The sole ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso (LAUTECH) by Oyo State is a welcome development. Joint ownership of the institution by Oyo and Osun states has culminated into protracted crises in the institution, which has had telling effects on the students, the staff and its rating as the best state university in Nigeria as well as the relationship between the owner states.
Thus, the taking over of the institution by the Oyo State Government is applauded by all and sundry as a pragmatic way of engendering peace.
However, the report credited to the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde that the institution would be run as a multi-campus is sad news for all Ogbomoso indigenes as well as lovers of justice.
I wish to advise the Oyo State Government to reconsider the idea in the interest of peaceful coexistence among the various zones of the state, which is homogenous.
Numerically and population-wise, Ogbomoso geo-political zone comprising five local governments is second to Ibadan. The only government institution in Ogbomoso zone is Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. The founding fathers of the institution sited the school in Ogbomoso because they thought that the town deserved the institution at the period. Out of all the zones that made up old Oyo State, only Ogbomoso was deprived of a higher institution. Another fact is that Ogbomoso people contributed to the fund-raising for the institution more than any town in the state and I stand to be challenged on this fact. This is not to mean that Ogbomoso as a town or an administrative zone owned the school, the school until recently belonged to Osun and Oyo and with the dissolution of the joint ownership, it belongs to Oyo State and its people and for the benefit of the humanity. However, the siting of the school in Ogbomoso has transformed the socio and economic life of the town for the better, one could only imagine the adverse effects of turning it into a multi-campus.
Besides, all other major zones in the state already have institutions located in their respective zones. The last major institution established in Oyo State is the Technical University in Ibadan founded by the immediate past administration, which was sited in Ibadan in spite of the large number of state-owned-tertiary institutions in the city. This is being viewed as spurious and an act of injustice to other parts of the state.
Stakeholders from other zones kept quiet when Ajimobi was establishing Technical University in Ibadan. If the Technical University cannot be made a multi-campus institution then, LAUTECH should be left alone.
In my own opinion, what should be uppermost in the mind of the present administration in Oyo State after winning the struggle to dissolve the joint ownership is how to meet the financial needs of the university now and to restore it to its old glory as one of the best institutions in Nigeria. Dismembering the institution as the government is planning is not the way to stabilise the school after years of instability; rather it would mean solving a problem to create another one.
Adewuyi Adegbite. (firstname.lastname@example.org)