•Oyo must prosecute the armed mob that levied war on lawful citizens, even as it sorts out the LAUTECH ownership issue with Osun
The folly of mob action never came out more clearly than the experience of poor Citizen Osunbade, a staff of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo State, a university which Oyo and Osun states jointly own.
A mob, allegedly from a body that calls itself Ogbomoso Parapo, had pounced on Osunbade. His crime? That he was an Osun indigene, who had the audacity to stay on, when a pro-Oyo lobby had allegedly told him and fellow Osun natives employed by LAUTECH to choose between their jobs and their lives, because Osun was not contributing its own proprietary costs to running the university.
But alas, poor Osunbade, despite his name, hailed from Oyo and not Osun! So, the mob had fallen on its own!
As to be expected, after the crime had been committed, there has been a harvest of denials. Ogbomoso Parapo, an ethnic Ogbomoso grouping, has denied its members were involved. The police too have been trying to downplay the crime. So, has the LAUTECH branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) — and that was even after that mob had stormed the office of the bursar (an Osun indigene), and threatened to burn and kill him, but for the timely intervention of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Now, the first thing is to investigate this matter and punish the involved criminals. It is trite that civil society frowns at mob justice, which is the acme of injustice.
Besides, a university that tolerates malcontents, for whatever misguided reason, invading its campus and threatening or harming lawful and legitimate members of that model community, is losing its essence to savagery. The general society is only worse for it.
Now, back to the ownership imbroglio. Fact: some lobby in Ogbomoso has been pushing for Oyo to totally own LAUTECH, because Osun has allegedly consistently reneged on its counterpart funding to the institution. Fact: the Soun of Ogbomoso, by being part of a newspaper advertorial to that campaign, is part of that lobby.
If true Osun is defaulting, then Oyo, that bears the brunt, has a logical right to complain and seek redress.
But how is that an especial headache of Ogbomoso — because it is the host community? So, the privilege of hosting the university can morph into virtual ownership, so much so that some misguided elements could threaten the lives of Osun indigenes, who have as much legal and legitimate rights in the university as their rampaging Oyo counterparts?
Again, this brings out, in bold relief, the utter folly of mob action. Whether Ogbomoso Parapo has no direct hand in the mob attack as it has claimed, there is a nexus between that action and the Ogbomoso stand in the ownership tussle. That is not good enough. Besides, for irredentists of Yoruba extraction, who believe carving up Nigeria to smaller cocoons is ready solution, this Oyo-on-Osun violence is deep food for thought.
Apart, the gung-ho attitude of the Osun and Oyo legislatures is a thing of utter disgrace, leading to the volatility of the campus situation. Osun State House of Assembly’s visit to the campus, to assure their indigenes of protection they couldn’t offer, was silly; while the Oyo State assembly’s ringing radicality, on sacking Osun on the ownership question, was more emotional than wise. Both houses failed in their core duty of legislating for peace, justice and good governance.
If the joint ownership of LAUTECH is not working, let the two states, in the best tradition of civility, legality and legitimacy, not to talk of the Yoruba credo of Omoluabi, sit down to renegotiate the union or peacefully agree to a divorce.
Thugs, formed into a mob, storming a university, for whatever reason, is a disgrace to Yoruba civilisation; and a grave affront to 21st century Nigeria.