LAUTECH: Now That The Storm Is Over

On the 3rd of June, 2017, the workers of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho embarked on an indefinite strike action to drive home their demands, particularly on the non-payment of their outstanding salaries. The strike has then been called off on Tuesday, October 17. KAZEEM MOHAMMED traces the issues leading to the action.

Filtering is the good news that the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), jointly owned by the governments of Osun and Oyo state have resumed after a  protracted strike action embarked on by the workers of the university.

Earlier in June 2017, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in LAUTECH announced the commencement of an indefinite strike, three months after the suspension of an 8-month industrial action earlier embarked upon by the union.

According to the statement by the ASUU Chairperson, Biodun Olaniran, and the Secretary Toyin Abegunrin, the strike became inevitable since the two governments of Oyo and Osun “have failed to honour the demands of paying the salaries arrears of its union members in due time, saying, “it had been over two years now that LAUTECH had been thrown into crippling financial crises due to government’s refusal to meet its funding obligations to the institution,” they said.

The strike action had left the students at home for months and truncated the academic activities in the institution. Several pleas went by, several threatening messages circulated, and frustrations pervaded the institution, but all these did not have any positive effect.

Kudos must be given to the two owner states of Osun and Oyo for the appointment of the new Governing Council, led by the former Head of Service of the Federation, Professor Oladapo Afolabi whose appointment seems to have played a significant role in the return of the workers of the university to duty. The university staff must also be commended for sheathing their sword after reaching a compromise with the management of the institution.

It would be recalled that the Pro-Chancellor and the Chairman of the council, Professor Afolabi had shortly after his appointment assured that the institution would soon reopen for normal academic activities, saying, the new council was closer to finding a lasting solution to the problems confronting the institution, just as he expressed the council’s readiness to restore the lost hope in the institution.

While admitting that the new council was inaugurated at the most trying time, Afolabi said they have accepted the challenges and are ready to ensure that all the issues in contention are resolved.

“We are optimistic of early resolution to the crises rocking LAUTECH; government is committed to bringing back a formidable university, council and management are also determined to ensure an enduring legacy. In about 15 or 20 days, we should be able to give you the resumption date.”

Afolabi also promised to ensure that the institution becomes self-sustaining and not be a burden to the owner state governors.

However, the strike has though been suspended, but the issue of self-sustainability has always been the issue in contention. While the governments of the two owner states have insisted that the university should be able to sustain itself without subventions from the governments, considering the huge number of students paying schools fees, some stakeholders, particularly the labour unions have insisted that the governments of the two states were not committed to ensuring the sustainability of the university.

Going by the available data, LAUTECH has student population of 27,457 undergraduates (regular), paying average of N70, 000; 1,514 undergraduate (Part time), paying average of N120, 000; 2,857 academic postgraduate (regular) and  3,054 (part time) paying minimum of N150, 000; professional postgraduate students of 2600 paying average of N250, 000; Open Distance Learning (ODL) 655; Pre-degree and other programmes are also not left out, all totaling 35,507 Students.

It was in the midst of the crisis that the two owner states set up a visitation panel, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to review the activities of the university, with a view to finding a permanent solution to the issues bordering on the development of the institution.

After its finding, the panel discovered that no fewer than 97 different bank accounts in almost all the commercial banks in the country were being operated by the institution as against the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the government. It was also revealed that TETFUND and Needs Assessment Funds running into billions of naira have been given to LAUTECH without commensurate research output to show for it.

It was the recommendation of the panel that a forensic auditing of the finances of the university should be carried out, as part of the way to bring an end to the crisis rocking the citadel of learning.

The two owner states have claimed that they had released a total sum of N13.626 billion to the university as subventions between 2011 and 2016. This is excluding additional Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by the institution through its various business ventures and activities running into billions of naira.

In line with the recommendation of the panel of enquiry and the believe that the institution should be able to sustain itself without necessarily relying on subventions from states, the service of an Auditing Firm, KPMG was employed by the two states to carry out a forensic auditing of the finances of the institution.

