The Governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, says he is collaborating with his Osun State counterpart, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, to ensure that academic activities resume at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, latest by the end of January.
The governor dropped the hint in a statement by his spokesman Mr Yomi Layinka, after a meeting with the national, zonal and state leadership of the students’ unions in his office, on Friday evening.
Ajimobi said that the decision was reached after another round of discussions by the stakeholders including Aregbesola and LAUTECH Vice Chancellor, Professor. Adeniyi Gbadegesin, aimed at finding a lasting solution to the debacle.
The university had been grounded for close to eight months due to the strike by the academic and non-academic staff of the university over unpaid salaries and emoluments.
Meanwhile, in another development, the statement added that Ajimobi had ordered the immediate reopening of the five secondary schools shut in the wake of students’ arson attack on some schools in protest against the cancellation of automatic promotion in public schools.
The affected schools are Isale Oyo Community High School, Oyo; Anglican Methodist Secondary School, Oyo; Oba Adeyemi High School, Oyo; Ojoo High School, Ibadan; and Community Secondary School, Iyana Idi Ose, Ibadan.
Ajimobi said he took the decision in deference to pleas by stakeholders and respected members of the society that the schools be reopened.
On the LAUTECH prolonged strike, Mr Ajimobi and Aregbesola, had led top officials of the state to a meeting in Ibadan, last October, to proffer a lasting to the lingering disagreement.
Representatives of the two owner states had met last Tuesday in Osogbo to agree on the way out of the crisis prior to Friday’s round of talks culminating in the agreement to reopen the school.
In the furtherance of the consultations, Governor Ajimobi had again met with the representatives of the students unions at the Executive Council chambers of his office, on Friday.
The team was led by the Senate President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Salam Olajide; General Secretary, NANS, South-West zone, Olanrewaju Oloja; and General Secretary, Joint Campus Committee, NANS, Oyo State, Farouk Musa.
A statement issued after the meeting read: “The delegation had sought audience with the governor to plead with him to facilitate the urgent reopening of the university.
“While thanking the student delegation for their concerns, the governor explained that the two owner states regret the huge loss of valuable time to all stakeholders, especially the students whose academic calendar has been significantly disrupted by the prolonged closure.
“He, however, stated that this was due to the constraints currently being experienced on account of the debilitating effects of the recession on the two governor’s capacities to meet the demands of the striking workers.
“He regretted the fact that despite all efforts at persuading the striking workers to resume they refused to yield grounds. He, however, announced that the schools would be reopened on or before February 1 going by the level of his discussions with his Osun State counterpart, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
“With today’s pronouncement, it is hoped that all stakeholders including the management, staff and students of LAUTECH will begin to put adequate machinery in place preparatory to full resumption of academic and non-academic activities in the university”.