Prof. Gbadegesin-led management of LAUTECH must re-open the university and restore the suspended students’ union without further delay!
*For Adequate and proper funding of LAUTECH and POLYIBADAN!
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC),Oyo State Chapter strongly decries and condemns the increasing rate of interference of managements of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho and the Polytechnic of Ibadan in the day to day running of students union activities at the respective institutions.
Recently, the Prof. Gbadegesin-led management of LAUTECH arbitrarily suspended the activities of the students’ union of the institution for protesting the deplorable welfare condition of students in the institution while Prof. Fawole-led management of the Polytechnic of Ibadan also dissolved the democratically elected leadership of students’ union.
We demand the immediate restoration of independent students unionism in both institutions and immediate reopening of LAUTECH. Also, the ERC condemns the continuous poor funding of LAUTECH by the APC-led governments in Osun and Oyo States. The ERC decries the poor funding of LAUTECH and also POLYIBADAN because it is responsible for the prevailing poor welfare condition of both workers and students as well as inadequate facilities in these institutions. Except the crisis of poor funding of these institutions is solved, the incessant industrial disputes and students protests that often lead to the disruptions of the academic activities will continue unabated.
Among the excuses the Fawole-led management of the Polytechnic Ibadan advanced to justify its action is the alleged misappropriation of the union’s fund by the students’ leaders. The entire leadership of the union except the Public Relation Officer (PRO) were alleged of embezzling union money worth millions of Naira. No doubt, the alleged conduct of the affected students is highly condemnable. However, the unilateral action of the management to dissolve the entire executives including the PRO, who was exonerated from the corruption cases without allowing students and necessary organs of the union to exercise the democratic power conferred by the constitution of the union to deal with the situation, is clearly undue interference in independent students unionism by the school management.
To us in the ERC, both the management and anti-poor politicians outside the campus are responsible for entrenching the corruption and disorientation that now bedevils the students’ movement today. For instance, most managements of tertiary institutions including LAUTECH and POLY IBADAN are guilty of the inglorious act in which students union leaders are often bribed with money in the bid to prevent mass protest and resistance of students against poor welfare conditions and anti-poor policies like increase in school fees. This is against the background of the failure of successive governments to ensure adequate and proper funding of these institutions. It is in the same vein that the capitalist politicians regardless of their party affiliations also contribute largely to the growing trend of corruption among students leaders today especially when they induce and bribe them with public money towards achieving their self-serving political agenda.
Independent and mass based students’ unionism is an inalienable right of every Nigeria students. This is supported by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So the ERC believes that it is criminal for any management of any institution to indulge in interference including the act of suspending the activities of the students union under whatever guise.
It is in view of this that ERC describes the suspension of the activities of LAUTECH by the Prof. Gbadegesin-led management of the institution and dissolution of the leadership of the Students Union of the Polytehnic Ibadan by the Prof. Fawole-led management as infringements of the democratic rights of students who are members of these unions.
In conclusion, the ERC calls on pro-masses organizations, trade unions and the general public to prevail on Senator Ajimobi and Aregbesola-governments of Oyo and Osun respectively to adequately fund education at all levels (from primary schools to tertiary institutions) in both states. We also call on the Prof Gbadegesin-led management of LAUTECH to open the university without no further delay.
ERC, Oyo State Coordinator