Clamour for the sole ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, by the Oyo State government revved up on Thursday, as the state House of Assembly demanded a review of the Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) affirming joint ownership of LAUTECH by the Oyo and Osun state governments.The Assembly deliberating on a motion, anchored by Honourable Wumi Oladeji of Ogbomoso North constituency, entitled: “Reviewing the Joint Ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology: A State Towards Sole Ownership by Oyo State Government”, argued that sole ownership of the university had become imperative to save the institution from total collapse.
The motion decried the inability of the Osun state government to fulfil its own side of financial obligation as regards payment of staff salaries and infrastructural development for about 15 months, and its attendant poor funding and poor infrastructure, therefore calling for the round table discussion between the two state governments to deliberate on the issues bedevilling the university.
Among other problems identified were the fact that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the university meant for the payment of gratuity, pension of retirees and developmental projects in the university was used to defray the payment of staff salaries.
Oladeji argued that the Oyo state government with sustained effort in improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the university was capable of solely running the university.
Noting the Oyo state government had continued to strive to fulfil its financial obligation, as contained in the agreement, Oladeji prayed that Osun state government hands off the running of the university to allow Oyo state solely manage the institution.
In his contribution, Honourable Muideen Olagunju, Oyo East/Oyo West constituency, pointed out that the time was appropriate to utilize political solution to resolve the problem considering that governors of the two states and chancellor of the university were members of the same political party.
Also, Honourable Olusegun Ajanaku, Ibadan South West II constituency, called for cooperation and understanding among the principals of the two states for a consensus to be reached in the interest of the people that the institution serves.
Honourable Olukayode Akande, Ogbomoso South Constituency and Honourable Gbenga Oyekola, Atiba constituency harped on the need to revisit the memorandum of understanding that was signed by the two state governments.
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honourable Micheal Adeyemo had intimated members of the Assembly of the existing Memorandum of Understanding on ownership of LAUTECH dated 23rd October, 2010 which stipulated, in part that, “Whereas at the instance of the government of Oyo state, both parties, joint owners and properties of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, its subsidiaries and associated institutions, have decided to terminate their joint ownership and management of the university and share its assets and liabilities.”
The Assembly, consequently, resolved to invite officials of the Ministry of Justice led by State Attorney General, Mr Oluseun Abimbola, and officials of the Ministry of Education to appear at next Tuesday’s plenary to disclose the status of the subsisting case in court on ownership of the institution.
In the same vein, the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, in an open letter described the joint ownership of LAUTECH as a failed experiment, calling for the sole ownership of the institution by the Oyo state government.
The letter partly read, “The joint ownership has become synonymous with incessant closure, underfunding and growth retardation, the two owner states now shortchange each other with reckless impunity. The resolution to jointly own and fund the institution has proven to be an error, considering the unfolding events. Clearly, the status of joint ownership has perpetually bred a corrosive distrust, a constant spar for breakdown of inter-governmental relationships and incessant conflicts.”
“Osun state has defaulted unrepentantly to redeem her financial obligations to the university for over fifteen months now. In sincerity, what this portends is that the financial burden of running two state-owned universities has become too heavy a load for the Osun state government. Interestingly, however, while Osun state is evading her financial responsibilities to LAUTECH, she continues to nurture her baby, UNIOSUN.”
“I suggest that Osun state should channel her resources to building UNIOSUN to an enviable height while Oyo state is given the grace to solely own LAUTECH.”