The exercise initially met a brick wall, as the labour unions were alleged to be frustrating the exercise by forcing the auditing team out of the university and denying them access to the documents required for the exercise. This interference by the labour union also raised a lot of dust and throw suspicions that perhaps, the management and the labour unions were having something in common to hide, wondering why a transparent exercise of such would be truncated. After series of interventions and insistence by the two owner states, the auditing was eventually allowed. It has since been concluded, the report submitted and currently undergoing review.

At a point in July, Senate President Bukola Saraki stepped in, making ‘promises’ to release a massive sum of N4 billion funding through the federal government and ensuring a permanent solution by also asking the federal government to look into taking over the institution. These promises have been described by observers as empty one, as neither Saraki nor Presidency has made any statement on the issue, even when the two states were struggling to find lasting solution to the crisis.

While the two owner state have reiterated their commitment to the sustainability of the joint ownership of the university, some public commentators have canvassed that the joint ownership should be forfeited.

One of the commentators was the human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) who called on the Osun government to relinquish ownership of the troubled university as a long term measure, just as he urged Oyo government to be prepared to take over the ownership of LAUTECH and provide the needed funds for it.

Meanwhile, it was during the crisis that it was clear that the complexity of the crisis rocking the institution was beyond ownership, but also of management and administration. While some universities with lesser population of students were seen to be sustaining themselves, one would wonder why LAUTECH could not.

However, the unfolding event since the appointment of the new Governing Council and submission of the Forensic Audit Report, have clearly shown that the two states are indeed committed to the sustainability of the joint ownership status of the university.

This is as the two owners states have begun to contribute the agreed take-off grant to the university, with the Osun government releasing a sum of N1 billion, while Oyo released N56,000,000 with a promise to add up the rest soon. The government was also said to have paid three months of the outstanding salaries of the workers. This, to an extent is a demonstration of the governments’ commitment to return the university on the path of glory it had always been.

Feelers from the LAUTECH campus have indicated that booming activities have since resumed, the lectures are being expected to start by next week Monday 23rd of October.

Though, the crisis has been resolved, but the sustainability of this should not be overlooked. The university must be empowered to sustain itself through the Internally Generated Revenue accrued to it in terms of fees chargeable on students and other means without putting unnecessary burden on the students.

Osun Govt. Expresses Confidence In LAUTECH Council As Workers Suspend Strike

By Ismaeel Uthman

Osun State government has expressed confidence in the governing council and workers of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, following the payment of three-month salaries and subsequent suspension of the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the institution.

According to Osun government, the payment of the three-month salaries was an indication that the council and the two owner state governments, Osun and Oyo are committed to the smooth running of all activities in the university.

The state government in a press release by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, on Tuesday, said the resumption of the LAUTECH workers and academic normalcy is important to the owner governments, as they were concerned about the plight of the students.

Baderinwa maintained that the two owner state governments are so much concerned about the well being of the students as well as the progress and development of LAUTECH and the welfare of its workers with mutual understanding.

He said, “Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi were very sensitive about LAUTECH matter and they have exhibited a reasonable and convincing commitment to the welfare of the workers of the institution and the plight of the students.

“It would be recalled that the Osun government recently released a sum of N1bn while the Oyo government which initially released N56m is perfecting a plan to provide an additional fund for the university.

“Notwithstanding pressures from some quarters that Osun government should not commit the state resources to LAUTECH again due to obvious marginalisation of the state in LAUTECH, Governor Aregbesola who is passionate about functional education, a team player and a goal getter will not cease in funding LAUTECH and will stop at nothing in ensuring that LAUTECH is back on its feet.

“The basis of agitation of Osun people is that Oyo indigenes in the employment of LAUTECH are about thrice that of Osun while only one faculty in the institution is located in Osun as against the seven faculties located in Oyo despite the equality in funding by the two states.

