FUNDLAUTECH: Observers’ OBSERVATION 

Lautech

On the 12th June 2017, a crowdfunding initiative was launched in Ibadan the capital of Oyo State by some ALUMNI MEMBERS.

The crowdfunding initiative was tagged #FundLautech. A website was put up which indicated that LAUTECH, Ogbomoso is in serious danger of going into extinction. The website shows that the institution is in need of a whopping N7 Billion to upset unpaid salaries, gratuities, running cost etc.

Though the initiators are looking at just mobilizing the sum of N1 Billion within 90 days to pay probably 2 months salaries in order to convince the staffs to resume.

From the day the crowdfunding initiative was launched, we’ve read so many articles for and against the idea. We’ve also told those who care to listen our honest position which we want to categorically share today.

The problem of how LAUTECH is to be funded did not just start today or last year. It is on record that this present crisis started since 2013 when the Governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola refused to release the subvention when it came to the turn of his state to pay.  Since then the institution has been finding it very difficult if not impossible to meet its obligations.

It’s almost a year now that the students have been shut out of the institution because of the lackadaisical attitude of the owner states. The staff members of the University have been deprived of their monthly income for almost nine months thereby causing their families untold and unnecessary hardships.

The students are permanently at the receiving end suffering for a sin they know nothing about. The implications of this crisis are just too enormous to mention.

#FundLautech: – Modus Operandi

The initiators of the #FundLautech stated that their main objective is to raise N1billion within 90 days through crowdfunding to offset the salaries of the staffs of the university for at least two months out of about nine months the owner states are owing them as earlier said above.

However, LAUTECH as we all know has a functional Alumni Association. The association has taken several keys steps in resolving the matter at hand. The role played by the association the last time the institution resumed in February is of no small measure but we cannot remember or recall at any of the association meetings (either NEC or EXCO) where the issue of #FundLautech was raised, discussed or approved as a solution to the pending crisis.

It then came as a surprise to see some individual members launch a crowdfunding initiative in the name of the Alumni without going through the appropriate channel.

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We called the National President immediately we saw the crowdfunding initiative on Facebook and other social media in the name of LAUTECH ALUMNI to inquire if he is the brain behind it and his answer was capital NO. Though, he said he was informed 3days before the launching but he is not a party to it. This clearly shows that this idea/initiative was conceived without the knowledge of National Executives of the association that binds us together.

It is worrisome to know that a project of this magnitude which should involve all Ladokites does not have the input the National body of the Alumni let alone state chapters that constitute the National Executive Council of the association.

It is interesting to note that the Exco Members of the association involved in this project are doing so in their personal capacities. This is evident by the absence of the National President or any of the Exco representing the National Body at the launching of this project.

One can definitely conclude that the Alumni Association wasn’t carried along in this project.

It’s just unfortunate the state in which Lautech is found today. None the less, it’s more pathetic that people will then take advantage of our predicament to manipulate and confuse people to donate into an unrealistic project.

Several questions are in dare need of answers from the initiators of this crowdfunding but just 2 will be posed to them now for clarification.

1. Who are the signatories to this account? As at today, we know the President of the Alumni is not a signatory, nor the Chairman of ASUU, SSANU or NASU as we are made to believe by the initiators.

2. Why Fidelity Bank? This is the same bank where the Team Leader of the group works. Who says this is not an opportunity for the Team Leader to meet the target given to him by the bank. Is this Transparency as they claimed? We challenge the initiators to paste copies of the account opening package within 24hrs to show the true signatories to this account.

We have also read updates by the initiators of the #FundLautech and discovered that most times they’ve resorted into soliciting for funds from the members of public including politicians (mostly opposition).

We strongly advise the initiators to kindly desist from dragging the name of the association into party politics because in the build up to the last general election in 2015, the association was approached by one of the political parties for support and the Alumni body was promised the sum of N300M.

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The National President wasted no time to reject the offer and said the association will not want to be involved in party politics. It later turned out that the fund been distributed at that time was an illegal one from the ARMS DEAL. We all can imagine how the integrity and reputation of the Association would have gone down the drain if the money had been collected as that time and the name of our esteemed association is been mentioned in the dailies to have collected out of the Dasukigate saga.

IIt is highly disturbing to now see some of our members soliciting funds from same politicians who presently sued by the EFCC. Where is the integrity embedded in our anthem? Must we because we are hungry dine with the devil? We’ve learnt that the initiators are planning to visit the ADELEKES in Ede for another round of FINE BARA to show support for a particular candidate contesting for the upcoming OSUN WEST SENATORIAL SEAT. How and when did we degenerate to this abysmal level? We urge all well-meaning Ladokites to prevail on the #FundLautech group to desist from this embarrassing act.

Sustainability of the #FundLautech

We can say it with every assurance that N50 Million cannot be raised in 3 months let alone N1 Billion then where lies the solution they are preaching? They have been going round to deceive parents and students of the intention to raise fund to pay salaries. Why should funds be solicited from the same parents who are been owed salaries by the same governors? Why should funds be solicited from the same parents who will bear the pains of increment in tuition fee when the students resume as proposed by the government?

Interestingly, they have changed the story now to endowment fund and ICT hub. It seems the initiators are ignorant of the fact that first of its kind “Institute of Software Engineering” has just been completed by Federal Government with well over N100M spent inside LAUTECH.

As the situation stands today, payment of two months salaries cannot even return the workers back to work.  Are the initiators aware that Lautech Management is still owing banks for salary payment? Obviously this crowdfunding approach is like chasing shadows and it surely can’t be a way out of the present crisis either short, medium or long term.

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Our greatest concern now is the silent position adopted by the National President of the Alumni who has refused to speak on this issue knowing fully well it is an exercise in futility and a waste of time.

Mr. President Sir, We are presently at a boiling point now and there is no need for you to sit on fence. Today, some set of people who claimed to be Lautech Students and members of the #FundLautech team were seen collecting money from market women in Ogbomoso. They are cajoling the women to support the initiative so that Lautech can be opened and their market sales can improve. We are sure that the money collected will go into private pocket and not even the account of the #FundLautech.

Sir, we want to know to your position and the position of the Alumni association as a body on this #FundLautech within the next 48hrs. If not we will take it to be that you are also part of those who want to also milk our little resources.

We once again appeal to the initiators of the crowdfunding to please stop making some lazy hands to get fat unnecessarily by collecting money from innocent people in the name of

#FundLautech.

We know that Lautech has produced the best brains when it comes to championing the rights of the students, labor, workers, artisans etc. So why can’t we join hands together and have a robust team of intellectuals to meet/appeal/discuss/negotiate  with the governors/school management/workers using every means at our disposal rather resulting to crowdfunding that will even make the co-owners more lazier in taking up their responsibilities.

We want the Alumni as a body to set up a committee comprising of well-meaning members to immediately see to the implementation of the recommendations of the visitation panel i.e.

1. The owner states should release funds as proposed by the panel in short, medium and long term.

2. The Unions on campus should please allow forensic audit to take place in order to know the true financial state of the institution.

3. The management should as matter of urgency be more creative in order to increase the IGR generated by the institution other than resorting to increase in tuition fees only.

God Bless LAUTECH.

Aare Olusola Bishopmoore                           Chairman, LAUTECH Alumni consultative forum

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