A Stroll Through LAUTECH (Episode 4)

Read Episode 1 HERE, Episode 2 HERE, Episode 3 HERE
“No,” he said. “I can’t see everything happening in this school. But does the school have to be closed for more than a year before you say you want to audit the school account so that you can know how they have spent the money given to them? That itself is a testament to irresponsibility and a lackadaisical attitude towards the school.

“The Osun government said the last time the audit of the school account was done was in 2012. How does that sound? The two governments have been funding the school but didn’t care to know how the money had been spent. Is that the accountable way of running a university? But now they want to make the lecturers the scapegoats.
Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department, Lautech

“Imagine the government telling students and parents to beg the lecturers to corporate with the government. As if we wanted the school to close in the first place. As if we had not gone through hunger and neglect from the government before we started the strike. But now, we are the obstacle to the school’s progress according to the government.
“Now they want us to corporate with them so that they can leave us hungry as they intend to while they continue to feast on the nation’s resources. Have you seen any of the politicians take a pay cut from their big salaries? It is the civil servants that will be owed salary for eleven months. They are fast to blame oil price for that when the oil price never seem to affect their own salaries.
“It is a charade. Anybody who believes the lecturers are more to blame for this problem than the government is not very wise and probably has not been following events in Nigeria. It is just a public relations ploy to deflect people from the real issue.”
Mango tree, Lautech
Mango tree on strike.
“What is the real issue?” Dayo said.
“The real issue is the funding of the university. The governments are not ready to fund the university. And they have based their decision on assumptions. If Uniosun can fund itself, Lautech can, they say. But it is based on assumptions. Have they given you any real figure on the revenue generated by the school compared to her expenses? Is the generated revenue more than expenses? We have given you the figures.
“The generated revenue can’t take care of the expenses. The main way the school can increase her revenue is to increase the school fees. Only the masses will suffer from that. The two states want to proudly claim ownership of the school but shy away from her responsibilities.
“Imagine the governors saying they want to make Lautech the best university in Nigeria. I’ve never heard a bigger irony. You want to make a school the best in the country? Close it down for a year. What would have happened if they wanted to make it the worst university in the country?”
“What do you think is the way out of this problem?”
“The two governments should fund the school. Let the school resume. After that, you can audit the school account and witch hunt anybody you want. Let the school resume. We have already wasted too much time already. The government trying to humiliate us will not solve this problem.”
We proceeded to other matters and chatted about many interesting issues. Dr Badejo was a jovial man when he was not talking about the government. More than an hour later, we left his office and embarked on a long trek to my former department, Electronic and Electrical Engineering.
We went towards the Micom laboratory and sat on a concrete seat constructed under a tree. Minutes later, we went towards the 1200 lecture theatre and the faculty of management sciences. I wanted to see that area of the school. I wanted to see the fine buildings they had constructed since I left school. They are the rich men of Lautech.
Unwanted strike leads to unwanted bush.
As we got to the entrance of the lecture theatre, I could see that it was luckier than M. K. O. lecture theatre, three guys occupied the podium. They were sweating, busy practising boxing, or maybe it was martial arts. It’s difficult to tell the difference these days when Mayweather is fighting McGregor.
We retreated from the lecture theatre. The guys had not even noticed us. That was how busy and focused they were. As we walked towards the faculty of management sciences, I saw two mango trees standing side by side, one of them already withered. We got to the faculty and got attracted to a mango tree. In unison, as if we had an unwritten pact, we both picked stones and threw them at ripe mangos. We had little success with the stones.
Management Sciences, Lautech

Then we saw some sticks lying on the ground, waiting to fulfil their potential. Few minutes later, we devoured the poor mangos with vigour.
“Hmmm,” Dayo hummed, “sweet.” I nodded.
“Brother Kofo,” Dayo said, “did you hear about Fund Lautech?”
“How much have you contributed?”
“Nothing,” I said. He was unable to close his mouth and half-eaten mango was visible between his tongue and teeth.
“I’m broke,” I said.
“You’re always broke.”
“You know how it is now,” I said. “Money is not flowing these days.”
“But you should have at least contributed, no matter how small.”
“Maybe,” I said. “But that is not the main problem. Will Fund Lautech solve the problem we have on ground? I doubt it. I doubt they can gather eight billion naira, the amount owed by the two governments. Even one billion seems almost impossible. Even if they manage that almost impossible feat and the school resumes, will Fund Lautech continue to fund the school?
“It’s unsustainable. This is money owed by the government. Let the government pay up. If possible, find a way to persuade the governors. I don’t’ see any other solution that will work in the long term. Fund Lautech is a good incentive but it should have been done while the school was in session. Probably to fund projects and research in the school. I heard that’s what they want to do in the long term but their project is just too complicated.”
We plucked and ate more mangos till we got tired. We strolled back to Dayo’s hostel at Under G.
The next day, I was on my way to Ibadan. I wondered when Lautech will be resuscitated from the coma she had slid into. There was no hope on the horizon. Not even a mirage of hope.
            Read Episode 1 HERE, Episode 2 HERE, Episode 3 HERE
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