”All stakeholders are called upon to be sensitive to their responsibilities and join the two owner governments, and especially Governor Aregbesola who went out of his way to provide promptly, not minding the dearth of fund facing Osun  and loud protestations of inequality in the partnership, what was agreed to  in rebuilding the institution and ensuring the resumption of LAUTECH workers.

“There is no any other way to express sensitivity and commitment to the progress of the institution, the welfare of its workers and the plight of the students.”

Baderinwa urged LAUTECH labour unions to continue to cooperate with the council in ensuring that the institution is fully back on track.

Osun Govt Expresses Confidence in LAUTECH Council As Workers Suspends Strike

Osun State government has expressed confidence in the governing council and workers of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, following the payment of three-month salaries and subsequent suspension of strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the institution.

According to Osun government, the payment of the three-month salaries was an indication that the council and the two owner state governments, Osun and Oyo are committed to the smooth running of all activities in the university.

The state government in a press release by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa, on Tuesday said the resumption of the LAUTECH workers and academic normalcy is important to the owner governments, as they were concerned about the plight of the students.

Baderinwa maintained that the two owner state governments are so much concerned about the well being of the students as well as the progress and development of LAUTECH and the welfare of its workers with mutual understanding.

He said: “Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi were very sensitive about LAUTECH matter and they have exhibited reasonable and convincing commitment to the welfare of the workers of the institution and the plight of the students.

“It would be recalled that the Osun government recently released a sum of N1bn to the university.

“Notwithstanding pressures from some quarters that Osun government should not commit the state resources to LAUTECH again due to obvious marginalization of the state in LAUTECH, Governor Aregbesola who is passionate about functional education, a team player and a goal getter will not cease in funding LAUTECH and will stop at nothing in ensuring that LAUTECH is back on its feet.

“The basis of agitation of Osun people is that Oyo indigenes in the employment of LAUTECH are about thrice that of Osun while only one faculty in the institution is located in Osun as against the seven faculties located in Oyo despite the equality in funding by the two states.

“All stakeholders are called upon to be sensitive to their responsibilities and join the two owner governments, and especially Governor Aregbesola who went out of his way to provide promptly, not minding the dearth of fund facing Osun  and loud protestations of inequality in the partnership, what was agreed to  in rebuilding the institution and ensuring the resumption of LAUTECH workers.

“There is no any other way to express sensitivity and commitment to the progress of the institution, the welfare of its workers and the plight of the students.”

Baderinwa urged LAUTECH labour unions to continue to cooperate with the council in ensuring that the institution is fully back on track.

BREAKING: ASUU LAUTECH Call Off Strike, Academic Activities To Begin Monday 23rd

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) has called off its industrial action.

The strike which has been for months was put on hold after a meeting with the members of the union at the university’s main campus in Ogbomoso on Tuesday.

The governing council had about a month ago approved reopening of the institution with a promise that the two owner states will provide the fund needed to offset the arrears of workers.

Recently, the institution received more than N1 billion subventions from the owner states as agreed with the governing council.

The Secretary of ASUU LAUTECH Dr. Abegunrin, corroborated by the union’s Zonal Coordinator Dr. Ade Adejumo, confirmed that the strike had been suspended with immediate effect but academic activities will kick off on Monday, October 23.

“The zone will have to be briefed, national will have to be briefed, but the Congress has suspended the strike in principle as from today but full lectures will resume on Monday,” Dr. Adejumo said. “Skeletal things will continue, preparatory to the commencement of full academic activities on Monday.”

The suspension is coming following news that the lecturers started receiving their three-months’ salary arrears – one of their demands for resumption – during the weekend.

Over the months, LAUTECH had been riddled with numerous resumption dates which turned out to hold little water. First, the university management widely publicised September 15 and October 3 for reopening the university and resuming academic activities, respectively.

Although the gates of the institution were reopened as scheduled, lectures did not commence as the academic staff union refuted the announcement saying none of their issues had been addressed and that “strike is still in full force.”

With mounting pressure from the agitated students, LAUTECH’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. A.S. Gbadegesin, once again, promised Monday, October 16, as an alternative resumption date. That date also passed, to no avail.

