Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, disclosed that the state will commence the push to make the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, a conventional university.
The governor, who spoke while receiving a report of the Oyo State negotiating committee on the institution, added that the government will equally move the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences of the institution to Iseyin.
He said that the Iseyin campus will open this year.
According to him, following the signing of the LAUTECH 2020 Bill into law, the state would apply to necessary authorities to change the university from a technology university to a conventional university so that it could be strengthened and enabled to handle other courses outside the technology bracket.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor stated these at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
The decision to open the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences campus of LAUTECH is coming seven days after Governor Makinde declared in Iseyin that in six weeks, he would fulfill his electioneering promise of siting a higher institution of learning in the historical city.
While speaking, Governor Makinde said the Committee, led by Prof. Ayodeji Omole, was assigned the responsibility of dissolving the joint ownership of LAUTECH between Oyo and Osun states about fifteen months ago, stating that members of the committee have fulfilled their mandate.
The governor appreciated the committee for getting the job done, while also lauding its Osun State counterpart, by Prof. Olu Aina, as well as the Governor of Osun State, Chief Gboyega Oyetola, who, he said, “put aside all differences, especially partisan politics all through these negotiations.
Makinde said: “You will recall that I promised that we will announce the creation of a higher institution of learning in Iseyin. A decision has been taken and that decision is that the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences will open its campus in Iseyin this year.
“When we inaugurated this committee on November 27, 2019, we were barely six months in office. We gave the members a clear mandate: to secure a divorce from Osun State in a manner of speaking and get Oyo State sole ownership of LAUTECH. Today, I am happy to officially receive your report. I see that you have returned as brave warriors, having fulfilled your mandate.
“On behalf of myself, the Oyo State Executive Council, the staff and students of LAUTECH, the people of Ogbomoso in particular and the good people of Oyo State as a whole, we say thank you for getting the job done.”
The governor re-affirmed that parting ways with Osun State on LAUTECH was not borne out of animosity but out of a desire to see LAUTECH realise its vision of being a world class university.
“Even, when we were on the campaign trail, we had always known that there were no two ways around resolving the incessant strike actions and other issues related to LAUTECH ownership. We had several engagements with stakeholders.
“We were not insisting on parting ways because we do not love our brothers and sisters from Osun State. As I have said on several occasions, this severance of relationship is not going to negatively impact the students and staff from Osun State but it had to be done for the sake of easier administration and to move LAUTECH, as an institution, towards our goal of a world-class university.
“In fairness to all, this was the only solution. So, let me, once again, use this opportunity to thank my brother, the Executive Governor of Osun State, His Excellency, Governor Gboyega Oyetola, for putting aside all differences, especially partisan politics all through these negotiations. We appreciate his applying wisdom in taking his time for what is best for the staff and students of LAUTECH.”
The governor equally commended the NUC’s versatility during the negotiations, stating that having signed the LAUTECH, Ogbomoso Bill 2020 into law, the state would apply to the NUC to convert LAUTECH from a university of technology to a conventional university so that other causes could be taught.
He assured the negotiation Committee on LAUTECH that the state would thoroughly explore the recommendations of the committee, saying: “I want to commend the versatility of the NUC on the negotiations. I am pleased to say that I have signed the LAUTECH, Ogbomoso Bill 2020 into law.
“So, it is now time to move forward with our plans. We will apply to the NUC to convert from a University of Technology to a conventional university, so that a course such as law can be taught at the institution.
“A lot has gone into the report and we want to give you the assurance that, even though the assignment is finished, we will continue to call on you either individually or collectively to keep on advising us on the path forward for LAUTECH.”
Earlier, the chairman of the Committee, Prof. Omole appreciated the governor for the privilege accorded the Committee to serve the state, stating that “LAUTECH is now fully owned by the people of Oyo State of Nigeria.”
Omole said: “The state civil service can boast of top-notch professionals, who are competent in their various fields. In an attempt to cut costs in the process of negotiation, the exorbitant bill that was presented for the consultant on the evaluation of the university from 2010 to 2020 was turned down. Rather, each state composed a team of professionals from the civil service to form a Technical Committee and Valuation of Assets.
“I want to say the negotiation was conducted without losing focus and candour. Let me put it on record that the two co-opted members of our committee were of immense benefit to our team. Their experiences in administration and conflict management became timely when the negotiation almost broke down in the face of obvious disagreement, uncomfortable realities and unrealistic expectations.
“The Oyo State’s team was simply fantastic and terrific. To the glory of God and to the joy of the people of this state, with your confidence and support for the committee, coupled with your exemplary and nothing-is-impossible approach to leadership, the committees thrived resolutely, confidently and successfully to achieve this mandate.”