Monday 12 September 2016

LAUTECH Students Groan Under Indefinite Break Caused by the Failure of Oyo and Osun State governments


ERC supporters, LAUTECH

Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is co-owned and run by two states: Oyo and the state of Osun. All expenditures and revenues concerning the school are managed by the two states. Hence, salaries, arrears and allowances are the responsibilities of these two states.


The school began its 2015/2016 academic session on 22nd February 2016 just as most schools that began the session earlier in the year. Normal academic activity started as usual and things were going on fine and one expected the duration of the semester would be the conventional 3 months and a month for exams. Going by that, it was expected that by May/June, the normal semester would be completed. According to the released calendar and schedule followed by the school, exams were to begin by May 13, 2016.

But to our surprise, when the day was drawing close, a notification of postponement was communicated and the new exam date was fixed for June 6 2016. During this time, everyone took it as the culture of the school as we never commence exams on initially agreed dates. They are often times not ready and always postpone the date by a week or two. When 6th of June was approaching, rumor of the school lecturers been owed by the government for months started making the rounds. It was alleged that the Oyo state government was owing 5 months salary while the Osun state government was owing 17 months. It was covered up earlier as the school management was using Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to run the expenditures, things went awry however when the school coffers went dry and there was nothing left of IGR to make payments. Subsequently, the lecturers came up with another request for payment of "earned academic arrears" (EAA) which the state governments have been owing them for a few years now. Then they insisted through their union, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that once their allowances are not paid, then they will not release exam questions.

The school was in this dilemma when 6th of June came, as expected, they postponed the exams once more. The students' union elections which was supposed to have been held in the previous semester or very early in the new semester was delayed and dragged to the same period. However when exams could no longer come up during that period, the school gave room for the students' union election while they continued to appeal to ASUU to reconsider their stand. The students' union election came up during that week and the result was violence. Of the four existing sociopolitical organizations on campus, the organization whose member is the electoral chairman claimed they won all the available positions. This did not go down well with others and some unknown students resorted to violence immediately after the election results were announced, where they destroyed some few school properties, the union building taking the major scar. Early on Monday the following week, massive protests erupted and some set of masked protesters locked down the school. In lieu of this, the school resolved to suspend all students’ union activities.

Alas, few days later, on the 13th of June 2016 when all efforts by the school management to make exams possible proved abortive, they declared an indefinite break only to blame it later on the student union post-election fracas.


The deceptive break has been on for more than two months now. What is clear is that the school management does not want to admit that it was the refusal of the academic staff of the University to participate in the examinations because they are being owed many months of salary that compelled the management to announce a fictitious break. This is in a bid to pacify the state governors and cover up their mess. But this deception cannot last for long. The only way the University can be re-opened for conduct of examinations is if the Oyo and Osun state governments are prepared to meet the demands of the academic staff for payment of their salary.

It has also been confirmed that the Oyo state had in the last few weeks made some payments to cover part of what they owe which will have been sufficient at least to get the school back running provided the Osun state government also paid its portion of the debt. But with the refusal of the state of Osun to complement with its own part, things are still grounded and may continue to be so unless students and workers are prepared to embark on mass campaign and struggles to force the state governments to pay the salaries and also commit to improved funding of the institution.

(1) The Oyo and Osun state governments must pay up all owed salaries and arrears to all concerned staff.
(2) The school should immediately announce a resumption date and allow students a little period to read before the commencement of exams.
(3) That the management must uplift the ban on union activities.
(4) That another election be held with another electoral commission constituted since the last election was inconclusive.

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