The Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has attributed his administration’s decision to stop the funding of state-owned tertiary institutions to dwindling financial resources and the need for the managers of the institutions to be more creative.
The governor made the disclosure during the dedication of a multi-million Naira Vice Chancellor’s Lodge donated to the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Wole Olanipekun.
The Oyo State Government had conveyed the stoppage of subventions to all state-owned tertiary institutions to their chief executives in a September 20, 2016 memo.
The letter stated that the institutions should no longer expect subventions, whether for any arrears, current or future expenses in running the schools from the state government.
The government’s decision, which took immediate effect had left the management of the institutions confused and unsure of their fate in the face of the development.
When asked how the schools would be expected to survive and remain afloat as a result of the sudden decision, the governor, while addressing reporters at the dedication programme, however, denied that the subventions to the institutions had been stopped completely.
Rather, he said that the government had only reduced the subvention to the institution to 25 percent, assuring that the government would continue to support the institutions with the fund as a sign of its commitment to their well-being.
Ajimobi explained that the way to go for better funding and management of education was through the participation of all stakeholders, including parents, philanthropists and the private sector.
He said, “Looking at the economic situation of the country and in the whole world, we have dwindling oil revenue. It has affected virtually all aspects of our socio-economic life and we are unable to really cope. Therefore, we believe that apart from the dwindling resources, all Nigerians must participate in education.
“Education is participatory. It is not for the government alone or for the government alone to pay for education. We believe that parents, teachers, everybody must participate. What we are witnessing here today, for me, exemplifies our belief in participatory education.
“Here is an individual, a great Nigerian, an accomplished legal luminary, who on his own, has built several institutions.
“In the University of Ibadan, he built the Law Library. He is replicating something similar at Ajayi Crowther University, where he has donated the VC’s Lodge. Nigerians must emulate this man. Nigerians must contribute to education and the development of our children.”
He also pointed out that managers of government-owned institutions need to work hard to block leakages and be creative in serving their communities.
“We are still supporting the tertiary institutions. We have not cancelled subventions completely. We have reduced it from 100 per cent to 25 per cent. And we see many loopholes and leakages gulping revenue.
“They should go and plug them. We believe that they can raise Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) through efficient management of their resources, through plugging of leakages and through offering various services to the community.
“They agreed. You can see that private institutions are not taking subventions from anybody. Education is not absolutely free. Nothing is absolutely free,” Governor Ajimobi said.
The governor also seized the opportunity to address the crisis rocking the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
He said, “Before we came in 2010, the former governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala and his Osun State counterpart then, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, had an agreement to transfer LAUTECH to Oyo State. But Governor Rauf Aregbesola went to court, and the case got to the Supreme Court.
“In 2012, the court gave a judgment that co-ownership of LAUTECH by both states remained unbroken. The judgment held that unless both owners sit down and agree, no party can singlehandedly decide to severe the relationship.
“Agreed that Osun State is not paying as it should be paying, Oyo State has paid substantially more than Osun has paid. What we are saying now is for us to sit down and see the need for co-owners to fulfill our obligations.”