Says Ownership Crisis Is Politically-motivated
The Secretary-General, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, has said that the lingering ownership crisis rocking the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) was caused by political differences between Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State and Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State.
According to Professor Okojie, the unfolding events in the institution have shown that the tango between Oyinlola and Alao-Akala over the ownership of the LAUTECH has political undertones, which, he said, was not in the interest of thousands of students of the institutions.
He said the NUC could not sit by and watch while the fate of thousands of students and workers of the institution is hanging in the balance.
Professor Okojie stated this on Tuesday during the inauguration of a seven-man transition committee set up by the NUC to investigate the crisis and take control of both academic and financial dealings of the institution, which was aired by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) at the 9:00pm Network news.
He added that the committee, which has three months to complete his mission and submit its report and recommendations, would also handle the assets of LAUTECH, adding that the committee would run the affairs of the institution without fear or favour to either of the states.
He said the decision followed the inability of the governments of Osun and Oyo states, the joint owners of the institution, to end the lingering ownership of the institution.
The committee, which was chaired by a Director of NUC, Professor Chinedu Mafiana, is expected to contain details of the assets and liabilities of the institution to enable stakeholders take decision on the fate of the institution.
The Federal Government had on September 3, dissolved the governing council of the university, following the expiration of a deadline given to the two states to resolve the dispute.
The NUC had earlier threatened to revoke the operational licence of the institution when the crisis crippled academic activities of the institution, before the commission later took control of it and set up the committee
During the period of the transition committee, the roles of visitors to the university and vice-chancellors shall be suspended, while the institution would retain the present admission quota for both Osun and Oyo states in the 2010 and 2011 admission session.
The crisis started in 2009 when Alao-Akala wrote Oyinlola on his state’s decision to jettison the joint ownership of LAUTECH, a decision that Oyinlola and Osun State House of Assembly rejected on the grounds that the institution is the inheritance that tied the two states together.
When it was apparent that Oyinlola was not ready to assent to the decision of Oyo State, Alao-Akala singled-handedly removed the LAUTECH Vice Chancellor, Professor Benjamin Adeleke and appointed an Oyo State indigene, Professor Moshood Nassir as the new V-C of the institution.
The Oyo State governor had also directed the indigenes of the state, who are working in the institution’s Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State capital, to abandon their duty posts and come to their state before he was prevailed upon.
All effort to settle the face-off between Oyinlola and Alao-Akala over the ownership of the LAUTECH by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, proved abortive as the two governors failed to reach a compromise on the lingering crisis.
By ismail usman