Relocation of LAUTECH’s fac of agric: Are the gods in protestation?
The planned relocation of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo state, initiated by the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration is no doubt at the point of actualization with the latest directive to the two hundred level students to resume the second semester of the ongoing academic session at the satellite campus – College of Agricultural Science and Renewable Natural Resources – in Iseyin.
According to the plan it will be a gradual phase out of the faculty at the main campus in Ogbomoso, which has hosted it for over thirty-three years. Not unexpectedly, the plan has met with resistance not only from the people Ogbomoso, many who believe the plan is aimed at sabotaging and shortchanging them particularly economically, but also from students, old students, staff and parents/guardians. Many reasons have been adduced for the undesirability of the relocation including the one mentioned above, abandonment of research facilities, dislocation and disruption of families of lecturers, inconveniences to students, instability, jettisoning of research partnerships, risks to lives from constant travelings by lecturers/students, loss of research grants and so on. Several appeals were made by students, lecturers, parents and broad sections of the people in Ogbomoso to the governor to reconsider the plan but all these were rebuffed. He maintains that he had a pact with the people of Oke-Ogun.
Nobody contests that and no one is arguing that Oke-Ogun should not develop but it should not be at the expense of another zone. It is universal abhorrence to rob Peter to pay Paul. Oyo state owns the institution but in this instance Ogbomoso community has hosted and nurtured it for 33 years and has grown attached to it and sees it as its “baby,” and so, anyone who instigates its balkanization will be viewed with detestation. A good leader will not make some people happy while planting despondency in others. A good leader listens to the yearnings of his people. We have not seen that in this situation, The governor has pressed on in his obsession to lay the foundation for tearing LAUTECH apart .Because if he begins now nothing stops another government in the future taking out another faculty to satisfy his whims and those of covetous others. The state has seen many governors, military and civilian, with none ever contemplating its scattering. It is absurd, it is as if a sinister agenda is being orchestrated to devalue and demean Ogbomoso. But history is there to record our deeds especially when in the future the process of balkanization intensifies.
Few years ago, late Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, to satisfy the longing of the people of Ibarapa, founded a College of Agriculture at Igbo-Ora (now Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology), which now awards higher degrees. Nothing stops the present administration from toeing similar path instead of courting the displeasure of over five million indigenes/inhabitants of the host communities.That many are silent on it does not mean he is supported even those hailing him are only doing so openly, they castigate him at the back, that is the pure truth.
Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state has Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IAR&T), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and other agriculture-related institutes, aside agriculture being run as a course at the University of Ibadan etc, thus, establishing a new programme.or new agricultural based courses at the Iseyin campus would have left everybody happy with no one with a sense of loss or being robbed. Truth be told, no community will welcome a development that will leave it poorer through excising of a thriving college or will be full of praises to anyone who orchestrates that and inevitably, the perpetrator becomes an inveterate enemy of the deprived.
There are promises of new faculties at the main campus but that is more like a fantasy. The faculties are yet to take off and no date for their actualization yet. Even at that it is better if one of those is taken to Iseyin. Facilities at the Iseyin campus and even in the community are inadequate. There are only two halls in the college with none able to contain that number of students (1700) the 200 level boasts presently. The second semester will soon end and another session will begin when the present 100 level students will be expected to relocate to Iseyin also to continue. A new programme at Iseyin will not encounter such dilemma since its growth will syncronize with available facilities. The arrangement put in place meanwhile is the usual African mentality of lackadaisical planning wishing things will fall in line.
Meanwhile, it seems even the gods are against the plan to balkanize the institution – what of the messy incidents that have dogged the process? The politician who came out in Ogbomoso to condemn a planned peaceful protest against the relocation in May, who was highly revered previously, shortly after this infamous action, met with revolt in his party; he was mocked, he was derided and booed by party faithful over choice of chairmanship candidate and ultimately his preferred candidate lost out ridiculously, he lost face too and indeed relevance within the party. Then, why suddenly will the fall in the treacherous grip of kidnappers and bandits? Also, why must the commissioning of the complex last Friday, meant to be a thing of joy, be marred by an incident that has sparked global outrage? Why would a former head of state/president in the full glare of the public and in the presence of the governor, descend to the gutter level of “desecrating” the Yoruba traditional institution, subjecting the Oke-Ogun Obas to primary school pupils’ treatment – “E dide, e joko”?
This is underscored by this reaction of the Ebedi Frontliners, Iseyin (EFI) to the Friday debacle: “We on behalf of true Yoruba sons and daughters, are using this medium to call upon the former President of Nigeria to immediately apologize to monarchs from Oke-Ogun zone for his undeserved remarks over his claim that they failed to stand up when the governor and himself climbed the podium at yesterday’s commissioning of the LAUTECH’s College of Agricultural Science and Renewable Natural Resources, Iseyin.
“We understand that upon the arrival of the former President and the Governor to the event, all the people rose as a sign of respect to the duo and did same when they climbed the rostrum to make their speeches, what made Chief Obasanjo barked orders at our monarchs to ‘stand up and sit down’ like a school headmaster to primary school pupils.
“We want it to be on record that with this action of the elderly politician and supposed statesman, we expect his apology soonest and if he fails to do so, we will want him to know that he is not welcome to step in any of the Oke-Ogun communities.
“The former President dampened the joy of all Iseyin residents who all trooped out to welcome the Governor for his good gestures over the development of the community and Oke-Ogun in general but took exception to the former President’s attitude.”
All these call for sober reflection! Are they ominous signs of the gods’ protestation? Julius Caesar’s “beast without a heart” augury comes to mind here. Why must the march be immersed in so much ill-bolding?
For the umpteenth time, students, ex-students, staff (academic and non-academic), parents, guardians and Ogbomoso people appeal to the amiable Governor Makinde to deign to reconsider. Let another programme begin at the Iseyin campus. Won’t it be in everyone’s best interest to abort the obsession to rob Peter to pay Paul? Let another programme begin at Iseyin!