LASTING solution to the lingering crisis in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, is to emerge in the next three weeks.
This stance of the two owner state governments of Oyo and Osun is hinged on their resolve to abide by the recommendations of thep audit firm mandated to audit the personnel and finances of the institution.
The audit firm, which commenced work last week, is mandated to advance positions on how to better fund LAUTECH, reveal the income and expenditure of the institution over the year, when it submits its report in the next three weeks.
Also within the next three weeks, the Dr Gbade Ojo led technical committee formed to review the report of Chief Wole Olanipekun led visitation panel to LAUTECH is expected to release its white paper.
LAUTECH lecturers on the platform of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had recently begun offering skeletal services by invoking the “No pay, No work” principle pointing to breaches in the agreement the union reached with the university’s management in February 2017, especially noting the accumulation of salaries arrears of seven and a half months.
Oyo Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Niyi Olowofela in a chat with Nigerian Tribune appealed to staff unions in LAUTECH not to embark on any industrial action pending the release of the audit report, in the next three weeks.
Speaking against the backdrop of the call on the two owner state governments by the Oyo State house of assembly for immediate release of funds to avert industrial action, Olowofela said the two governments sought a permanent solution to the crisis in LAUTECH through the report of the audit committee.
“LAUTECH is going through developmental stage like virtually all institutions have gone through. The two owner state governments set up technical committee to come up with white paper which they are working on.”
“For government to make informed decision on how to fund LAUTECH, if necessary, it is important to know its income, expenditure, internally generated revenue and work force. This is so that there will be minimal funding yet LAUTECH will increase its IGR.”
“And government has appointed an audit firm to audit LAUTECH and they are to complete the assignment in three weeks. The essence of the audit is to know how best to manage LAUTECH.”
“Government may even give more than the earlier N292 million being canvassed for but in the next three weeks, a lot will happen.”
LAUTECH has been in existence for about 20 years and Oyo and Osun has jointly managed the institution. All sort of difficulties come up whenever states face financial challenges. It is good that Oyo State house of assembly is deliberating on this issue but they have to meet with their Osun counterpart because of the umbilical cord that ties the two states together on the issue of LAUTECH. Any decision has to be jointly made.”
“We appeal to the unions to hold on for the next 21 days. If they think that government is insensitive, then they should wait for the next 21 days to see what happens. We are closer to the solution than we are before. After darkness comes glorious light. This is just a temporary situation that we will overcome.”
“I guarantee that once the audit report is out, whatever the auditor recommends will be abided by by government. So, I appeal to the unions to give peace a chance. LAUTECH will not die. LAUTECH will come out of this present quagmire stronger and better.”
In a similar vein, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, speaking at a recent public function in Osun had noted that the recommendations offered by the auditing firm after the financial and staff audit would provide a lasting solution to the institution’s challenges.
He therefore appealed for forbearance of the academic staff and students of the institution pending the completion of the auditing exercise.
“We engaged an international audit firm to know why LAUTECH can’t run within its own resource base. The University should be able to fend for itself. We are pained that the school is challenged. My appeal to the management, academia, students is to exercise some patience. We will soon get out of the challenges we have with LAUTECH. We are quite conscious of the difficulties we are facing. When we are done with the audit, we will come up with a lasting solution,” Aregbesola said.
Meanwhile, ASUU, LAUTECH chapter, through its Chairman, Dr Biodun Olaniran, has beckoned on Chancellor of the institution to arrest the situation and prevent a further degeneration of the crisis