LAUTECH: JAC, ASUU Express Hope As Meeting With Management Holds

By Toba Ajisafe

 

The Ladoke Akintola University of Technology chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and other workers’ unions in the university, have expressed hope that today’s meeting with the institution management will resolve impasses surrounding the recent suspension of strike announced by the governing council.

 

This was expressed on a radio programme by the Chairman of Joint Action Committee, Mr. Abimbola Aleshinloye; and Chairman of the ASUU, Dr. Biodun Olaniran, which was monitored by OSUN DEFENDER on Monday.

 

Recall OSUN DEFENDER reported the resumption of the institution in a statement signed by the Registrar and Secretary to Council, Mr. Jacob Agboola, which expected the students to resume on Monday September 15th, 2017.

 

The strike which was on for months has seen the two owner states engaged an audit firm to look into alleged mismanagement of funds by the management and recommendations were made on effective running of the institution.

 

Read: BREAKING: LAUTECH Announces Resumption Date

 

Mr. Aleshinloye who is the chairman JAC comprises of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Non Academic Staff Union and the National Association of Academic Technologists, said, the Management has invited all the Unions for a meeting today by 12noon at Ogbomosho campus to deliberation over announced resumption.

 

“We have to resolve the issues and today, the Management will have to state their own side and we have to state ours for us to harmonize.

 

He said, “We so much appreciate what the Chairman of the governing council, Mr. Oladapo Afolabi is doing to bring back the lost glory.”

 

Speaking in same manner, the ASUU chairman, Dr. Biodun Olaniran said, that the Union is so much open to negotiation.

 

Dr. Abiodun said “our sons and daughters are also in the school, so we hope the crisis will be solved before October 1st, 2017 which I believe today’s dialogue between the Unions and the management will go a long to proffer lasting solution to the crisis.

BREAKING: LAUTECH Announces Resumption Date

By Toba Ajisafe

The Governing Council of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, has approved resumption of activities on the Institution’s Campuses which would take effect from Friday September 15, 2017.

This was contained in a release by Head, Public and Alumni Relations Unit, Mr. Lekan Fadeyi which was made available to OSUN DEFENDER on Thursday.

According to a statement signed by the Registrar and Secretary to Council, Mr. Jacob Agboola, students of the University are expected to return to school on Monday September 25th, 2017, while full academic activities, the details of which Senate will announce, shall commence immediately after the Independence anniversary holiday.

The State Government of Osun on its part said  it is excited that the governing council has reached this decision on the resumption of the institution.

Speaking on Thursday, a governor’s aide who was privy to the negotiations, but who isn’t permitted to speak with the media confirmed to OSUN DEFENDER that the government is excited by the decision to reopen the institution for academic activities.

The Governing Council had in its statement thanked the two owner states for agreeing to provide necessary support to the institution.

“Council thanked the Governors of Oyo and Osun States, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi and Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola respectively, for agreeing to support the University with necessary funds to enable the University to return to its normal work schedule and reinvigorate its latent capacities for accelerated and sustainable growth and development.  Council also appreciated all stakeholders for their understanding and support.

“Council further appealed to students, staff, parents as well as the general public to demonstrate greater faith and dedication to the well-being of the institution, as better days lie ahead of it. Concerted efforts should, therefore, be geared towards ensuring that nothing is allowed to disrupt the normal work of the University again.

 

 

Govt To Review LAUTECH Tuition Fees – Ajimobi

In a bid to make Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, self-sustaining, government will review tuition fees being paid in the institution, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, has announced.

The governor made the announcement on Saturday in Ibadan, while featuring on a programme tagged “Saturday Special’ aired on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS).

LAUTECH is co-owned by both Oyo and Osun state governments.

The institution had in recent times been enmeshed in crisis over the default of the owners to pay subvention and staff salaries.

Ajimobi said his administration had since assumption of office in 2011, paid N22 billion to the institution.

