The Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho appears set to resume in January as the owner states of the university consider the report of a panel they set up on the crisis that has kept students away since June.
Multiple sources, however, told PREMIUM TIMES that a key recommendation of the panel is an increase in tuition and other fees to shore up internally generated revenue as a solution to the recurrent funding challenges of the university.
Another recommendation, said the sources, would be to share out the faculties to the owner states under a new funding arrangement.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Non-Academic Staff Union, and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities in the university had declared a strike on June 9 to protest inadequate funds to run the institution and pay the workers.
LAUTECH is jointly owned by Oyo and Osun, the two states that constituted old Oyo State before Osun was excised in 1991 to form a separate state.
PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively report that the visitation panel set up by the governments of the two states has concluded its work and is about to submit its report.
A member of the committee, who pleased anonymity, confirmed the development.
The spokesman of the university, Lekan Fadeyi, in a chat with PREMIUM TIMES said there was confidence the protracted crisis was coming to a close and that the management was waiting for the directive to reopen the university.
Mr. Fadeyi cited the visitation panel as a demonstration of the seriousness Oyo and Osun state governments attached to resolving the crisis.
A top source in the University, who also asked not to be named, said the reopening of the university hinged on the submission of the report of the visitation panel.
“Nothing can be done until they submit their report and then the directive to open the university will follow soon, all things being equal”, said the source.
In an audio obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, expressed dismay over a recent street protest by students of the university on the long closure of the institution.
“One of the students called me that they were arrested by the police”, the governor, speaking in Yoruba, said in the audio. “I asked them what they have done and they said they blocked the main road. Why will they block the main road, for what?
“Well, there are universities that operate without subvention and a committee has been set up to look at how LAUTECH can operate; when they submit their report in January, we will reopen the university.
“There is no subsidy anywhere again, but some students should not start going on the streets to protest, if there is anything wrong, one doesn’t have to fight”, the governor said.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the academic staff had at some point turned down an offer of 41 percent of their salaries from the university management.
It is not clear whether the management intends to go ahead with the payment before a white paper on the report of the visitation panel is released.
“If they receive alert on Monday (December19), if ASUU changes her stance, the university will resume for sure by January,” a top management staff told this newspaper at the weekend.
The protracted crisis in the university had been blamed on the failure of Osun state to meet its financial obligation to the university.