The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria has threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action if the crisis rocking the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology not urgently addressed.
The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, issue the threat in Osogbo, Osun State capital, during a peaceful protest and press conference to create public awareness to the plight of the premier university of technology in Nigeria.
ASUU is currently observing a two-week warning strike to give an opportunity to Governors Ajumobi and Aregbesola to do the needful and save the institution from what it called an imminent collapse from financial abandonment.
University lecturers carried placards with various inscriptions as “Oyo/Osun, Don’t Play Politics with the Lives of Our Students, “Aregbesola/Ajimobi, Do Not Kill the Best State University in Nigeria, “Ajimobi and Aregbesola Haba! Must LAUTECH Die? among others.
Prof Ogunyemi said two governments, led by Governors Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State should as a matter of urgency, allocate proper funding to save the university that is already on the brinks of collapse.
The president who was represented by the Akure Zonal Coordinator, Dr Alex Odiyi at the occasion said the development in the institution has been hampered by outright neglect by the two owner states.
He alleged that the concerned governors have reneged on the Memorandum of Agreement signed with the union before the last strike was called off.
“Apart from non-payment of salaries and arrears, the two State Governors, Rauf Aregbesola and Abiola Ajimobi, have also refused to fund the university. We all know how former Governors of Osun and Oyo have sustained the university, but it is unfortunate that the present governors have allowed things to degenerate to this level,” he said.
The Coordinator of Benin Zone of ASUU, Prof. Fred Esumeh, remarked that education was gradually going down the drain, saying “politicians are planning to commercialise the University. We will strike and hope that the Nigeria populace will join us”.
He expressed displeasure at the ‘intentional neglect’ of the sector by the relevant authorities, maintaining that, what is being witnessed in the country is a crass misplacement of priorities.
“Our leaders have brutally neglected LAUTECH. It is rather pathetic because their action betrays the saying that, ‘two heads are better than one’.
“If each of the states could run separate universities successfully, how come they are finding it difficult to run LAUTECH.
“What they must know is that without universities, there won’t be engineers, lawyers, doctors, lecturers and other professionals.
“The governors must also realise they are not just there to answer the name, Governor or Visitor.
“LAUTECH must be funded so it can achieve its objectives by producing graduates who will be useful to Nigeria and the entire world,” Ezumeh said.
He noted that the protests, which were simultaneously organised in Osun and Oyo States to compel the two owner-states to wake up to their duties were part of the holistic plan to enforce them to do the needful.
Esumeh advised that contrary to the call for the Federal Government to take over the school, ASUU’s stand has been that LAUTECH was set up because the owners felt they could run the university in the first instance.
He said in the worse case scenario, they could borrow the template of the old Bendel State University which was taken over by one of the two states.
Coordinators and chairpersons of branches (universities) across Southwest Nigeria including FUTA, UNIBEN, FUOYE, OAU, UNIOSUN, AAU, EKSU were part of both the press conference and the peaceful protest.