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By: Ade Adeleke
……NANS says governor has Commercialized Ondo Education
……NANS leaders are fighting selfish course
….. Ondo govt must reverse hike in Universities’ tuition
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has accused the Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of turning education sector in the state to business venture, vowing that it will resist various draconian policies of the governor in the education sector.
NANS subsequently declared aluta war between the association and the governor over his refusal to reverse high tuition of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Ondo state University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa (OSUSTECH) and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO).
Addressing journalists in Akure, Ondo state capital, the National President of NANS, Comrade Danielson-Akpan Bamidele said Nigerians students are ready to take their future in their hands following the hard stand of Akeredolu to yield to their demands.
However, the National Association of Ondo state students (NAOSS) rebutted the claims by the NANS President that the Ondo state Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu threatened to close down tertiary institutions in the state.
The NAOSS President’s reaction by the student leaders is coming after an allegation that the NANS President and his team were chased out of the governor’s office on Monday 6th of May 2019.
Addressing the press today in Akure, the National President of the Ondo State students, Comrade Emmanuel-Olarenwaju Akeredolu alleged that the NANS delegates were sponsored to disrupt the peaceful dialogue process between the leadership of students in the state and the state government to review the tuition.
Bamidele who led students’ Union Presidents and other leaders from FUTA, AAUA and other tertiary institutions to the governor’s office on Monday to mediate on the shutting down of AAUA and OSUSTECH over recent hike in school fees and the policy of “no payment: no exam”.
“We have come to the point whereby we will not allow any government to begin to allow to run any state especially the part of it that affects us directly in the manner that pleases he or she”.
“That is the state we have found ourselves in Ondo State where a governor who was elected to sustain the norm, to sustain the democratic principles of the state, one that has been in existence of long before he became governor, a solid and positive one at that. He should not only sustain it but improve on it”.
“But this is different with Gov. Akeredolu because first thing he wants to do when he came into office was to destroy the fabrics of
the society. Starting from the health sector, the relation between the government and civil servant and to our amazement, the educational aspect”.
“Ondo State is known for producing best of the best when it comes to education in this country. It is the bedrock of the country when it come to education. Since the return to democracy in 1999, Ondo State has making education available for all. From primary level to secondary level”.
Bamidele explained that, “Adefarati came he initiated the free education policy, Agagu came he sustained it. Mimiko spent two terms, he consolidated on it but Gov Akeredolu came and destroyed all of that. He didn’t stop at that, he went further by saying he will no longer pay WAEC fee for students of this state. Knowing fully well that it does not cost the state anything to take care of that annually”.
“If it did not cost the three predecessors that came before him anything then he should not complain. Mr. Governor told us he will no longer pay WAEC fees. Again he said education should be commercialize in the state. That is the peak of it. No state can thrive without education”.
“As if that wasn’t enough, the governor increased the the fee if Adekunle Ajasin University from N33, 000 to over N200, 000. It took enormous efforts to compel him to reduce it to N150, 000 and above with a promise that he will be it back to where it was after that period, which he never did”.
“To our amazement, the government did not only failed in his promise but told us (students) to go to hell that the increment had come to stay. Two weeks ago, the management of Adekunle Ajasin University implemented the policy of “No Fees, No Test.” It has never been done in any part of the world. Students are allowed to write their test no matter how much they pay. The worst is that they won’t write exams, not test”.
“History have it that Barack Obama got education freely and he later paid back to the state later in life when he became a senator”.
“The likes of Awolowo did it during his own time, he educated the people. Why should we have somebody who one benefitted from that benevolence that comes to the helms of affairs and insisted that education have to be commercialize. Collectively, we must say no to that. The governor increased OSUSTECH school fees from N70, 000 to almost N200, 000 with over 500 ratio. What has been the ratio of the salary of these children”.
“Our girls now involved in immorality just to pay their school fees. Students are now decreasing from the classrooms due to inability to afford the exorbitant fees. Departments that used to have over 100 students can no longer boast of 30 students”.
“Also, what is happening in the Ondo State School of Nursing is a complete fraud as the students were promised to be awarded degrees in nursing but they were only given certificate of nursing after paying for degree. We have used all channels to address this matter but it has proven abortive. The governor has been showing carelessly, insensitivity”.
“After meeting with the governor on the need to address the issue, he displayed the highest level of arrogance by telling us to go to hell, that his decision is final and that he is not going to reduce the school fees. He who ever cannot pay should go to hell that schooling is not by force. And this is somebody who benefitted from free education”.
According to him, the administration of Akeredolu has destroyed the fabrics of the society as he continue to make life difficult for both parents and students in tertiary institutions across the state.
The NANS President who recalled that Ondo state was known to produce proactive policies for students by previous administrations in the state, said the present administration had commercialised the education sector for selfish interest without considering plight of parents.
Bamidele posited that Akeredolu has come to destroy all the good legacies laid down by his predecessors like payment of WAEC fees and payment of affordable fees by parents.
The NANS Leader disclosed to journalists how Akeredolu teargassed them out of his office when they had an audience with him in his office in the previous day.
Quoting Akeredolu, the NANS President said, “I will close all the schools and build another one if you should embark on any protest, there is no reverse on tuition fees, you cannot compare what students pay in Ondo to Osun and other state universities”.
He said “If Akeredolu should increase tuition fees in Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko by over 500 percent, and that of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo by over 300 percent what is the percentage of salary increase of our parents?”.
Bamidele therefore, gave Akeredolu few hours ultimatum to reverse tuition fees in all tertiary institutions in the state or face the wrath of students across the country.
“The governor demonstrated highest level of arrogance, insisted that there will be not reduction in the fees.
Bamidele said, “the governor threatened us that he is ready to order the security men to flush us out if we dare protest. Whereas peaceful protest is our right. It the last resort in negotiations”.
“I saw arrogance at its peak in Gov. Akeredolu when we met we him. It looks as if I was sitting with Adolf Hitler. It seems as if I was sitting in the presence of Pharaoh. Even when we met with President Buhari, he addressed us in such manner. But a governor whose power is limited within a state could put up that show of arrogance”, the NANS President.
“Two years is too long to chase him, it is now upon us, parents, students, artisans and entire people of Ondo State to stop this tyranny”, Bamidele said.
Countering the NANS President, In Akeredolu’s words, “we have earlier gotten an information that the NANS national delegates will be in the state for an assignment and the job is to aggravate the dialogue process and consequently cause unrest in the state”.
The NAOSS President The NANS president, Danielson Bamidele Akpan claimed that he has not been enjoying the patronage of the Ondo state government and was therefore ready to jeopardize the efforts of student leaders in the state.”
NAOSS leader said, “we therefore admonish and implore all students and the general public to shun any act of violence as plans are already established towards looking into the crisis rocking our institutions”.
The NAOSS President promised a quick resolution to the lingering issues on ground.