Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) drawn from no fewer than twelve universities across the country converged on Osogbo the capital of Osun State on Friday, to stage a protest over alleged neglect of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), by the governments of Osun and Oyo States that paralyzed normal activities in the state.
The protesters who moved from street to street carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “Oyo/Osun, Don’t Play Politics with the Lives of Our Students, “Aregbesola/Ajimobi, Do Not Kill the Best State University in Nigeria, “Ajimobi and Aregbesola Haba! Must LAUTECH Die?, among others.
Speaking with newsmen after the peaceful protest, the coordinator of Akure zone of ASUU, Professor Alex Odiyi, stated that the neglect of LAUTECH has created problems for the union, adding that the protests were simultaneously going on in Osun and Oyo State to compel the two owner state to wake up to their responsibilities.
Odiyi who led other coordinators and branches chairpersons to speak with newsmen said the neglect of the University has led to a decay of infrastructure in the institution.
He alleged that the governments have reneged on the Memorandum of Agreement signed with the union before the last strike was called off.
The union noted that apart from non -payment of salaries and arrears, the two state Governors, Rauf Aregbesola and Abiola Ajimobi, have also refused to fund the University.
He recalled how former Governors have sustained the maintenance of the University, saying “it is unfortunate that the two state Governors have allowed things to degenerate to this level.
“The people who are at the helms of affairs went to formal education free of charge. Many of them become Governors now with large number of Special Assistants. They even went to appoint Commissioner for Happiness. They are spending on governance to the detriment of education.
He maintained that the union will continue to demand the best education for the poor students, saying the University must be funded by the two Governors.
The Chairperson, UNIBEN chapter, Professor Julius Iyasele, noted that education is going down gradually, saying “politicians are planning commercialization of the University. We will strike and hope that the Nigeria populace will join us.
The Branch Secretary, LAUTECH, Comrade Toyin Abegunrin, expressed sadness over what he described as “intentional neglect of education sector by the government of Oyo and Osun State.
He said, “Misplacement of priorities is in place. You will see how money will be rolling now, because election is coming. Those that refused to fund education will be spending huge amount to win election.’’