Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) from both Lagos and Ibadan zones on Friday warned Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and his counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State not to “kill” the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, the institution they described as “the best state university in Nigeria”.
They gave this warning when they staged a peaceful protest across Ibadan, the Oyo State capital over what they termed, continuous neglect of the institution.
The protesters, who gathered at the headquarters of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Agodi Gate, carrying placards walked through Total Garden –UCH Road and terminated the protest at the Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi Ibadan where they delivered a letter of protest to the Oyo State Governor, Ajimobi.
The protesters were led by both the Ibadan and Lagos zonal leaders of the union.
They said in the placards: “Aregbe, Ajimobi, do not kill the best state University in Nigeria”, “What is Omoluabi in not funding education”, “Education is the heritage of Yoruba’s, do not kill Lautech”, ASUU Lagos Zone demands adequate funding for LAUTECH, Ogbomosho, and fund education in Nigeria”, “ASUU LAUTECH, Ogbomosho says LAUTECH must not be liquidated. Governors Ajimobi/Aregbesola, release funds to LAUTECH as advocated by Wole Olanipekun visitation panel” and “You are all products of free public education, do not destroy it.”
Others read, “Do not sacrifice LAUTECH for mushrooming Tech U”, “Oyo/Osun People, shine your eyes, LAUTECH must not die”, “KPMG did not recommend increase in tuition, stop taking education away from the reach of the masses”, “Aare Atunluse and Ogbeni, do not destroy public education”, “Do not sell LAUTECH. LAUTECH is not a commodity.”, “Support LAUTECH Governing Council by making funds available” and “Do not put the lives of 30,000 students of LAUTECH in jeopardy. Aregbesola, Ajimobi act fast”.
Speaking on the rationale behind the protest, ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan, Dr. Deji Omole said the protest was in support of the struggle embarked upon by the academic staff union of LAUTECH to get the university properly funded.
Omole said, “We realized that since the beginning of the administration of Aregbesola and Ajimobi, they have simply refused to fund the university. The university that used to be one of the best state universities in Nigeria is now groaning in pains of underfunding. And we view this as gross irresponsibility on the part of the owner states. We are here to register our protest to the way the university has been treated by Ajimobi and Aregbesola.”
The Ibadan Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Ade Adejumo said that the government insistence that the institution can survive on internally generated funds was the peak of irresponsibility, noting that LAUTECH as a public institution must be funded by public funds which were in the coffer of the government.
The Chief of Staff to Ajimobi, Dr. Gbade Ojo while receiving the protesters on behalf of the governor assured them of the commitment of the owner state governors.