Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

LAUTECH: A Citadel Bedevilled With Crisis of Underfunding and Corruption

LAUTECH: A Citadel Bedevilled With Crisis of Underfunding and Corruption

The Task Before Students, Workers and Parents Towards a Permanent Solution

By Alawode Motunrayo DSM LAUTECH Branch

The academic activities in Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, have been on and off for the past three years, with students shut out of the campus for six months, sometimes more than that, at a stretch. The problem of poor funding of the institution by owner-states is responsible for the crisis bedevilling the institution. More specifically, the university is under locks because of the legitimate industrial actions of its staff who are demanding payment of arrears of allowances among other demands.

LAUTECH is owned jointly by the governments of Osun and Oyo States, who are expected to fund the institution jointly. It is therefore unfathomable that a university under the proprietorship of two States could be prostrated by lack of funding. Governments of Osun and Oyo should be blamed for the crisis. This understanding is crucial to the need to properly channel agitations and struggles for reopening of the university.

The point is that unless the capitalist policies of Ajimobi and Aregbesola governments of giving funding priority to gratification of political office holders is jettisoned for proper funding of public infrastructures and social services such as education and health care, there would always be pathetic development such as the LAUTECH crisis. Quite irresponsibly, the two governments appeared unruffled by the agitations by students and concerned members of the public over the crisis with both governments shifting responsibility or blaming others for the problem they jointly created.

However, students, workers and parents, including the general public seriously frown at the nonchalance of the authorities towards the destiny of thousands of students. Students of the university have organised several protests to draw particular attention to their problems. One of such protests in Ibadan went a great deal to expose the flagrant arrogance and insensitivity of the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who spent time casting aspersions on the protesting students than listening to their heart-felt plights. The students have also protested at Osun and Abuja, with the usual appeal for reopening of the university.

Currently, there is equally an appeal by the alumni of the university that members of the public should help fund LAUTECH. Clearly there is a show of readiness among those affected negatively to struggle for the reopening of the university. However, if the struggle for reopening of the university is not linked with the need for a consistent, proper funding of the university by the governments, any reopening would be short-lived as previous ones were. There must be a common understanding among students, parents, alumni and members of the public that it is only governments’ consistent effort of funding that can put the university back on its foot.

While the #FundLAUTECH appeal shows a passionate attitude among Alumni of the university, it is way behind finding a lasting solution to the crisis of the university. For example, if the amount generated is enough to offset the indebtedness of the university to her staff, could it be enough to forever fund the needs and obligations of the institution? So at this point, members of the public should be interested in finding a long lasting solution to the crisis bedevilling the institution.

The governments of Osun and Oyo are not immune to public agitations, as both governments understand the political cost of such crisis if left unresolved to their electoral chances as election year draws nearer in the two states. What is needed is an organised campaign that would pin the crisis on governments’ head, instead of concerned people taking responsibility for both states. Students and their parents need to get organised, and engage in media campaign and rallies to draw attention to governments’ irresponsibility. The striking staff of LAUTECH need to equally move out of their safe zone and debunk governments’ blackmails and reach out to the public with their demands and explain to them the legitimate justifications for their actions.

A properly channelled agitation for funding the university by governments and the democratic management of the university resources to involve elected representatives of workers and students is the only viable means to finding a lasting solution to the LAUTECH crisis.