Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
Osun state House of Assembly, on Wednesday declared that Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso is a joint property of Oyo and Osun states.
The House stressed that going by the Supreme Court judgment delivered on 26th of December, 2012, the university was, and will always be, jointly owned by Oyo and Osun states.
It said Oyo state alone cannot unilaterally lay claim to sole ownership of the institution.
It would be recalled that Oyo state had in recent time claimed the sole ownership of the institution which had led to physical harassment of Osun indigenes who are working in the institution.
Addressing a press conference at the chamber of the assembly in Osogbo, the chairman, Osun Assembly Education Committee, Hon. Folorunso Bamisayemi, also decried the denial by Oyo state Attorney General of an existing court verdict against the takeover plot.
He stated that Osun state government have kept quiet even when it has been treated as a junior partner in a joint ownership when the state contributes the same amount of subvention, year in year out, for the past 26 years.
According to Bamisayemi, the insinuations that Osun shirked its responsibility to the jointly owned institution because of the funding of Osun State University was unfounded.
He maintained that Osun state government only defaulted in remitting its subvention to LAUTECH in the last one year, owning to drastic drop in revenue accruing to it and warned that that responsible approach of Osun on the matter should not be misconstrued for weakness.
The statement reads: “We honestly want to believe that the unconscionable attempt to take over the ownership of LAUTECH by every means possible is being orchestrated by only the Ogbomoso Community which erroneously think that it owns the college but not the entire good people of Oyo State , who are our kith and kin. The University was sited in Ogbomoso on the basis of trust by the other communities in the old Oyo State.
“The unscrupulous attempt to betray the trust and convert the University to an Ogbomoso Community owned did not start recently and predated the current financial travails bedevilling the polity, culminating in our inability to meet our obligations to LAUTECH and other institutions of governments.
“The issue began from 2010, when Governor Alao Akala of Oyo State acted out the script written by him on behalf of the Ogbomoso community by using the apparatus of Oyo state government to convert LAUTECH to an institution solely owned ostensibly by Oyo state but in reality Ogbomoso Community.
“The then State government of Osun challenged Akala’s illegal attempt in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and in a judgment delivered on 26th day of December, 2012 the apex court held that the university was and will always be jointly owned by Oyo and Osun states and Oyo state alone cannot unilaterally lay claim to sole ownership of the institution.
“Having met with failure in the court, the hostile takeover has now been tied to Osun’s financial travails and inability to meet our obligation to LAUTECH which is a recent issue and which equally affects Oyo state.
“The following are some infractions which ordinarily the State of Osun should have protested about but which we accepted calmly in the spirit of one Yoruba nation and regional integration.
“Seven and a half faculties of the university are located in Ogbomoso while only a quarter (some say half) of a faculty is located in Osogbo. In spite of this obvious lopsidedness we still contribute equal amount as partners and joint owners.
“The postgraduate school, the pre-degree centre, Part-time programme and centre for distance learning are all sited in Ogbomoso.
“The staff ratio is 1100 for Oyo state to 610 for Osun state.
“Sixteen (16) TETFUND need assessment projects are in Ogbomoso campus with none in Osogbo. The people of Ogbomoso and their supporters in Oyo state government are obviously mistaking our maturity for weakness and foolishness. They will soon realise that it is not so.”
Bamisayemi, who insisted that Osun is never ready to let go its inheritance in LAUTECH, appealed to the leaders of the Yoruba nation to prevail on Oyo state.