By Adesina Wahab
THE seemingly intractable difference between Osun and Oyo states over the running of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso jointly owned by them was laid to rest last week following a successful arbitration of the matter by the National Universities Commission, NUC. The university was founded on April 23, 1990, by the old Oyo State Government before Osun State was carved out on August 27, 1991.
The joint ownership created so much trouble that at a time, a Vice-Chancellor of the university was unceremoniously removed. There was a period the school was closed for about a year. There were issues about funding and recruitment of staff. At a point, some people appealed to the Federal Government to take over the school. In terms of the physical structures, Ogbomoso in Oyo State houses the largest chunk. That situation also created some bottlenecks as to how to share the assets of the university.
The role of the NUC
After failed attempts by the two states to resolve the matter, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Raheed Abubakar, waded in with his team to join the committees set up by Oyo and Osun states. Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State had set up a committee headed by Professor Emeritus Olu Aina. His Oyo counterpart, Mr. Seyi Makinde, set up one headed by Prof. Ayodeji Omole. The tripartite committee swung into action after the NUC boss got assurances from Oyetola and Makinde of their support and readiness to abide by decisions that would be arrived at. The NUC intervention in the matter started in March this year and after about 11 months of work, a consensus was reached.
Evaluation of assets and liabilities
Commenting on the development, Prof. Aina said a diligent evaluation of the assets and liabilities of the university was done and that a forensic audit was ongoing and expressed satisfaction that no side lost out in the sharing process.
“The tripartite committee on the matter did a great job. The press briefing was done by the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, fully encapsulated everything. It was a mutual agreement between the two states and we are sure they are satisfied. A transition committee has been set up, it is for a year and they could work for less time. A sharing framework earlier agreed to was fair and there is going to be no winner or loser. It was equitable and fair and the states can tell their people that nobody was shortchanged,” he said.
On whether any of the states will compensate the other financially given the fact that facilities in LAUTECH might not be equally cited in the two states, Aina explained that the audit and other steps being taken would determine that.
On the possibility of Osun State setting up another university to take over the College of Health Sciences and the Teaching Hospital ceded to it, Aina said that was not in the picture as of now, as the state-owned Osun State University would make use of the facilities.
Corroborating Aina, Education Commissioner, Oladoyin Olayinka Folorunso, and the SA, Education, Olawumi Jamiu Babatunde, commended Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo, and Prof. Abubakar Rasheed of the NUC for the peaceful manner the matter was resolved.
For Mr. Niyi Ajayi who hails from Oyo State and whose son graduated from LAUTECH, kudos must be given to the governors of the two states for being able to resolve the crisis. “ My son who studied Mathematics at the university spent over seven years to complete his five-year course. There was a time the students were at home for over a year. I nearly regretted sending him there to study. Thank God the issue has been resolved amicably. I must specially thank the Osun State Governor and his people for being magnanimous.
“A cursory look at the locations of the facilities owned by the university shows that most of them fall in Oyo State, but still Osun played the role of a great brother. I pray that the university moves from strength to strength. I am happy about the new development,” he said.
For Pastor John Akinleye from Osun State, the peaceful resolution of the matter should be commended. “ It shows we can resolve our differences maturely. I must sincerely commend Governors Oyetola and Makinde. In spite of political differences, they showed maturity and that life is a matter of giving and take. Remember that even when the two states were governed by people in the same political party, no headway was made. Twice we had such instances when the same political party controlled the two states but the governors could not resolve the issue.
“I want to specially commend Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State and his team for their display of maturity and the need for one to be his brother’s keeper. Already, the two states have their own state universities and the facilities ceded to them would be handy for those universities to use,” he said.
Governors Oyetola and Makinde have also given the assurances that the jobs of the workers in LAUTECH main campus in Ogbomoso and the College of Health Sciences, Osogbo are assured irrespective of their states of origin. Also, since one good turn deserves another Makinde will visit Oyetola in appreciation of the peaceful resolution of the matter. Now, Oyo State can now take full charge of LAUTECH main campus in Ogbomoso and Osun in charge of the College.