House of Assembly Oyo State has appealed to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and his Osun State counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola, to negotiate with the striking workers of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. This followed the submission of a report by the state Commissioner for Justice, Oluseun Abimbola, and his Education counterpart, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela, on the LAUTECH crisis.
The House had on September 27 ordered the two commissioners to appear before it to clarify the grey areas on the ownership status of the university. Abimbola, while presenting the reports, said that the two states had on Wednesday reached an agreement to maintain status quo over ownership of the institution, and affirmed their commitment to its funding.
Abimbola said: “After the meeting co-chaired by the two governors and attended by their deputies and senior officials from the two states, a communique was issued, a copy of which we are presenting to the house.
“The communique, which reads in part, restates the commitment of the two governments to moving the institution forward.
“They also agreed to an irrevocable commitment to the institution.
“The meeting also agreed on the necessity for a comprehensive restructuring of the institution.
“This is to ensure fair and effective development and distribution of academic resources, physical structures and other assets of the university.”
Abimbola said further that the two governors also appealed to the striking workers to resume academic activities, while amicable solutions were being worked out.
The lawmakers, in their reactions, said that the communique and agreement of the two governors did not address the real issue that led to the industrial action. In her contributions, Olawunmi Oladeji said that the indifference of Osun governor caused the crisis in the institution.
Oldeji said: “The apathy exhibited by Governor Aregbesola crippled the smooth running of academic activities in the institution.
“How can a state government that claim to lack revenue, have the fund to build six mega schools when each cost about N1.3 billion?
“We should all know that an injustice to one is injustice to all, and we are writing our own history; posterity will judge us all.”
Also, Olusegun Olaleye said that the issue of non-payment of workers’ salaries and funding of the institution was not addressed by the governors.
Olleye said: “This communique only portrays a long-term goal, not how the issue of non-payment of salaries and funding would be addressed.
“This is what is more urgent so that the workers can suspend the strike and students can be recalled; education of these students should not be jeopardized.”
Fatai Adesina said that the communique did not state how the two state governments intended to resolve the issue of 15 months outstanding salaries owed the workers.
Adesin said: “We want to see how this can be resolved so as to ensure the immediate resumption, not some long-term solutions.
“Obviously, the decision reached is as a result of the friendship between the two governors and that they also belonged to the same political party.”
In his remarks, the Speaker, Michael Adeyemo, said that the union leaders in the institution should be included in the panel being proposed by the two state governments. LAUTECH had remained closed since June 13 following series of protests by students and industrial action by the unions in the institution.