The much-publicised protest by students over the seven-month closure of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho, ended in controversy on Monday as student leaders fought over a largesse, allegedly from Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Students from various universities had gathered for the protest in Ibadan, capital of one of the two owner states of the university, when Mr. Ajimobi agreed to meet with their representatives to assure them of his commitment to the reopening of the university soon.
After the meeting, the governor was said to have released some money for the entertainment of the representatives.
But a disagreement over how to share the largesse soon became physical and deteriorated into a free-for-all among the student outside the State Secretariat office of the governor.
One of the student leaders, Fawole Isreal, told PREMIUM TIMES that the commotion occurred because the representative who collected the money decided to spray it on the protesters.
An aide of the president of the Senate of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Olanrewaju Umar, blamed the student leaders of LAUTECH for collecting money from the governor.
Another LAUTECH student, Oyedeji Ahmed, condemned the gesture of the governor.
“At a time when Oyo cannot pay salaries, why will the governor give out N500, 000 to students?” Mr. Ahmed quipped, adding that the gesture was an encouragement of “corruption”.
The Senior Assistant to the Governor on Youth and Students Affairs, Bolaji Azeez, however defended Mr. Ajimobi, saying he only acted “as a caring father”.
LAUTECH has been shut down since last June. But the two owner states have promised to reopen it by February 1. They also promised to contribute N200million each in an intervention fund to settle outstanding salaries.
Mr. Ajimobi is scheduled to meet with leaders of the university’s branch of the Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities on Wednesday as part of the process of resolving the crisis that forced the closure of the school.