LADOKE AKINTOLA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, OGBOMOSO
JOINT ACTION CONGRESS OF (SSANU, NAAT & NASU)
LAUTECH STRUGGLE: a cry before the sunrise
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) LAUTECH Chapter, write to use this medium to inform and notify the well-meaning people of Oyo and Osun States and Nigeria in general the true state of our University – LAUTECH and to intimate you of the looming industrial action in the University if concerted efforts from all the stakeholders in the University is absent. This is as a result of non-challant attitude of the two owner states governments in meeting their financial responsibilities to the University in terms of payment of subventions for both recurrent and Capital Expenditure.
The Joint Action Committee is alerting the public to share with the University the correct state of things despite the cheap propaganda of the two governments on the happening in the campus.
Our Unions suspended the protracted industrial action of almost 16 months on 23rd October 2017 after series of interventions from all well-meaning people of Oyo and Osun states and Nigeria in general.
The new Governing Council chaired by Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, the former Head of Service of Federation, had several meetings with the Unions which resulted into writing of Memorandum of Action (MOA) jointly signed by the Chairman Governing Council, the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar and the three Chairmen of SSANU, NAAT and NASU on October 13, 2017.
The Memorandum of Action (MoA) among other things provided a template for the University and the Unions to come out of the Industrial crisis that lasted almost a year and a half. It was on this premise that the strike action was suspended on October 23, 2017, for the terms and conditions agreed upon in the MoA could be affected and for the University Academic Calendar to kick-start in earnest.
By the time the Unions convened the Congress to review the industrial action which was later suspended, the staff salaries arrears were thirteen (13) months in arrears: August, September, October, November and December 2016 and March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October 2017. The Governing Council approved the payment of three months of September and October 2017 with an advance salary of November 2017.
Based on the payment of the three (3) months salaries, the Unions suspended their industrial action and Academic and Administrative activities resumed immediately. The Unions took this decision relying on the CAVEAT in the “Memorandum of Action” duly entered with the Governing Council and Management that “in the event of any breach of this Memorandum, the Unions will be at liberty to take any legitimate action that it deems fit to redress the breach”.
However, it was not too long before the terms in the Memorandum of Action began to be breached by the Governing Council and the Management. The Unions observed and wrote some letters to them to fulfil their part of the Memorandum but all to no avail.
Meanwhile, the breach of the agreement was connected to the fact that the two owner states governments overtly and covertly abandoned and reneged to resume their statutory responsibility of payment of recurrent and capital project subventions to the University which culminated into the non-payment of salaries arrears of ten months salaries, promotion arrears and other emoluments. There has been no singular infrastructural development on campus sponsored by the present administrations in Oyo and Osun States since their assumption into the offices.
It would interest the public to know that the two owner state governments did not pay a dime to execute the re-accreditation of all academic courses in the University; even a private proprietor will not play politics with that. This is to let the public know the degree of decadence in attending to their statutory responsibilities to the University.
In view of the precarious and degrading situation of members of our Unions, and the non-challant attitudes of the governors and helpless positions of the Governing Council, our Unions at a Joint Action Congress resolved and issue the Management a fourteen (14) day ultimatum within which our demands must be met and at the expiration of the ultimatum, the Unions may not have other option than to embark on industrial action.
The said fourteen (14) day ultimatum expired on Tuesday, 31st July 2018 while the JAC held its congress to evaluate the response of the Management. The Congress unanimously resolved to embark on three (3) day warning strike with effect from Wednesday, 1st August 2018 and to resume for review of their action on Monday, 6th August 2018.
There are several fundamental questions to ask these two State Governors on their attitude towards the survival of the University that was established twenty-eight (28) years ago for the children of the masses in Oyo and Osun States.
