The highly publicised protest by students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho, over the seven-month closure of the institution ended in controversy over the cash gift given to them by Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
As promised earlier, the students took to the streets en masse in a massive protest on Monday, January 9, 2017, demanding the immediate re-opening of the institution.
As earlier reported, students from various universities gathered in their hundreds for the protest in Ibadan, Oyo state which is one of the owner states of the university.
Premium Times reports that Mr. Ajimobi agreed to meet with their representatives in a bid to assure them of his commitment to the reopening of the university before the end of the month as he had earlier promised.
According to the reports, the governor reportedly gave money to the tune of N500,000 for the entertainment of the representatives.
Not so surprising was the disagreement that ensued amongst the representatives as to the sharing of the money, the protest quickly abandoned as it melted into a free-for-all outside the State Secretariat office of the governor.
Speaking with Premium Times, One of the student leaders, Fawole Isreal, said that the commotion occurred because the representatives who collected the money chose to spray it on the protesters.
Meanwhile, an aide to the president of the Senate of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Olanrewaju Umar, blamed the commotion on the student leaders of LAUTECH for collecting money from the governor, while another LAUTECH student, Oyedeji Ahmed, condemned the governor’s gesture.
“At a time when Oyo cannot pay salaries, why will the governor give out N500, 000 to students?” Mr. Ahmed added that the gesture was an encouragement of “corruption”.
However, the Senior Assistant to the Governor on Youth and Students Affairs, Bolaji Azeez, was quick to defend Mr Ajimobi, maintaining that he only acted “as a caring father”.
As earlier reported, LAUTECH has been close down since June 2016 over some lingering crisis as well as disagreements between the two owner states.
The owner states have now promised to reopen on February 1, 2017, adding that they would each be contributing N200 million in an intervention Fund which will be used to settle lecturers outstanding salaries and allowances.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ajimobi is scheduled to meet with leaders of the university’s branch of the Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, as part of the process of resolving the crisis that has kept the school closed for seven months.