After nine months of deliberations between the committees set up Oyo State and the State of Osun over the Asset Sharing of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) which has been co-owned by Oyo and Osun State for 29 years, the Governor of the State of Osun, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola expressed his satisfaction over the process which is in the best interest of the students and the workforce.
Our correspondent, Abolade Adewale, had a quick chat with him at the Governor’s Office, White House, Abeere, Osogbo, State of Osun. Excerpts below-
NEWSWINGS: What is the commitment of your administration to education?
GBOYEGA OYETOLA: Education is particularly very important in terms of development, when you check our 2021 budget, almost 18% of the budget is devoted into education. We are looking essentially into the area of technical and vocational education. We realized that conventional education as good as it is, is not really relevant to the situation we find ourselves now because there are no jobs. So it is time for people to start to acquire skills so that they can personally be employer of labour. So we emphasize more on the vocational and technical education while not leaving other areas such as science, ICT and humanities also we are planning to renovate and rehabilitate existing facilities in all the schools that have been abandoned for years. I must tell you we are not building mega schools any longer, so the renovation of the schools will make the school environment conducive for learning. So these are some of the things we have in stock in the education sector.
NEWSWINGS: Now that the assets of LAUTECH have been shared between Oyo State and the State of Osun, what are the ways in which the State of Osun intends to put it to use?
GBOYEGA OYETOLA: The College of health sciences is here in Osogbo, we believe that it would be very useful for our university, Osun State University, they are already going into medicine and this is coming in handy. We also appreciate the efforts of Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, as she is building a teaching hospital for the university already. The assets will be deployed mainly to serve the purpose of the teaching hospital and to help the medical students of Osun State University. This does not stop LAUTECH from having access to the facilities, if they so need it, it is something we can work out. We are not selling anything, we are still going to use all the assets.
NEWSWINGS: Quest to come to this resolution have been on for couple of years, what are the factors that has made this committee not to realize that?
GBOYEGA OYETOLA: I think we just decided to face the reality, what is the essence of a marriage that is full of crisis over the years. The students have been suffering because of the issues relating to ownership, funding and management. We believe it is better for us to face the reality and let go of all the crisis and since one of the partner in the marriage has decided to opt out, then we can insist it must continue. Oyo State decided to opt out then we should let it be, don’t forget that as far back as 2010, there was supreme court judgment whereby the assets has been shared equally and the only thing left then was implementing the agreement.
We decided to look at it again and we set up committee made up of eminent people ably led by Emeritus Professor Olu Aina to look at some of this things, we brought in some professionals, lawyers, Yusuf Ali SAN, to help us look at the whole thing and they came out with the recommendations that it is better for us to let go on terms that will be good for the state. We have to protect the interest of the students and ensure that they will continue to enjoy the status of owner states. In other words, the fees remains the same for students of Oyo and Osun extractions. Equally, we ensured the job security of the indigenes of the State of Osun working in LAUTECH. These have been properly agreed to and I believe it will be well implemented. I must tell you it is a win-win situation for both the state of Osun and Oyo states.
NEWSWINGS: What is your message to the indigenes of the State of Osun?
GBOYEGA OYETOLA: The indigenes should at all time, realize that their interest is what is leading us to what we are doing, their interest is paramount to any decision we are taking on their behalf, so by and large we discover the best way to go is to separate.