By MABEL ADERONKE
Osun Development Association: a body of educated elites of Osun State, has appealed to the State of Osun and Oyo to come to a round table to resolve the lingering crisis that has plagued Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and stalled the progress of academic activities of students for sometime now.
This appeal was made by both the Chairman of the Resolution Committee for LAUTECH, Professor Olu Aina; and the Secretary-General of Osun Development Association, Dr. Olatunde Aworanti, during a Press briefing at Professor Olu Aina’s residence in Osogbo on Sunday, 16th February 2020.
The Institution, which is jointly owned and funded by Osun and Oyo for 29 years, has faced many challenges since its inception and the problem has lingered till date.
Dr Aworanti appealed to Governors of the State of Osun and Oyo to resolve the lingering crisis for posterity sake and for the sustained development of academic programs in the institution. In his own words, “the States have to come to a round table as a form of way forward on either to go their separate ways or to continue to jointly own the institution.”
Dr Aworanti further averted that “this ‘marriage’ started 29 years ago and both States have contributed immensely to the development of LAUTECH, and even after the creation of Osun State, we see our Oyo State counterparts as our brothers and sisters, and the love radiates among us because we belong to the old western state. We don’t want our children who belong to this institution to continue to suffer.”
He therefore concluded that “the understanding that existed between both States should not be jettisoned and we want to appeal that both States should come together and resolve amicably this crisis that has lingered for a long period of time. We have made frantic efforts to get the two Governors over the years, and Osun has agreed to a round table discussion.
Prof Olu Aina, after giving some background information about LAUTECH, appealed that both States should continue with the progress LAUTECH has been making that made it the best ranked State University in the Country after only a few years of existence.
Speaking about his personal stake in the matter, Professor Olu Aina said: “My association with the University predates the existence of the University itself and the University has been faced with problems ranging from the name, financials, management problems and ownership. The Univeristy actually belonged to the people of the old Western Region which included States beyond Oyo and Osun.”
Providing further details about the state of the Institution, Professor Aina mentioned that “The Supreme Court had ruled that the Institution be jointly owned by both States on equal levels to ensure peace and equity. The agreement that emanated by the Committee then was to share the Assets and Liabilities equally and the agreement was witnessed by the Attorney-Generals of both States. It is the only law that has remained and governed the existence of the School till date and that cannot be whisked away just like that.”
According to him, “The university has produced scholars and many professionals who have contributed to the development of the two States and these are the things that should bring us together, and not resolution of crisis. No doubt, there has been lopsidedness in the development of the institution and this has left its own problems.
There has been an understanding by both Governors when the School was once closed, to re-inject some funds on a 50-50 basis for the University to re-open and a 10-man committee (five from each State) was set up to rejig the university and look into the problems facing the Institution. Essentially, ownership is the major problem.”
In his concluding remark, Professor Aina said that “Osun will not object to any separation but a round table discussion is necessary to discuss the terms. The interest of the students, staff and those who toiled for the University over the years should be considered and Osun is concerned about this. Osun is ready to sit with Oyo for productive discussions to seal an understanding, be it separation or joint ownership. We therefore appeal that both States should come to a round table to as a form of way forward.”