LAUTECH faculty of agric: Another lecturer issued query, as parents lament, ‘It can’t work’
To declare that the Iseyin campus of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo state, has begun on a wobbly note is to say the obvious. Students have refused to move to the new campus citing various reasons; parents have been up in arms; lecturers are bitterly frowning; even as within a spate of five days two lecturers have been issued query for “acts of sabotage” on the issue.
ogbomosoinsightonline.com reported last week that a lecturer of the department of agricultural economics and extension, Dr Wole Adeleke, was issued query by the provost of the new campus – faculty of agricultural sciences and renewable natural resources – for allegedly releasing a video recorded showing he met only a student in class when he went to teach. The video went viral.
The provost, Professor Jacob Gbemiga Adewale, perhaps perceived the video as embarrassing, as it unveiled the true picture of things at the campus and so slammed Dr Adeleke with the query.
Following Adeleke’s response to the query, possibly mentioning he only passed the video to his HOD, Prof Funke Olagunju, as confirmation of his attending class in Iseyin, the HOD became the butt of anger and hence, she was handed his own query on Monday afternoon, ogbomosoinsightonline.com learnt authoritatively. Dr Adeleke’s mobile phone however did not connect when calls were made to it.
The two hundred level students directed to resume second semester at Iseyin have refused to move out and the few ones that have gone there are returning citing unfavourable conditions.
“I went to Iseyin but what I discovered is not favourable,” a student, Kayode Adefila said. “The school is far from the town, it is in the outskirt. The Iseyin community is not prepared for the institution. There is no accommodation even in the town centre. The facilities at the campus are obviously inadequate, no laboratory, no experimental farms, nothing.”
This was corroborated by another student who however spoke on condition of anonymity stating that the “government just wants to expose us to danger, and derail our academic pursuit. The plan is insensitive.”
A parent, who gave his name simply as Alhaji Kamoru, speaking with Ogbomoso Insight Tuesday similarly cried, and begged the governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, to reconsider.
“I paid for my child’s accommodation three months ago, I paid a rent of N100, 000 for a year. Now, I had gone to Iseyin to find out the situation of things, what we came back with is perplexing. Accommodation at Iseyin we discovered ranged from between N120, 000 and N180, 000. And these are mostly mud houses very far from the campus thus students will spend a fortune daily to get to school. Where is the money in the face of the current economic hardship!
“Aside that, many landlords want to take the rent to complete their building promising if we pay they will quickly complete the housing project. So, they want to take money from us and start looking for way to complete the building. During that time where will the students live? This arrangement of moving students to Iseyin cannot work. It is ill-thought. In Ogbomoso, many students squat and siblings live together thereby cutting costs. It cannot just work, the governor should have a rethink.”
Another student submitted, “Many of us are even considering withdrawing from the school. We cannot cope with the harsh reality of relocating to Iseyin. They have not put us into consideration. There is also the problem of insecurity. Some of us reported they narrowly escaped from suspected kidnappers on the way. It is an open secret that Iseyin and all Oke-Ogun zone are in the grips of kidnappers, why expose us to such danger? Many have said they will rather withdraw and write UTME again and choose other universities.”
Mr. Adekambi Kehinde, also a parent fumed, “Iseyin cannot accommodate such number of students, 1, 533 students. Even LAUTECH when it started had only about 430 students. It is archaic to move students from one place to another in that manner when there are several alternatives. We learnt the original plan was to start new programmes at the Iseyin campus.
“Programmes like forestry, aquaculture, renewable natural resources and so on are not presently available in the faculty of agriculture in Ogbomoso and so new students should have been admitted as pioneers for these new courses and new lecturers employed or any of the present lecturers willing to go there be allowed to go there. Or as they are now saying, begin an institute of agricultural research and training or livestock research there.
“Why are some people bent on disrupting the smooth running of the faculty? We heard it is the provost, Prof Adewale and a few people who are behind this plan for selfish interest. We heard he wants to be vice chancellor of LAUTECH and he has been promised by some interest who want to shortchange Ogbomoso that he will be given the exalted post if he succeeds in bringing the faculty to Iseyin. That is preposterous.
“Why make young children pawns in his game of chess! Go and find out, 99 percent of the lecturers and non-academic staff are against the move. But because he is close to the commissioner of education, who is also an Oke-Ogun person, we learnt, he is forcing the thing against popular wish. The acting vice chancellor Prof Kalilu wants to get confirmed as substantive vice chancellor too and so he keeps mute, his authority has been hijacked.
“He should have been the one directing how the Iseyin campus should unfold in the best interest of everybody but inexplicably he is not saying anything, he just is playing along, meaning he is complicit. The governor despite all the pleas did not say anything yet we understand his instruction was to put a satellite campus in Iseyin, the management should have been the one to design what will happen there, how it will pan out but some people hijacked the process for their own notorious ambition and the VC indulges them for his own ambition too, allowing himself to be cowed. This is too bad.”
A don in the faculty who spoke anonymously also fumed, “Many professors are senior to Prof Adewale in the faculty but he won’t listen to anyone. He has arrogated all powers to himself, issuing querying upon querying to anyone whom he deems is negating his interest. What is his legacy when he headed Oyo State College of Agriculture, Igbo-Ora? The governor needs to intervene. Two weeks have passed now, wasted, without students being taught because they have refused to go to Iseyin. If lecturers, students and parents cannot be convinced or cajoled to move to Iseyin then something fundamentally is wrong with the implementation.
“How will lecturers go there when there is no accommodation? Many of us teach 200 level students and other levels, so, how convenient will it be for us to teach at two campuses 76kms apart? It is like frittering away resources, and endangering us through constant travelings and being exposed to risk of kidnapping. We have investments here, I mean farming, experimental farms, we have built houses in Ogbomoso, and so, a lot of things will be adversely affected. It is ill-conceived. For goodness sake the plan should be aborted. They should allow new programmes to commence at Iseyin and facilities both within and without the campus will grow gradually, at commensurate pace. New lecturers will be recruited there. The governor should not allow his name to be dragged in infamy.”
In the meantime, the students await the intervention and pronouncement of the governor, “We have protested, we have pleaded, we have articulated reasons, but we have not heard from the governor,” a student leader says.
“We were at Ibadan last week Monday to again plead with the governor but we were only able to meet with his aides. We also met with the officers of the Department of State Security (DSS) who sympathized with us and are also of the view that from the perspective of security, it is ill-advised to move such number of students to Iseyin. So, we expect our father, the governor, to understand our position. We plead with him. We are young children we won’t like to remember him as the leader who spurned our pleas in the face of trial even though there are alternatives that could be taken to alleviate our plight.”