The dust raised over the relocation of the Faculty of Agriculture, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) from Ogbomoso to Iseyin is yet to settle.
LAUTECH is one of the tertiary institutions owned by the Oyo State government.
It was named after Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, a former Premier of the defunct western region.
The institution was jointly owned and controlled by both Oyo and Osun states until a few years ago when it was ceded to the Oyo state government.
DAILY POST report that Governor Seyi Makinde recently created a campus of LAUTECH in Iseyin town, which will house the faculty of agriculture.
The Iseyin campus christened College of Agricultural Science and Renewable Natural Resource is located along Iseyin-Okeho road.
The development has sparked controversy among the indigenes of two cities- Ogbomoso and Iseyin.
Indigenes of Ogbomoso are kicking against the relocation, noting that the governor should instead create new faculties for the Iseyin campus rather than move existing ones.
Ogbomoso students, under the auspices of Federation of Ogbomoso Students Union (FOGSU), LAUTECH chapter, made their views known during a recent protest.
The indigenes, who were joined by some commercial motorcyclists during the protest, maintained that they were not against the establishment of Iseyin campus but the relocation of the faculty to Iseyin.
President, FOGSU, LAUTECH chapter, Olarinde Muyideen Olamide, in his speech, advised the state government to begin new faculties at Iseyin.
He said, “We are having a peaceful protest this morning concerning the issue of relocation of faculty of agriculture LAUTECH to Iseyin.
“We are not against development in any other part of the state, what we are just saying is that moving the faculty of agriculture out of LAUTECH will cause more damage than good. What about all facilities tailored towards agriculture already in LAUTECH? Most of that will go to waste or require extra money to reconfigure.
“So, let them begin entirely new faculties at Iseyin whether agriculture or any other. But moving an existing one in LAUTECH should not be contemplated. We are pleading with the government”.
A 500-level Urban and Regional Planning student, Adeniran Timilehin Samuel, in his own contribution, described the faculty as the oldest in the institution.
He said, “This is one of the longest existing faculties in LAUTECH, it is a cardinal faculty. It is holding over 10,000 students, so how possible will a government seek to move it away.
“So as students and indigenes, we are expressing concern this should not be done. It is like seeking to end LAUTECH in Ogbomoso.
“They say they want to establish new faculties. Why can’t they establish those in Iseyin? Why must you take an existing one away when a new one can be established there? Let them rather go and start the new faculties in Iseyin. We had tried to engage the authorities in the past both at the state and LAUTECH levels but we were rebuffed. This is not a popular decision.
“At Iseyin campus they don’t have facilities, no accommodation, no hostels, there is even the problem of insecurity. Governor Makinde should reconsider his stand.”
Don’t allow yourself to be used by politicians – Oke Ogun indigenes warn Ogbomoso students
Meanwhile, indigenes of Oke Ogun zone have appealed to their counterparts from Ogbomoso not to allow themselves to be used by desperate politicians.
A coalition of youth organisations and students from Oke Ogun made this declaration during a press conference in Iseyin.
Those who spoke included members of Progressive Movement of Oke-Ogun (PROMO), Iseyin Youths Development Group (IYDG), Ebedi Frontliners, Iseyin (EFI), Ebedi Renaissance, Iseyin (ERI) and Federation of Iseyin Local Government Students (FILGS).
They called on members of FOGSU not to allow themselves to be used by disgruntled politicians to drive a wedge between Ogbomoso and Iseyin townships, as the two ancient communities shared communal culture and development over time.
Babajide Oniyo, the Coordinator of Iseyin Youths Development Group (IYDG), told journalists that “Our attention has been drawn to a petition and protest initiated by some unscrupulous elements under the guise of Federation of Ogbomoso Students Union (FOGSU) to stop the commencement of Academic Academic activities of LAUTECH College of Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources, Iseyin campus slated for May, 2023.
“This call is highly destructive, inciting and capable of destroying the state’ peace, hence calling on concerned authorities to identify and deal decisively with those behind this satanic move.
“It’s surprising that a reasonable organisation could descend so low to release such a statement and still be proud to sign the same without being shameful. We have gotten the notice of the protest which was secretly circulated amongst the group, hence calling the concerned authorities to forestall the breakdown of law and order.
“We have also gone through the petition addressed to the People’s Governor, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde through one online news platform, and we cannot fathom any reasonable, authentic and substantial points other than malicious, unfounded, inciting, selfish and destructive points capable of throwing the state into confusion, destruction and anarchy.