He described the amount being paid as tuition fees in LAUTECH as `abysmal,’ adding that it would be reviewed for the institution to be self-sustaining.

“The default in the payment of subvention and salaries was as a result of economic downturn. When we came on board, we reduced the tuition fees to N65, 000.

“There are secondary schools that charges from N150,000 to N200,000, while some universities charge from N500,000 to two million naira.

“Till date, we have subsidized LAUTECH heavily and we are still giving them.

“Imagine, the institution has 99 accounts and some could not be traced,’’ he said.

The governor said that government had taken steps to resolve the crisis in the university, among which was the auditing of its account to determine its viability to be self-sustaining like other institutions.

He said that staff of the institution had initially refused the auditing firm access but had promised to allow them recently.

Ajimobi said that government had constituted the institution’s governing council which was expected to submit its report after the current holiday.

He promised that the crisis in the university would soon be over and the institution would be given take-off grant for three months.

Commenting on Oyo State Technical University, Ajimobi said that the institution, which would take-off in October, was a specialized institution, adding it was not a university for all.

He said that his administration had evolved several initiatives to reform education in the state, particularly public schools.

He added that the efforts had started to yield the desired fruits.

VC: LAUTECH To End Strike Soon

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, has assured stakeholders the strike by workers will end soon.

He said the governing council would find a lasting solution to challenges facing the institution.

Addressing reporters at the College of Health Sciences in Osogbo, Osun State capital, Prof. Afolabi said: “We had our inaugural meeting at the main campus in Ogbomoso on August 9, 2017, and designed a 90-day action plan, which has started in earnest.

“We are determined to bring LAUTECH to Canaan.

“We have set timelines that are achievable for the activities of council in handling the challenges and tasked ourselves to resuscitate the university and redirect its resources to fulfil the vision of its founding fathers.

“From various interactions of council with diverse stakeholders, we realised we all are on the same page, working towards the same goal.

“We all realised the council should spare no effort to get the university back on track and reopen for students to continue their studies and move on in their academic pursuit.

“The Strategic Intervention Team, on its own, has advised the new council to interact more closely with workers through their union to gain their confidence and boost their morale, which was observed to be at low ebb owing to the non-payment of their salaries for some 10 months.”

The vice chancellor said the council was neither sleeping nor insensitive to incessant strikes by workers.

He said: “Since we were inaugurated, we have called all stakeholders and with the way we are now, we are closer to the answer than when we started.

“We may not give a categorical date but we can assure you that you can start counting days and not weeks. Let everybody be hopeful.

“As regards the pattern of funding of the institution, the take of this council is that the funding model must change radically. We don’t expect the university to be going cap-in-hand to the owner-states every month if they will fund the school.

“We expect that whatsoever would be provided should be within the basket that enables planning with the resources so that we could also be creative and add value, not just be a body that is just absorbing money.”

 

 

 

Source: The Nations

Osun, Oyo Assemblies Move To Reopen LAUTECH

By Israel Afolabi

The Joint Houses of Assembly Committees on Education in Oyo and Osun states have assured that the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso would soon be reopened for academic activities.

This was the conclusion at the end of the committees’ jointly meeting with the LAUTECH Governing Council, management, Alumnus and other stakeholders.

Briefing Journalists after the meeting, Chairman, Osun House committee on Education, Folorunsho Bamisayemi explained that the two houses met to put head together and bring life back to the university, saying, the deliberations at the meeting were centered on how to give the university a new roadmap for the benefits of students.

According to him, “We met to open the school in the shortest possible time”, as he appealed to students to remain calm, saying efforts are being frantically made to reopen the school.

This is just as he assured the government commitment to the university.

Also, the Chairman Oyo House Committee on education, Adegbenga Adeleke assured that the two states are working in accord to reopen the school soonest.

He said, the two Assemblies would meet the Governors of the two states, Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) on the outcome of the meeting and find a way out of the crisis rocking the institution.

