The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has appealed to the striking state-owned higher institutions that his administration is prepared to increase their subventions.
The governor said this would be achieved as soon as government’s renewed efforts to improve its revenue-base begin to bear fruits.
Ajimobi, who made the appeal while inaugurating the governing councils of the tertiary institutions owned by the state, at the Governor’s Office, Ibadan sought the understanding of the striking workforce.
The affected institutions are The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa; College of Education, Lanlate; The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo; and the College of Agriculture and Technology, Igbo-Ora.
The workers had embarked on strike due to irregular payment of salaries, which they blamed on the decision of the state government to reduce their subventions to 25 percent of the original sum.
The government had, in turn, emphasized that the dwindling accruals to the state, triggered by the pervading recession, called for belt-tightening measures, including a reduction in subventions to MDAs.
In his address to the new governing council chairmen, the governor had explained that it was wrong to tie payment of salaries of tertiary institutions to the discretionary subventions coming from the government.
He explained that it was the responsibility of the governing council of the institutions to mobilize revenue for the running of the institutions, including payment of salaries, while the government augments with subvention that it could afford.
Ajimobi said, “For varying lengths of time, the institutions have been shut down by the trade unions who are demanding prompt payment of salaries and allowances to their members. This is a challenging time in the lives of these institutions you are coming in.
“Let it be noted that the state government is not responsible for the payment of salaries and allowances to staff of tertiary institutions. The government is simply obliged to assist these institutions through the periodic release of subventions, as it is the global practice.
“The current recession in the state, in particular, has necessitated 25 per cent reduction in our traditional subvention figures since April 2016. This should hopefully be revised upward as soon as the economy of the state improves.”
The governor tasked the new governing council members to evolve new strategies towards rejigging the institutions with ideas and management strategies that would make each of them stronger.
To be self-sustaining, he challenged them to work out their survival and growth strategies through revenue generation from traditional sources and other ingenious means.
Ajimobi said, “We expect you to breathe a new lease of life into these institutions rather than come as a new set of problems in search of solutions.
“The governing council, as in all tertiary institutions, is the ultimate authority of the institution. Generally, you are responsible for the overall management of the affairs of the institutions and the deliberate promotion of their objectives.
“I am persuaded that you are equal to the task of actualizing the desire of this government. After all, it is usually in the character of the valiant to confront adversity head-on. I therefore implore you all to go forth and demonstrate creativity, commitment required to succeed in the onerous task ahead.”
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the Chairman, Governing Board of The polytechnic, Ibadan, Professor Adebayo Adeyemi, thanked the governor for counting them worthy of the assignments.
He promised that the councils would hit the ground running on resumption of academic activities at all the institutions, adding that short, medium and long-term strategies would be used to turn around the fortune of the institutions.
Adeyemi said, “On behalf of others, I want to appreciate the administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi for taking time out and being meticulous in selecting members of these councils.
“I assure all the people of the state that normal academic work will start soon in all the institutions as we all have met before this inauguration to discuss and find solutions to this; and also to find short, medium and long-term strategies to help drive knowledge economy in Oyo State.”