The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH branch, has again refuted claims by the Osun State Government that the staff and management of the institution were responsible for the delay in resolving the financial crisis of the school.
In a statement on Sunday, the union said the government was misrepresenting facts regarding the crisis rocking the institution.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Adelani Baderinwa, had on Sunday said the government was concerned about the plight of the students of the institution, but that certain elements within the institution were hindering progress.
“Right-thinking members of the society should please prevail on LAUTECH management and staff to allow owner governments to do the right thing – proper auditing which invariably will ensure proper running of the institution and make it responsive to the essence of its establishment,” he said.
The commissioner also alleged serious mismanagement of funds by the management of the institution, saying the institution ought to be self-sustaining owing to its viability.
But ASUU said the allegation was a calculated attempt to discredit the university community.
A statement signed by its branch chairman, Biodun Olaniran, and Secretary, Toyin Abegurin, noted that it was demeaning for the commissioner to tag workers who had not received salaries for nine months as “internal enemies” of the university.
“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,” ASUU said.
“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 billion by the owner states.”
The union further argued that it had 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,” it further submitted.
“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.”
The union said the Olanipekun’s report stated the indebtedness of the states to the University, as at then, as N7.15billion, recommending that the debts be paid so that the University could resume academic work.
“To our amazement, the recommendation is being jettisoned in favour of the audit exercise,” it said.
“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 allegation that the University had not shown any research output, despite funding from the Federal Government, the union said it was a far cry from realities 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,” ASUU noted.
“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.”
The union called on the people of Oyo and Osun States, South west and the entire nation 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,” it added.
The Osun State commissioner had earlier stated that only a proper audit of the university could reveal the true state of affairs and determine the extent of intervention from the state’s.