We’ll be sole owners — Oyo govt
Oyo should follow due process – Osun govt“
By Dapo Akinrefon & Shina Abubakar
LAGOS– THE governments of Oyo and Osun States are gradually heading for a public showdown over their shares of the funding of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso.
The university was established before Osun was excised from Oyo State in 1991 and has remained under the joint ownership of the two sister states.“But the school has routinely had its academic calendar disrupted by workers’ strike over non-payment of salaries and allowances, arising from poor funding by the owner states.“Student bodies and members of staff of the institution have embarked on countless protests over the inability of the owner states to fund the institution.“ “Genesis of crisis“The ownership and funding crisis first rocked the university in 2010 during the administration of Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Alao Akala.
Incidentally, Akala is an indigene of Ogbomoso. “It, however, led to a legal tussle that was taken to the Supreme Court for adjudication. “The Akala led administration had earlier issued a gazette in favour of sole ownership of the institution. “It reads in part: “The gazette marked 09 and Vol. 36. Sections 26 of the amended law stated that “rules, convention or practice in existence in respect of the joint ownership of the university are hereby revoked and shall cease to have validity or force of law with effect from December 31, 2010.” Section 27 stated that “the university is deemed to be solely owned by Oyo State as from December 31, 2010.“ “Supreme Court ruling“But the Supreme Court judgment delivered on December 26, 2012, following a suit filed by the former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, upheld the joint ownership of the university. The apex court ruled that Oyo cannot unilaterally lay claim to sole ownership of the institution. “The emergence of Governor Abiola Ajimobi eventually put an end to the issue as the two APC governments, at the time, reached a truce on the matter.“ “Crisis escalates“However, as soon as Governor Seyi Makinde was inaugurated in Oyo, the crisis was escalated, but this time from a different perspective, as governments, groups, unions and indigenes from the two owner states played blame games, faulting one another on the financial contributions of each.“Oyo Govt considers take over“But the Oyo State Government said it is considering the option of taking over the administration of the crisis-ridden institution.“The Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Dahud Sangodoyin said it is exploring avenues to take over the sole ownership of LAUTECH soon.“The commissioner gave the hint when staff members of LAUTECH of Oyo State origin, embarked on a protest to Oyo governor’s office to demand that Oyo severs from Osun in joint ownership of LAUTECH.
“Affirming the resolve of the state government, he disclosed that while Oyo State government owed about N4billion, he said this was lesser than Osun State which owed about N7billion.“Sangodoyin said “We know that the two states are owing but ours is lesser. This year, we have paid our dues to LAUTECH. Everybody around the world knows that the institution serves clinical and teaching purposes, but if they (Osun) are neglecting the teaching aspect over time, the whole system will collapse.”“ Osun govt reacts“ However, the statement did not go down well with the Osun State government as it insisted that there is an existing judgement on how to go about it.“The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, Mr. Ismail Omipidan said the state governor is always willing to sit at a round table to discuss the way forward for the institutions.
“Omipidan said: “We have read in the papers, a government official in Oyo State, disclosing its readiness to take over the school, well, there is an edict that established the university, if they are ready to take it, they should follow it.“”Besides, there is a Supreme Court judgment and it was very clear on the issue of joint ownership and no single partner can take a unilateral decision without the other party’s consent. It also lay the procedure to enforce a divorce, so if they want a divorce, they should follow the due process in line with the Edict establishing the university and the judgement of the Apex Court.”“He queried the decision that Osun is owing in terms of funding the school, saying from 2013 to date, there is no way Oyo could have paid more to LAUTECH than Osun especially after the rotational funding arrangement collapsed in 2013.“He said: “From 2013 till date there is no way Oyo could have pay more than Osun, because since the rotational arrangement, that when Osun is funding the University in Ogbomoso, Oyo would be funding the Teaching Hospital in Osogbo for six months and vice versa, however, since 2013, when Oyo stopped, that arrangement was no longer tenable. “”But to show how committed and responsible we are, apart from paying, religiously, the worker’s salary at the teaching hospital, we still contribute to the funding of the university. For instance, apart from paying the worker at the teaching hospital from January to June this year, we have contributed to the funding of the university in Ogbomoso and there is no record anywhere to show that Oyo has paid a dime to the teaching hospital this year.”“He, however, blamed the Oyo State government for claiming to fund a teaching hospital in Ogbomoso which is alien to the law establishing the university. “He also challenged the Oyo state government to show the world where the two owner states agreed on building another teaching hospital in Ogbomoso, saying funding such hospital is tantamount to not discharging its constitutional responsibility to the agreement.
The law establishing LAUTECH stated clearly that it shall run two campuses the University in Ogbomoso and the teaching hospital in Osogbo. “These are the only properties jointly owned. If any of the states is adding any other thing, it is doing that on its own, because the Supreme Court has clarified that no one can take a unilateral decision”, he added.“According to him, the commitment of Osun to regional integration boosted its patients over the LAUTECH arrangement; otherwise, the six and a half faculties in Oyo, against half in Osun, ought to have been a source of complaints by its people.