall also run a social media campaign called My LAUTECH story where those affected by the strike will shoot a 30 seconds video to highlight their predicament and post same on social media with the hash tag fundlautech. Our aim is to sustain the conversation around lautech both through the traditional and social media. Our long term strategy involves visits to high profile citizens in a bid to resolve this impasse once for all.”
Adeyinka further noted that the date for the launching of the project was carefully chosen to honour the memory of Chief MKO Abiola, who was the Chief Laucher in 1989 when a higher Education Appeal Fund realised the sum of N19million in cash and pledges, and donated the sum of N2,050,000 at the event held at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan.
He noted that the launch was to commemorate the memory of the annuled presidential election believed to have been won by the first chancellor of the University is to match on with his legacy.
This, Adeyinka, appealed to “all alumni members and friends and we’ll wishers to please contribute generously to this project. Your gifts will enable the students go back to school. Your gifts will save some jobs. Your gifts will help some people to move on in life. No amount is too small or too big to come to the aid of a once reputable university. Lautech must not die.”
Adeyinka however promised transparency and accountability in the management of the fund, adding that they have make arrangements of consortium of alumni will oversee the fund.
Speaking, he noted that “we are also engaging ASUU and SSANU to join us in managing the fund. We have made plans for a board comprising reputable citizens to also superintendent over the fund as a second level check. Daily updates will be given on the website www.fundlautech.com on amounts received.
“We do not pretend to have all the solutions to this problem. But we decided we will not sit on the fence either. We are tired of just being mere critics. We are not afraid of failing. We will rather try and fail than do nothing and succeed.”
Adeyinka, a former deputy speaker of Students Representatives of LAUTECH in 1995 revealed that the project already recorded a first donor in the person of Mr Ijaya Opeyemi Babatunde.
The team, then appealed to the current Chancellor of the University and the National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to wade in and not allow the legacy of the institution die during his tenure.
One of the contributors, Samson Owoyokun appealed to the visitors to stop pampering with their baby universities -Osun State University and Technical University, at the expense of LAUTECH.
He also called on some traditional rulers to use their influence to speak with the owner governors and the chancellor, Senator Tinubu to find a lasting solution around the imbroglio.