“In the petition, FOGSU noted its displeasure over the proposed relocation of the Faculty of Agriculture to Iseyin. Worried about what would become of the Facility built in Ogbomosho for the same, it also stated that the students were given admissions for a 5 years course in Ogbomoso and not Iseyin. Hence, its grievances.
“The body should be schooled that government policies have procedures and the same have been completed for the relocation of the said faculty and the establishment of LAUTECH College of Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources in Iseyin. The process successfully scaled through 1st, 2nd and 3rd readings in the Oyo plenary and was assented to by the Governor.
“They should be reminded that the well read legislators, including members from Ogbomoso zone, are representing the interest of the entire state and have found same to be in order, hence, passage of same to become law.
“It’s then sufficient to state that any association calling for the premature termination of this State’s well thought plan is an enemy of the state and should be treated as such by the government and concerned authorities.
“In addition, if the Association is one to reckon with and has been following the trend and is abreast of the state’s happenings, it could have known that the state already has plans for making LAUTECH a conventional University where other disciplines like law, Education, Medicine and others will be read, such that other zones can also have a feel of government presence and Education will be available for the kith and kin.
“It is worthy of note that the Iseyin Campus which is still undergoing serious construction already has 500-Seater Lecture Theater, 500-Seater Auditorium and College Administrative Complex, contrary to FOGSU malicious position that the Iseyin facilities are inadequate to receive the 200-level students slated for resumption in May.
“Furthermore, for the ease of movement and access, the Oyo State Government has constructed a road linking Iseyin and Ogbomoso. What else can these students do to discredit the good work of His Excellency, Governor Oluseyi Makinde who’s always on fairness, equity and justice.
“Outside the watery position of FOGSU, It should be noted that Iseyin and the entire Oke-Ogun has always been a friend of Ogbomoso and has since time immemorial been cooperative to all Ogbomoso development. This history is verifiable.”
National President of Progressive Movement of Oke-Ogun (PROMO), Hammed Saheed Adeyemi, urged the protesting FOGSU members not to look at the development from the parochial angle of the University domiciling in their community, but the general good that will come to neighbouring communities if the College commence operation in Iseyin, part of which is the newly-constructed Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso road that has become an answered prayer for the Oke-Ogun and Ogbomoso people.
“The rational, educated and well informed people of Oke-Ogun and Oyo State at large supports and appreciates the ingenuity of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Abiodun Makinde not only for the peaceful dialogue to take absolute control of the great citadel of learning but also to think of multi campus system which will improve the economic and social development of many other regions and cities in the state.
“This focus on urbanisation and job creation have started to materialise as a lot of people participated in the construction of the Institution among other areas of job creation. It is of no doubt also that the social status of Oke-Ogun has improved from a region without any university to one hosting a modernised infrastructural campus.
“Students’ resumption to this university will improve the lives of many and will also improve the state’s revenue. However, it is very unfortunate that some set of people or groups, ‘likely sponsored’, are planning to frustrate the success of this project by going against student’s resumption.
“We call on such individuals or groups that doing so means declaring war against the Oke-Ogun region and such won’t be taken lightly. We will respond to them in the language they understand if they proceed with such a hidden agenda.”
Meanwhile, Federation of Iseyin Local Government Students (FILGS), has said there is no going back on the resumption of the College in Iseyin.
National President of FILGS, Andrew Adisa called on the Governor to ignore those calling for the suspension of the College’s resumption.
“Their so-called views or protests are nothing but an act of political biases and regional hatred. Many universities and colleges have multi campuses and are functioning absolutely well. Why should the case of LAUTECH be different? Why should some regions take themselves too superior to others?
“Why will some regions be left underdeveloped? Many schools run multi campus system and run them perfectly like the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Osun State University (UNIOSUN), UniUyo, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Delta State University (DELSU), FUOYE, Lagos State University (LASU) among others, ours will not be an exception,” he said.
No going back on relocation of agriculture faculty to Iseyin- Oyo government
As the controversy rages, the Oyo state government has declared that there is no going back on its plan to move the faculty of agriculture from Ogbmooso to Iseyin campus.
The government noted that the establishment of the College of Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources, Iseyin has become law.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in the state, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun made these declarations while speaking with DAILY POST.
He added that more faculties and departments are coming to Ogbomoso.
He appealed to the residents of Ogbomoso not to nurse any fear over the movement of the faculty.
He said, “It is now a law. No going back on the relocation of agriculture faculty to Iseyin. Many faculties are now going to Ogbomoso.
“LAUTECH is now a conventional university and faculties like Law and Humanities that have students more than science courses are coming to Ogbomoso.
“I am now using this opportunity to appeal to Ogbomoso people to allow the relocation. More faculties are coming to Ogbomoso. It is a win-win thing”.