LAUTECH: Ogbomoso Parapo as last squad standing
The proposed movement of faculty of agriculture Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo state, has become controversial as it’s seen by majority of Ogbomoso people as a ploy to denude their city of a heritage that is of great importance and of pride.
Exfoliate LAUTECH from Ogbomoso and you have a drab city, economic buoyancy-wise, social life and what have you. For the 33 years of its existence LAUTECH has proven to be the key economic sustainer of the city and ensuring the university’s sustainability is often jealously guarded. Its successes are often celebrated and misfortunes lamented passionately.
Every patriotic son and daughter of Ogbomoso will consequently be inflamed by dripping obsession when a predetermined onslaught is made against the institution. Severing a foundation faculty as that of agriculture with over 12, 000 population and billions of naira in asset is a virulent assault, that will leave the city poorer.
The university being located in Ogbomoso was won at a great cost. It is a recent history. The military administration that founded it headed by Col. Sasaeniyan Adedeji Oresanya (may God bless his soul) subjected the many communities vying to host it including those now in Osun state to strenuous efforts and intense lobbying to earning the hosting rights. So, it did not come on a platter of gold. And the benefits emanating from it since its founding in 1990 is a justification of the effort put into securing the hosting rights. Perhaps it was why the founding fathers made it mono-campus University.
Severing such faculty will kick-start a new history for the institution that will be unpalatable. It will be the beginning of an impudent balkanization as the university will be prepared as a tool of political aggrandizement. It’s being made a big cake for slicing for propitiation to win votes. Why should a university with such beautiful and proud history be turned into such? Under untamed cupidity and unreasonableness pressure will now be mounted by other communities to have one or two faculties in their domains. In fact, there are unconfirmed reports that the faculty of engineering and technology is being earnestly sought by another community, another is requesting for faculty of nursing, while the distance learning centre is the spoil being demanded by yet another. And so how will this be staved off when precedence had been laid? Those new faculties promised, for how long will they stay before they are excised in the name of multi-campus system? That no doubt aside several others will usher the institution into an era of instability. We will all be living witnesses.
So, resisting the move is sine qua non to maintaining the integrity and pride of the town and protecting a cherished heritage. But the times are not auspicious, so they made it to be, the political juggernauts and “elders” of the day saw differently. Their own strategy is persistent fawning to the state’s helmsman, to welcome with open arms whatever catches his fancy even if it’s at variance with the collective interest of their community. Their prime goal is worming themselves to him, get in his good book, to have lay open before them political patronage in a most parochial way.
The elders who are seeing as leaders some of whom are ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) top-notches were looked up to, to make representation to the governor on the contentious issue but they refrained. For all they cared the governor has good intentions. They are only engrossed in the present; inconsideration for future consequences took hold of their hearts. How it will open floodgate of dispersal for the university’s component faculties and colleges and other segments in injurious ways matters not to them.
Other leaders, socio-cultural associations, clubs and so on were so paranoid to talk too. That’s what happens when the top leader everybody defers to out of reference, is a politician. In the face of this rudderless approach market women and men, artisans, traders, transporters and the masses who knew they would bear the brunt of the balkanization of the institution rallied and approached the only society accessible to push it to salvage the situation – Egbe Omo Ogbomoso Parapo Agbaaye. Simply, Ogbomoso Parapo, it is the only broad based socio-cultural organization in Ogbomoso, which encompasses all indigenes. Not elitist in outlook, it is the pioneer development association in modern time taking off as Ogbomoso Progressive Union in 1912. The association was therefore roused to action, and so activated links to meet with the governor but this was rebuffed insensately. While the agitation was on, government kept silent failing to engage the people, to elucidate on the intricacies of the issue, why it must be agric faculty that must be excised rather than starting the promised new faculties elsewhere. Communication is the essence of governance but when government refuses to communicate with her people on important matters it’s a disaster. When all channels of dialogue were turned off Ogbomoso Parapo in conjunction with some other groups affiliated to it staged a protest to express disapproval with the unpopular move.
Those who had been lackadaisical or lacked gut to engage the governor, alarmed, now unleashed panic measures to stop the protest – coercion, threat, blackmail, video rails and making unconvincing assurances, intimidation and so on. But a 1912 founded organization (111 years old) is above such shenanigans. It’s founded to protect and advance the interest of Ogbomoso primarily, it had spearheaded many struggles recent vicissitudes (precipitated to underwhelm it) notwithstanding, and so standing on the side of history and by those who felt threatened by the unsavoury plan to detract from their city, is the burden it must bear and which it bore stoutly in this situation.
The association living up to its billings trudged on even though the national president was impelled to dissociate from the protest. Chairman, Home branch, Prince Aderemi Olude and Rev Peter Olaleye (president Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum) showed grit, the protest turned out to be a huge success, no untoward occurrences, peaceful, no railings against the governor, all speakers showed decorum and courtesy to him, no placards, just plain appeal – ‘Stop the relocation, it will do our town incalculable harm, rather, begin new faculties in Iseyin. We are not against that really.”
The concise message was sent whether it was hearkened to or not is immaterial. It will be on record that there were voices of dissent to the attempt to degrade the city.
That’s democratic. But there is rumour the organizers are haunted and popped for crucifixion by the same forces that tried to thwart the protest. They are seeking scapegoat. That is an illusion, the over 10, 000 people who left everything that early Monday morning to participate in the protest they should rather seek out for persecution. They are the last squad standing.