EDITORIAL: Auditing As A Roadmap

The whole point of a forensic audit is to provide a roadmap for the future. If a process is broken, an audit is a very good way of achieving a preventive mechanism against same or similar mishappenings in the future. To state the obvious, it is clear that the process, operating structure and mechanism of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is broken and has to be fixed. This has to start with a thorough audit.

Without the audit, the co-financing owner states of the institution will be reenacting says law, which every school pupil knows as “throwing good money after bad”. There is obviously something very disturbing about the reports that the labour unions of the institution were reported to have frustrated the Accounting Firm, KPMG which was engaged by the two owner states, Osun and Oyo to audit the finances of the university, as part of the recommendations by the Chief Wole Olanipekun-led visitation panel. Series of drama and threat have thereafter trailed and frustrated this effort to get the institution back on its feet.

The Olanipekun-led panel had found out that the LAUTECH accounts were audited last in 2012, and a sum of N400 million was in question then, just as it revealed that the university runs 97 different accounts, in spite of the Treasury Single Account policy that has since been in vogue as recommended and adopted by the Federal government since 2015. The panel also found that the TETFUND and the Need Assessment Fund running into billions of naira had been given to LAUTECH without commensurate research output to show for it.

It is totally unacceptable that a citadel of learning should be averse to modern management methods which allows for auditing. It also makes one to ponder as to whether or not they are on the same page with the laudable anti-corruption battle. An aversion for auditing in any institution whether public or private sector has specks of corruption.

It is absolutely clear now that there are vested interests who for self-serving reasons want to prolong the strike, in order to hide their abnormalities and other shortcomings. It means that they are using the students as ‘human shield’ to emotionally blackmail the owners of the institution into submitting to their own interests.

This is completely unacceptable. The convention on warfare makes the use of non-combatants, as a shield, a war crime. In industrial relations, using innocent students as a shield is tantamount to the same thing. The time has come for the management and the unions to allow the visitation report of the Olanipekun-led panel to be implemented. This will allow the students to get on with their lives. They owe them that moral obligation.

We Are Not Sleeping, Start Counting Days Not Weeks For Resumption – LAUTECH Governing Council

By Toba Ajisafe

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Professor Oladapo Afolabi has expressed that the strike action will end in days as the Council had intensified efforts to find a lasting solution to the challenge.

Prof Afolabi made this known at a press conference held at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, College of Health Sciences, Osogbo, Osun State.

According to the address read by Prof Oladapo, “We had our inaugural meeting at the main campus in Ogbomoso, on August 9,2017 and charted for ourselves a 90-day action plan which has started in earnest.

” We are determined to bring LAUTECH to Canaan.

“We have set timelines that are achievable for the activities of Council in handling the challenging task of resuscitating the University and redirecting its resources towards fulfilling the vision of the founding fathers.

” From the various interactions of the Council with the diverse stakeholders, we have realized that we all are on the same page, working towards the same goal.

“We all realized that the Council should spare no efforts to get the University reopen for students to continue with their studies and move on their academic pursuit.

” The Strategic Intervention Team on its own has advised the new Council to interact more closely with the staff members through their Union in order to gain their confidence and boost their morale which was observed to be at low ebbs owing to the nonpayment of their salaries for an upward of ten months.

Prof. Oladapo also declared that the Council is not sleeping nor insensitive to the incessant strike by the staff community of the institution.

Oladapo while responding to questions from journalists said, “Since we were inaugurated, we have called all the stakeholders and with the way we are now, we are closer to the answer than when we started.

“We may not give you a categorical date but we can assure you that, start counting days and not weeks. Let everybody have hope.

“As regard the pattern of funding of the Institution, the take of this Council is that the funding model must change radically. We don’t expect the University to be going cap in hand to the owner State every month if they will fund the School.

“We expect that whatsoever would be provided should be within the basket that enable planning with the resources so that we could also be creative and add value; not just be a body that is just absorbing money.

“We expect that any resource that come to the system is a resource that will provide something that public and humanity will appreciate. He added.