From Basses Inyang in Calabar
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Calabar Zone, has blamed Oyo State and Osun State, the joint owners of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, for attempting to commercialize education by refusing to live up to their responsibilities of funding the institution.
The university lecturers in the zone made the observation at the end of their meeting held recently, at the University of Calabar.
Addressing a press conference in Calabar, Cross River State, on behalf of the university lecturers, the Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Brown, said commercializing education would have very negative impact on the country in the short and long term.
According to him, “It is regrettable that the institution has become an uncanny and typical metaphor of the neglect of public education in our country, Nigeria. The brazen abdication of the responsibility of funding of LAUTECH by the co-owners, Oyo and Osun States, is a shocking one, even in an environment where the neglect of public institutions is fast becoming a norm.
“In time past, even within our clime, the situation of LAUTECH would have been considered an aberration and a shameful moral condition, if not a taboo of some sorts. But to dramatize the serious moral crisis that we face, the governments of Oyo and Osun States carry on as if nothing has happened even in the face of a jointly owned university becoming comatose due to lack of funding.”
He expressed regret that the workers are owed arrears of salaries upward of one year and very little is being done to address the situation, adding that workers are practically writhing in pains and penury and suffering all kinds of deprivations.
“The lowness of their morale cannot be overstated. For the students, the situation is no better, as the needed environment for meaningful teaching and learning has been willfully destroyed, ” Brown said, adding, “This is all because the university has become entirely dependent on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for survival, the impact of which is on the students and their parents who have been compelled to pay outrageously high and unaffordable fees, even in the face of the present precarious economic situation. This is unacceptable and should be dutifully rejected.”
The ASUU Zonal Chairman said It is unimaginable that a university could be allowed to suffer this fate, while its visitors are busy establishing new ones.
“This painful irony is a challenge to our nation. It is also sad that university teachers could be allowed to face this pestilence and humiliation at the instance of the Governors of Oyo and Osun States.”
The ASUU Calabar Zone, however, condemned in totality the brazen irresponsibility going on in LAUTECH, while describing university as a moral scar on the conscience of the nation.
“There is no more terrible a way of darkening the future than killing education as is the case in LAUTECH. We therefore draw the attention of well-meaning Nigerians to the show of shame in LAUTECH and urge all to call the governments of Oyo and Osun States to order. The visitors to the university must live up to their responsibility of funding. “They must recognize that education is a public good; and they must go beyond the issues of ownership and discharge their responsibilities to Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Allowing the staff to go without being paid salaries for about a year, refusing to carry out any physical development in the institution and directing officers of the university to proceed on leave while the present ones are in acting capacity is a mockery of the university system taken too far, which should not be tolerated.
“By refusing to subvent the university, thus making them institution wholly reliant on IGR, is an introduction of commercialization of education, the ramifications of which are very negative both in the short and long terms. ASUU Calabar Zone calls on progressive forces across the country to reject in strong terms what is happening in LAUTECH.”