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Regional News of Saturday, 21 November 2020

Source: Punch

NUC hands over LAUTECH to Oyo, Osun gets health college

After many years of dispute with Osun State, the Oyo State Government has finally gained sole ownership of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, ending the crisis which had impeded its progress.

Consequently, both states have mutually agreed on the terms of settlement, while the joint ownership of LAUTECH has been formally dissolved.

The Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, announced the resolution of the impasse during a press conference in Abuja.

While the main university ownership was transferred to the Oyo State Government, the College of Health Sciences, Osogbo was ceded to the government of Osun State.

The reconciliation was said to have followed the extensive mediation by the National Universities Commission on the need to restore tranquillity and conducive learning environment in both institutions.

Rasheed said, “It is gratifying to note that, after extensive deliberations, negotiations and consultations, both owner states’ mutually agreed terms and the joint ownership of LAUTECH was formally dissolved.

“The mutually agreed dissolution was formalised through the signing of a memorandum of agreement by the executive governors of Oyo and Osun states, witnessed by the attorneys-general of both states, giving legal effect to the transfer of ownership of LAUTECH to the Government of Oyo State and the College of Health Sciences, Osogbo to the Government of Osun State.”

Saturday PUNCH reports that LAUTECH was established in 1990 by the old Oyo State with the main campus located in Ogbomoso, while the teaching hospital was subsequently established in Osogbo.

When Osun State was carved out of the old Oyo State in 1991, both states became joint owners of the institution. However, over the years, the joint ownership arrangement became characterised by governance and management challenges, affecting the appointment of vice chancellors and other principal officers, as well as the irregular payment of staff salaries.

The NUC CEO said, “In response to renewed appeals and calls by various stakeholders for further intervention by the NUC, including a meeting with the governor of Oyo State, a tripartite committee, comprising representatives of Osun and Oyo states, chaired by the NUC Deputy Executive Secretary (Academics), was constituted to interface with stakeholders towards finding a lasting solution to the seemingly intractable crisis.

“The tripartite committee commenced its assignment on March 15, 2020. It paid courtesy visits and held extensive meetings and interactions with the governors of Osun and Oyo states and other stakeholders, including the management and staff of the institutions, as well as staff unions.

“The committee also received written memoranda/position papers from the university management, staff unions and the governments of Osun and Oyo states, in a bid to achieve an equitable and mutually agreeable dissolution of the joint ownership of LAUTECH.”

NUC silent on key issues

Meanwhile, investigations by one of our correspondents showed that there were two major areas in the agreements that the commission did not speak on, while addressing journalists.

It was, however, not clear why the NUC was silent on them.

The agreement to share the assets of the university was reached at the tripartite committee meeting held in Lagos between November 8 and 10.

The NUC, in a letter to both Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State with reference number NUC/ES/404/VOL.5/40, dated November 17, 2020, conveyed the agreements to the two governors.

The letter was signed by the Deputy Executive Secretary (Academics), Dr Suleiman Babatunde Ranmon-Yusuf. He was also the chairman of the tripartite committee.

The letter was titled ‘Re: Memorandum of Understanding between Oyo and Osun states on Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho and College of Health Sciences, Osogbo.’

The agreements on which the NUC was silent were that “all indigenes of the two states working in either of the two entities shall retain all their rights and obligations stipulated in their letters of engagement.”

It added that “all the students from the states in the two entities for all times and purpose shall be treated as students of the owner states.”

Soun hails Makinde, Oyetola

The Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, on Friday, hailed the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; and his Osun State counterpart, Adegboyega Oyetola, over the amicable resolution of the LAUTECH ownership crisis.

The monarch, in an interview with our correspondent in Ibadan, expressed satisfaction about how the crisis was resolved, adding that the development would enable the university to experience peace and make more progress.

A former  Oyo State Governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, has described the resolution as a welcome development.

Alao-Akala, in a statement on Friday, commended the governors of Oyo and Osun states  for the  amicable resolution of the ownership crisis  between the two states.

Osun reviews NUC decision

The Osun State Government, on Friday, said it was studying the report of NUC, after the body announced the Oyo State Government as the sole owner of LAUTECH.

Responding to Saturday PUNCH’s enquiry on the issue, the Special Adviser to Osun State Governor on Education, Mr Jamiu Olawumi, stated that a meeting would be held on Friday evening before the state would make its position known.

Olawumi said, “The parties went for a tripartite negotiation (between) the Osun team, Oyo team and the NUC. We will be looking at the position of the NUC at a meeting today, whether it is in agreement with what we agreed upon. We will look at the papers and, by tomorrow, we will make our position known.”

We don’t know our fate yet –LAUTECH ASUU

But the Academic Staff Union of Universities said it would not comment yet on the resolution of the LAUTECH ownership crisis as lecturers of the university had yet to know their fate.

The Chairman of ASUU, LAUTECH chapter, Dr Biodun Olaniran, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday, however, applauded the two states for the maturity displayed towards the resolution of the crisis.

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