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How govt should handle LAUTECH multi-campus agenda —Olugbon


Umah Muhammed
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The Olugbon of Orile Igbon and vice chairman of the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs, Oba Francis Olusola Alao, in this interview by SUNDAY ADEPOJU, speaks on the issues trailing the proposal of the state government to make LAUTECH a multi-campus university.

Recently, the ownership tussle between and Osun and Oyo states died and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso was ceded to Oyo State. How do you see this development?

I›m highly elated and at the same time I commend the one who deserves it; that is, Engineer Seyi Makinde. He did a wonderful job in ceding Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso to Oyo State and the dissolution of the joint entity between Oyo and Osun states. My congratulation goes to the governor, then to the entire Oyo State and, most importantly, to Ogbomoso indigenes as a whole.

Is LAUTECH contributing anything to the economic development of Ogbomoso?

Absolutely, that’s the only valuable establishment we have in Ogbomoso zone. There is no federal or state government presence other than the school. We have a sizeable number of students and you know what it takes in an environment like this where you have over 40,000 students. It has economic impacts in term of development, commerce, population. There is no place where a school or institution is built that is not going to have economic impact and that is why we are very happy to have ceded this University to Oyo State. Importantly, the university has about 30,000 hectares of land which predominantly belongs to the Olugbon.

What is your reaction to a proposal seeking to make the university a multi-campus institution?

I know it is a state-owned university. We can’t be a whole monopoly of the entire system but at the same time this is the only viable economic establishment that we have in Ogbomoso. Like I said earlier, we have about 30 per cent of the hectares of land and only over one per cent has been used since its establishment. So, if you want to have multi-campuses, maybe in Oke-Ogun, Oyo and others, you should first of all make us priority. The priority is let there be a major campus here. If you look from LAUTECH to Igbon, my capital here, there is nothing. The land is still fallow. I think Osun State took College of Science from LAUTECH, they can get it established here. They can have the main campus here in Ogbomoso zone. They can now cede probably some new or few satellite campuses to other zones but the major campus must be sited here. I’m appealing to the state government to take us as priority. They should establish the main campus here and see other things that are affiliated that can be established here so that we that are housing LAUTECH from inception would have more benefits.

Then, when you look at Oke-Ogun, the state government has sited so many things there; they have done so many things in Oyo. They have as many as possible in Ibarapa but this is the one we have here and they should give us priority and we would be glad if Engineer Seyi Makinde could put that into consideration.

Are you also in support of multi-campus agenda of the government on LAUTECH, especially to some other areas?

The thinking of the government is once it is state-owned, let’s see how we can decentralise the establishment of LAUTECH into some other zones. Yes, it might be fine but at the same time, let the zone that has been warehousing LAUTECH from inception be a major beneficiary in their proposal. They should site major campuses in Ogbomoso zone especially in Surulere Local Government Area.

Many people have said that the security situation during the reign of the immediate past governor of Oyo State was better than what we have now. Do you subscribe to that and what is the solution?

I think the approach differs comparing the past governor and the present governor. The past governor, the late Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi, will still be commended when it comes to security as he did very well. The only difference here with this present government is the approach. But I want to see Amotekun working. They should come up with this super-active strategy on security now. They need to tame every aspect of the state in terms of security. If you go to police divisions, there are not enough vehicles for logistics for them to move around. Our area is very volatile. We share boundary with Ilorin, Kwara State. Some of these Fulani herdsmen can be easily found. There was a time they were robbing on this area few months ago. I would be the one to call the Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner for Operation to support the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) with arms and more men so that they can curtail the insecurity in the system. I will suggest that the present governor should improve on the security system.

The EndSARS protest has come and gone. Do you think the protest has yielded any fruition?

Well, I spoke with the press during the EndSARS protest and I condemned the approach the government used, especially the approach on the part of the Federal Government. It was very unconstitutional because when you see issues like that, you don’t need soldiers on the street like that. Nobody has accounted for the killing at Lekki tollgate. They set up various committees. That has not changed our system and we need to deviate from that context, we need to be pragmatic on issues of security.

The youth are not employed; there are a lot of ineptitude from the side of the state and the Federal Government. So, what will happen when you have a house and you do not take care of the members of the family in the house? Why are the youth going into banditry, robbery, kidnapping and others? It’s because the economy is in shamble. We do not have the right people in government; there is no way you want to solve economic problems without solving political problems.

When you have bad leadership, the problem you will begin to have will be bad economic problems. When you have economic problems, you will begin to have banditry, kidnapping, robbery and there will be high rate of crime. We must solve that problem. The problem is that we did not ask anything from Buhari. Please preparatory to 2023, let them begin to change our electoral laws to have the right people in government. Let them curb electoral malpractices. Most of those people in the National Assembly today are just there as rubberstamp; they don’t have anything to offer the country. Whatever the executive passes to them, they just rubberstamp it; nothing constructive is coming from the National Assembly. They are just rubberstamps with the executive arm of government. Look at the judiciary also, nothing is functioning again. Although the judiciary is still fair enough, but again these are the issues. We have a political problem. We do not have a political class; our political class is classless; the result of any political problem is economic problem and from economic problem, the result is banditry, kidnapping, robbery, and all sort of things like fraud because people want to find means to live.

A traditional ruler was attacked and killed in Ondo State and nobody said anything. Look at us as the traditional institution. Some of us can’t even speak on issues that concern the government. Everybody will keep quiet once they give money to them. We must speak truth to power, federal, state and local governments. Their approach to the country and citizens, honestly, is very disgraceful. Local government has become a conduit pipe for exchange of money. Out of the 774 local governments all over the federation, how many are functioning well? And these are the people who are close to the people. What it takes is I have to pay for logistics to make sure I have full security going with me everywhere I go; must it be like that? These are the issues that we are faced it.

 FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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