Aggrieved varsity students spurn Ajimobi, protest in Ibadan
Spurning the assurances of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State that the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso would be reopened before the end of the month, the institution’s aggrieved students yesterday took to the streets of Ibadan to protest its prolonged closure.
The protesters, who marched round the state capital lamenting their plight, later gathered at the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mokola where they called for the immediate and unconditional reopening of the school.
Ajimobi had made the pledge last weekend to reopen the university, co-owned with Osun State but which was shut over seven months ago for alleged arrears and other sundry issues.
Addressing reporters on their plight, secretary of the umbrella body of the students’ movements and organisations on the campus, Save Education and Reopen LAUTECH Coalition (SERAL-C), Monsurudeen Omoakin, demanded the immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances of their lecturers without the rumoured increase in school fees.
He said the owner states ought to have resolved all the lingering issues since the institution was shut June 13 last year.The 400-Level Applied Physics undergraduate regretted that the 26-year old institution, which was once the best state university in the country, could no longer boast of a single hostel accommodation, modern and adequate learning facilities or laboratory.
“Initially, most students and the general public were made to believe that the closure was due to students’ agitation against unprincipled interference of the management during the conduct of the students’ union election held few weeks earlier. This was the kind of erroneous belief most students were made to grapple with for months until we began to understand that the closure was a direct consequence of the inability of the two state governments to pay the salaries and allowances of workers in the school,” he alleged.
On the reported meeting of some student leaders with the governor, the protesters dissociated themselves from the parley, saying any meeting excluding them lacked legitimacy.