By Monsuru Olowoopejo
The crisis rocking the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos, has deepened with the state Governor, Babatunde Fashola ordering the state Auditor General, Mrs. Helen Deile, to immediately vet the institution’s accounts.
Activities in the institution was completely paralysed on September 22, 2014, after aggrieved staff unions under the aegis of Representatives of AOCOED Joint Staff Union, RAJSU, locked the two entrances into the institution.
Three weeks after, the aggrieved staff unions stormed the Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, in a protest to express their displeasure over the issues that had been bedevilling the the institution.
Some of the issues raised by the striking workers were: unpaid 18 months salaries; non-payment of pensioners’ benefits for three years; non-remittance of 7.5 percent deducted from worker’s salary for 17 months into the Retirement Savings Account, RSA under the new pension scheme; over N150 million unremitted fund deducted from the co-operative funds; poor funding of the institution among others.
Vanguard gathered that Fashola was furious with the development in the college and how the aggrieved workers disrupted activities at the State House, Alausa inspite of the N2, 770, 407, 577 approved for the institution in the 2014 budget, as well as the over N1 billion realised through dedicated revenue specifically through the services the institution renders.
The letter dated October 31, 2014 and obtained by Vanguard titled “Request for audit of finances and debt of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Otto-Ijanikin,” with reference number SAE/HED/S.12/Vol.T/61, reads: “For some time, the management and staff Unions of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Otto-Ijanikin, have been embroiled in some controversies over the finances and debt of the college.
“The logjam has resulted in the locking of the college gates since September 22, 2014, crippling academic activities in the college. To resolve the controversies, I have the directives of His Excellency to request that you (Auditor General) conduct an immediate audit exercise of the finances and debt of the college. The accompanied report with his Excellency’s comments therein is for your perusal.”
According to a source in the office of the Auditor General, the audit team “is expected to check the subvention given to the institution and how it was spent. It is also to know if they are in tune with the extant laws and regulations guiding financial management practice of the state especially the institution.”
Another source told Vanguard that after the audit, there could be retrenchment of some staff over mismanagement of the college fund, adding that the lay-off was necessary as the institution had employed more than the stipulated standard of employment in college of education.
Why we demand audit-LASG
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the governor on Education, Otunba Fatai Olukoga said that the Auditor-General will assist the state government to investigate how they (AOCOED management) had spent the subvention released by the state government to them, adding that it will also help the government to uncover what the actual figure of their dedicated revenue was and how it was spent.
According to him, “Though I cannot say when they will come out with their findings because they have several books- account, dedicated revenue, personnel and others to audit.
“We give them N125 million monthly. First, what was their normal monthly salary? The audit team will check their personnel whether they have more than what they were expected to have or it conformed to the total staff strength they claim.
“Ideally, they were expected to have a workforce of ratio one to two. The latter is the lecturers while the former is the non-academic staff. But in some of these institutions, what one will find is amazing. The workforce is ratio three to two. The former is the non-academic staff while the latter is the lecturers. They need to look into their institution and look at how they could reduce their workforce,” said Olukoga.
Reacting, the Chairman, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, AOCOED chapter, Mr. Michael Avosetinyen, said “If the government believes that all the issues raised could be resolved first with the visit of the auditing team. That is well with us. We want the school reopened, so whatever the government feels that would help resolve the issues that is well with us. If the governor who appointed the Provost of the college said he wants to audit him, we believe he has his reasons. With this audit, a leeway will be provided for government to either increase the school’s subvention or do otherwise.”