Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has announced the approval of N500 million subvention to LAUTECH to address the demands of its workforce.
Makinde, who announced the decision while speaking at a consultative meeting with stakeholders at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, said that in 2020, Oyo State would devote 20 per cent of its budget to education.
He stated that the only condition his government would give the university was that stakeholders in the school must submit a written agreement to his office on how the funds would be disbursed.
According to the Governor, the visit to the University, which has been enmeshed in labour crisis over its joint ownership, was with a view to seeing things first-hand and ascertaining the situation in the institution, ahead of the inauguration of the Oyo State’s committee on the ownership crisis.
Makinde maintained that he would inaugurate the Oyo State’s committee, which will work with its Osun State counterpart on how to resolve the University’s crisis, noting that in line with his promise during the electioneering period, his government would find a lasting solution to the LAUTECH crisis.
He stated that he remained committed to his promise that the University would be adequately funded and that its academic calendar would become regular and definite, said there had been challenges to the realization of the promise because the institution was jointly owned.
The Governor, however, maintained that though the issue of joint ownership has muddled things up, the aspiration of his government remained that LAUTECH would be counted among the best in the world, urging people not exercise fears over their jobs or what would become of them, as he assured that Oyo and Osun states would resolve the matter as brothers.
“I will always listen to you as I have just done. The reason government exists is to enable the people to benefit from the dividends of democracy. On the issue of joint ownership of LAUTECH, there is no family in Oyo State that does not have a linkage with Osun State.
“We were all of Oyo State before. I have appealed to the management of this institution that we should not go towards xenophobic issues. We are brothers and sisters with those in Osun.
“My wish for LAUTECH is to compete with the best of institutions in the world. To do that, wherever we can get the best hand, either Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, we don’t mind. Even, experts will still come into a lecture in this school. So, please let us push aside the issue of Osun and Oyo. Everybody that is working here, irrespective of where you came from, it is the duty of the government to ensure you have job security and get your salary as at when due.
“On the 25th of every month, which is the GSM date in Oyo State, they receive their salaries. And very soon, it will be the same for LAUTECH. From ASUU to SSANU, to NASU, we will resolve the issues.
“I listened to NASU, ASUU and other trade unions and learnt that they are owing you salary. I can conveniently claim that I have only been here for almost six months now and that the money you are owed was before my time but I am not one to shy away from responsibilities. We are taking full responsibility for all the things that have happened in the past but we have to chart a sustainable way forward.
“I listened to the Vice-Chancellor while speaking and learned that all the money they are owing you is about N6.07bn. It is a lot easier to spend N6bn to establish a new university for Oyo State. Yes, we can do it. Some other people did it. You have heard about Technical University in Ibadan but we are not going to trail that path. For the people of Ogbomosho, LAUTECH is our own Cambridge. It is our own Oxford. It is at the arch of the economy of Ogbomosho and, by extension, Oyo State.
“The VC has read to us so many achievements from this University but now, we are asking the lecturers and the non-academic workers to deliver on empty stomach. And that is because, in the past, two elephants were fighting but who are those suffering? The people are the ones suffering. But thank God that we are not elephants. But they say ‘a dog that has followers can kill a monkey’. With your support, we will find a lasting solution to the issue of LAUTECH.
“When we got into government, we met a budget that was signed into law by the previous administration. We saw that the budget was not realistic. So, from the N285bn that was appropriated, we took out over N100bn because there was no way we could get that money. As of the time we took over, the revenue performance was at about 30 per cent. So, we shaved it off and we have lived with that budget till now,” he said.