After many years since my graduation from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, I finally set foot on the LAUTECH campus this weekend for both the investiture and convocation ceremony as an appointee of the current administration led by Governor Seyi Makinde. The level at which the institution is on a road to greatness with the frantic effort of my Governor, Seyi Makinde in the last four years, so delights the heart.
Who else could have done this better than Governor Makinde, considering how popular and admired the institution has become, is my only quip. Unlike how horrible things were back then, in 2016. During this time, both the Non-Academic Staff Union and the Academic Staff union were always on internal strike even before the National ASUU strike due to unpaid salaries.
Then, the school massive structures were overtaken by weeds, such that reptiles and other dangerous animals always found a haven in the school. A period in which many students had to procure another JAMB forms to secure fresh admission to some other schools without even minding their levels and how far they have gone or they had invested in the school.
From my investigation, ever since the founding of the school, there has never been a time like that when it was involved in protracted closure that even goats and other dangerous animals were the one visiting the senate building. You could see how bad the situation was under the previous administration.
A very tense situation such that every student woke up everyday to the nightmarish quagmire of hopelessness as a result of lack of thought of those at the helms of affair in Osun and Oyo states; who were members of All Progressives Congress (APC). And whose children were far tucked away in the comfort zone of ivy league education in Western capital.
Our disquiet then was their own soothing balm. They relished our compromised education as they gaze lovingly at the opulent education of their own children abroad. The pains and sadness that creeped in was fueled and given flesh by the tortured thought of a blissful future that beckons teasingly at other undergraduates in private institutions.
The effect was inimical that many LAUTECH graduates were always due for service even before graduation and could not in anywhere compete for juicy employment. However, some in the NYSC service were also either over age or in their late thirties (30s) as compared to graduates from private institutions between 20-24 age.
It was a bad experience, and I must sincerely confess that books even forgotten the classes, tables and chairs in lecture theaters were rust, bushes found leisure, whilst goats and other animals were the students’ representatives on campus. So bad and pathetic, I must say!
The case of LAUTECH was so ironical to the obvious fact that two heads always better than one. The two heads were not helping and such that the situation got so alarming having someone like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is now the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the Chancellor of the institution.
The frustration was so high in 2015/2016 that no student could even think of a way to pacify his/her self as suicidal tendency continued to well up in everyone at every minute. We were out of school for several months and there was persistent sense of frustration and pointlessness that daily jar our sensibilities.
The disruption in the academic programs was a strong disservice to students. We were discouraged from learning. Except for few of us, during the strike, most students were involved in anti-social, counter-cultural activities such as sexual immorality, cyber scam, pool- betting, unnecessary gossips, watching of films, and reading comic materials for entertainment purposes rather than reading their books.
The unnecessary hoax semester-break, coupled with ASUU strike for several months did not only breed disappointment and frustration but emotional and psychological trauma as well as causing unpreparedness on the part of the students and lack of motivation for effective learning.
But all thanks to Governor Seyi Makinde, who is able to change the narrative and making the institution to bounce back and now becoming a dream of its founding fathers. His significant contribution and impact within the last three years over the institution has not only given both the students and staff a respite but has continued to make the institution a cynosure of all eyes and has tremendously improved the economy of Ogbomoso ancient town who largely feed on students.
Makinde, without leaving any stone unturned was able to secure the full ownership of LAUTECH to Oyo State Government in November 2020.
The governor, while speaking exclusively with the Nigerian Tribune’s Board of Editors on the achievements of his administration in the educational sector said when his administration came on board and evaluated the situation of things at the institution, it was discovered that the joint ownership was not working in the best interests of the students.
He added that students of the institution were forced to spend more than the expected years for their respective courses as a result of the non-working joint ownership.
It is unarguable that not only LAUTECH had enjoyed unprecedented development within the last three years of Governor Makinde but Emmanuel Alayande College of Education with an upgrade to a fully-fledged university of education as well as the stabilization of academic activities at the First Technical University, Ibadan.
The governor’s love for education is second to none as he recently employed over 5,000 teachers among others. No fewer than 60,000 out-of-school students in Oyo State have also been returned to classes with the provision of free notebooks and textbooks by the state government.
I’ve read countlessly several appraisal on Governor Seyi Makinde for his overall revamping of the educational sector in the state especially the one coming from the LAUTECH community in which the Governor was described as a very dynamic administrator for making the institution a conventional university within first term reign.
According to the school management, Makinde’s performance in the outgoing term endeared him to the people of the Pacesetter State and admonished the Governor to go ahead to deliver further dividends of democracy.
The management noted that the people of Oyo State were exposed to new ways of achieving greatness for residents and indigenes of the State, in political office during this time and therefore could not have wished for a change in the leadership of the State.
“We see his victory as designed by God for the people to pay back good deeds”.
“To us, it is for him to attain perfection in demonstrating good governance and establish acceptable ways of doing things.
“We Pray to God to uphold him and grant him the wherewithal to do more”.
Yes, this is the time LAUTECH students can confidently say that education is the key to success and they now have the key with the smooth and uninterrupted academic activities. It really feel so good to be part of observers at the institution’s investiture and Convocation ceremony and also to see my younger ones graduating seamlessly.
Oyedeji Ahmed (LMP) is an alumnus of LAUTECH
Senior Special Assistant to Oyo Deputy Governor
writes from LAUTECH,
Can be reached via 08064372225