Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has re-assured protesting students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, that the institution would be re-opened before the end of January.
Ajimobi gave the assurance while addressing protesting students of the institution at the Government Secretariat in Ibadan on Monday.
“I have given instruction that come rain, come sunshine, the school must resume before the end of January.
“I have called my counterpart in Osun and we have agreed to contribute a minimum of N250 million each.
“We have invited the management of the institution and the various unions to a meeting here on Wednesday, Jan. 11. We hope the meeting will help a lot in fast tracking the resumption,” he said.
Ajimobi said that a visitation panel under the leadership of Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) was set up to find a lasting solution to the problems bedevilling the institution.
“The panel has demanded for an extension and we have given them time to proffer long lasting solution to the problem,” he said.
The governor pleaded with the students to send 10 of their members to Wednesday’s meeting at the secretariat, saying the problem could not be resolved through fighting and unruly behaviour.
Ajimobi, who stated that government was looking for every opportunity to improve education standard in the state, counselled the students to be more engaging.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the students had in their peaceful protest called for the immediate and unconditional re-opening of their institution that had been shut for eight months.
The students, under the aegis of Save Education and Re-open LAUTECH Coalition (SERAL-C), also called for the immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances of striking workers.
Speaking to newsmen, Monsurudeen Omoakin, the Secretary of SERAL-C, said the students were against any plan to hike fees.
The student leader, however, called for the restoration of the students’ union and improved funding of the institution.
But SERAL-C spokesperson, Israel Fawole, dissociated the group and LAUTECH students from the governor’s meeting held with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
Fawole alleged that NANS leadership had never had any prior and democratic discussion with the rank and file of LAUTECH students.
He said the meeting lacked legitimacy, maintaining that its outcome could not be binding on LAUTECH students.
“The fact is that NANS has never deemed it fit to facilitate any serious and democratic meeting with the entire LADOKITES to be able to know their demands and aspirations.
“That ordinarily should be the basis for any meeting if there will be any at all. NANS lacks credibility to attend or facilitate any meeting whatsoever on behalf of LAUTECH students,” he said.
NAN reports that the students, who were carrying placards with various inscriptions, had trekked from Mokola area of Ibadan through Agodi-Gate to the Government Secretariat . (NAN)