Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has addressed the issues surrounding the strike action by some state-owned tertiary institutions, declaring that the state will resolve the matter within this month.
The governor, however, explained that the decision to engage Platinum Consultants, which is the crux of the matter between the state and some of the institutions, became imperative to ensure transparency and accountability in the system.
According to the governor, his administration’s desire to improve the quality of education in the state had led to its scaling up the subventions to tertiary institutions up to 100 per cent from the 50 per cent, which the last administration raised it in the last days of the government.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor, who spoke shortly after inaugurating the Governing Council of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, said that the government had to engage Platinum Consultants to look into the Internally Generated Revenue activities in the tertiary institutions.
The governor maintained that the government resorted to hiring consultants because financial activities in the institutions were opaque and that the institutions were not ready to embrace transparency in their transactions.
He said: “Let me also use this opportunity to talk about the lingering crisis at The Polytechnic Ibadan. Though most of the other tertiary institutions that embarked on the strike action have backed off, it is remaining only The Polytechnic Ibadan.
“The students were at the Secretariat the other day to make their grievances known and we listened to them. But I must make this very clear; we would not have got into this situation if those schools’ governing councils did their jobs transparently and honestly.
“What were the issues they were talking about? They were saying they don’t want Platinum Consultants and other things. But we had to resort to hiring consultants because of the opacity of their transactions.
“The day before the previous administration left, they moved the higher institutions’ subvention from 25 per cent to 50 per cent and from that 50 per cent, we moved it to 100 per cent. We said we would take it on because education is one of the major pillars of this administration.
“But I said to them that if we are moving on with 100 per cent subventions, you should also be open with your IGR. We watched the situation for several months and we did not hear anything about the IGR. As a result of that, we hired a consultant.”
Governor Makinde, who assured students and stakeholders in the state that the government would take the decision that will be in the best interest of all stakeholders and the progress of the state, charged the managements of tertiary institutions to accept that the old order of lack of transparency in the financial activities of institutions has gone for good.
“We know that they [the institutions] are unwilling to accept that the old order of things is gone, but it is gone really. Well, we will be making a decision about the next steps this month but I believe anyone protesting has the right to do so. But it must be done with the future of the students of those institutions in mind because time is money. If they keep wasting their time, courses that they are supposed to finish in two years, because they are spending a lot of time protesting and disrupting academic activities, they (the students) will bear the brunt.
“We are here to work together; to resolve this problem. So, we should be making a decision within this month. Let me reassure the students and all well-meaning stakeholders that whatever decision we take will be in the interest of progress and they also need to know that sometimes, we need to make sacrifices so that future generations may benefit,” the governor added.