The information made available to the outside world is that Ogun state government has declared free education in primary and secondary schools. Yes, that’s true. But what they won’t tell people is that our universities are in shambles. What then is the point of laying a firm foundation of good education in primary and secondary schools and then spoil the foundation in the university.
My decision to use Olabisi Onabanjo University as case study is because it is my school, and as such, all information given are firsthand and reliable.
Olabisi Onabanjo University is an institution going through different forms of deterioration. Infrastructurally, OOU is poor. Financially, OOU has been looted into debt. Talk of lecturers, OOU has lost the best of them all. Leadership wise, OOU is governed by clueless people both on the part of the school management and the student union, talk of security, OOU is insecure, welfarism has been relegated to the background.
In a university seen as the main university in Ogun state, it is sad to see that OOU has fallen short of structural standards. It is a fact that OOU has equipmentless laboratories. The laboratories have been converted into emergency classrooms due to the insufficient lecture halls in the school. The libraries are stocked with outdated books. Laboratories can no longer boast of equipments. Someone really needs to start asking questions as to how some courses were accredited in OOU. The visitation panel that visited OOU should be summoned to a panel to ask them the criteria used to pass OOU. We have cases where some students write examinations on their feet, and yet we say we are in a university. Let the Amosun-led government come out and tell the world when last he invested in OOU and how much he gave OOU. Let him tell us how many buildings he has renovated.
Anyone conversant with the ongoings in OOU will know that NASU, SSANU and NAAT just came back from a strike action. They accused the Vice chancellor of mismanaging OOU financially. The truth is that OOU has faced many financial mismanagements in time past. The faulty cars and buses in OOU have been sold cheaply and no one is accounting for why it was sold and where the money has gone. Contributions of staff members in the cooperative society have been spent by the leadership of the school. Salaries are being owed and students are being made to pay for this.
The politicizing of the educational sector is what caused the emergence of somebody like Alex O as Chancellor in OOU. His reign then was a reign of terror. He sacked lecturers without fear and turned the school to an institution short of lecturers. There are some departments that don’t have a professor, there are some that don’t even have a Dr. There are even some departments with just 3 or 4 lecturers and they are expected to teach 9, 10 courses.
One of the major problems of OOU is that unqualified and undeserving leaders are put at the helm of affairs. At the management level, a man whose rise from Dr to Professor is controversial, and who was known to be a lazy man in his days as lecturer was chosen to be the vice-chancellor. At the student level, cowards and traitors who have no interest of the students at heart emerge as union leaders and later turn against the students they swore to protect so as to allign themselves with the anti-students school management.
Security in OOU is poor. Just entering the school and seeing aged men guarding the school gate is enough to discourage you. Little wonder, men of the underworld can penetrate and wreak havoc without resistance, and cult groups intimidate students even under their noses.
The last time a graduation ceremony was conducted in OOU will be 7 or 8 years ago. There has been no promotion exercise for the lecturers for the past 6 or 7 years. Students going for Industrial training and teaching practice are being charged by the school to pay for lecturer’s transport.
If OOU is to retake its place as an institution of great repute, the state government needs to be more involved in running the school. Money should be pumped into the school to renovate the lecture halls. Laboratories should be stocked with equipments and apparatus. Libraries should be stocked with up-to-date books. Politics should no longer influence the emergence of leaders in the governing council and school management role, but people who are passionate about education and who have good plans on how to reshapen our educational sector should be chosen to lead. Qualified lecturers should be employed to take the university forward. Those who are found guilty of having a hand in running OOU down should be dismissed.
God bless OOU!
God bless Ogun State!!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
By Ogunjimi James Taiwo