Aregbesola’s Paris Club Fund: Workers’ salaries or LAUTECH?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

Thirty-four thousand students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) have been at home since 2015. Reason: the Governments of Osun and Oyo States have refused to meet the demands of their lecturers.

At the same time, Osun owes a backlog of salaries, stretching more than a calendar year. This was supposedly part of the reason for Rauf Aregbesola’s inability to rouse a campaign in Osun West Senatorial district against PDP’s Ademola Adeleke who has now taken the Senate seat.

From the new tranche of the Paris Club refund, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has received not less than N6.3bn. Governor Ajimobi of Oyo State received N7.9bn, both amounting to over N14bn. The two states have joint custody over the tertiary institution, and the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) has called on both Governments to channel the Paris Club refund to returning the students to campus.

It can only be imagined what psychological strains the students have had to bear for staying so long away from school, especially those who should have probably graduated by now and perhaps perform their National Youth Service. As many have observed, it is a dangerous circumstance that thousands of virile young persons are helplessly staying at home without nothing reasonable to do. From among them could emerge an unwanted breed of persons who will harm the society, and that is not restricted to the Osun-Oyo environments.

But then, there are the civil servants who have been owed for long years, many of whom are possibly parents of the children at home. For a parent who has been owed and with a child or ward at home, the burden would have been quite overbearing.

Focusing exclusively the funds on either problem will not drive to the heart of the sufferings of the people; both will have to be solved to reasonable extents. The students have to return to school to forestall further decay, and the workers should be able to financially support the students’ return back to continue and finish their academic responsibilities.

This second tranche should not pass without something definite on both issues if either Government claims to have a focus on the people.

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