Recall that, the same government propagated some time ago that, the University accounting records were porous and untidy that needed to be forensically audited by the almighty KPMG. Today, the most celebrated auditing of both accounts and personnel had been carried out by the KPMG. Don’t the public need to ask the government the result and report of the said audit and the recommendations of KPMG? The result and reports are yet to be known because the External Auditors discovered that the University can only survive by adequate and proper funding from the two owner States governments for both personnel and capital project.
Furthermore, the issue of the allegation that the University was operating 97 accounts were found to be imaginary and a mirage in the minds of the unwilling state governments and their propellers. How could that be possible in the era of TSA which the University had since been ascribed to as one of the few state university in Nigeria? The public can now understand that the allegation was a calculated effort to blackmail the University so that the public will have sympathy for the government non-payment of the staff salaries and other responsibilities. This is unfair and shared wickedness on the part of the present governments.
In addition to the above, the public needs to know that there is no any other excuse being expressed by the two owner state government during the last protracted strike preventing them from being responsive and responsible to the university. Even, in addition to the audit of the University accounts, the personnel were also audited before the payment of December 2017 salary. Therefore, it is pertinence to ask the Government that what else is the matter that delays and making them vacate and abandoned their statutory responsibility to the University which is now being culminated to a point of declaring a three (3) days warning strike after which indefinite and total strike would follow.
Meanwhile, it is no long a secret that the action of the two owner state government is clearly to destroy the last standing heritage of the Yoruba race educationally not only by their refusal to pay their statutory responsibility to the University but also through the incessant increment of the school fees to the rate that the children of the masses would not be able to cope rather than dropping out of the school. What a turn of event for a so-called progressive governments in Oyo and Osun states. In effect, the students, parent, staff, pensioners and the University Community have suffered immensely due to Government attitude to the plight of the University.
It is pertinence to let the Public know the intention and systematic steps taken by these governments to wantonly destroy the Yoruba race heritage called the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. Unfortunately, the lofty ideas of founders of the University, the sweat of the poor indigenes who contributed from their hard-earned income toward the establishment of the University, and the destinies of the students who are mainly Yoruba race are now being wasted with impunity by Governor Isiaka Ajimobi and Rauf Aregbesola of APC in Oyo and Osun states respectively. In clear terms, Governors Isiaka Ajimobi and Rauf Aregbesola have destroyed the mission and vision of the founders of LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, they have made nonsense of the contributions of all the indigenes of Oyo and Osun states towards the launching of LAUTECH, and they have murdered the glory of the Yoruba race and Nigeria in general.
It is evident from the devil-may-care attitude of Governors Isiaka Ajimobi and Rauf Aregbesola to the horrible plight of LAUTECH that their mischief is to ensure that LAUTECH does not survive to enable the University of Osun, owned by Osun State Government and the Technical University, Ibadan, owned by Oyo State Government, to survive. Each state Governor wants to have a University-owned by his state, thereby relief his state from the burden of the expenses of LAUTECH. It is natural that when a slave is being owned by two masters, each of the masters will shy away from the burden of the care required by the slave; the result is that the slave suffers. This is the plight of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso (LAUTECH), being a (slave) University co-owned by two masters but each of the masters does not want to be responsible for its care.
It is not an overstatement that the existence of a University brings about universal development hence it should be nurtured for maximum benefit. The Governors of Oyo (Abiola Ajimobi) and Osun (Rauf Aregbesola) have intentionally lost grip of LAUTECH to enable them focus on the state Universities which they have established.
It is on this note that the Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) LAUTECH Chapter passionately appeal to the good people of Federal Republic of Nigeria home and abroad to prevails on the two owners state governments to face the reality by releasing adequate funds to the university and to desist from the fruitless mission they embarked upon on media so as not to jeopardise the lives and future of over thirty thousand students and staff of the University.
Com. Sanusi W. O. Com. Tunwagun T. O.
NAAT Chairman NASU Chairman
Com. Alesinloye A. M.
For and on behalf of Joint Action Committee (SSANU, NAAT & NASU)