The Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Adeniyi Olowofela, has reacted to the agitations of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of The Polytechnic, Ibadan.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the commencement of a strike action by the non-academic workers of the institution on Wednesday.
Adeniyi Olowofela, in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES tasked the governing council of the school to take responsibility for the ‘striking’ workers.
“The question of how to sort the NASU members is not for the state government but for the governing council of the institution,” he said.
He highlighted the roles and the intervention of the state government in the school so far.
“From April 2016, the government of Oyo State is giving The Polytechnic Ibadan N55 million monthly.
“We held a meeting with the management and governing council a month ago and we told them about the intention of the government in line with the KPMG report to increase the subventions of tertiary institutions relatively to their needs and abilities.
“The government has increased the subventions to N83 million monthly.
“Apart from that, the schools are also charging school fees and government is not demanding anything from them.
“They are also generating other forms of IGR (internal revenue) on their own and the government has never bothered them on what they are doing with the funds.
“It’s our expectation that they should be able to manage their resources.”
The commissioner, when asked about the non-payment of over eight months arrears by the state government, which is one of the yearnings of the protesting workers, said,
“The government is not owing anybody. When we are talking about autonomy, the institution is independent as far as autonomy is concerned. And that is why the government is not taking anything from the school fees they are charging.
“It is very wrong to abdicate responsibilities and expect government to respond to everything.”l
“People can be so mysterious in this political era that we are now. They didn’t go on strike when the subvention was increased from 55 million to 83 million naira.”
However, the spokesperson of the institution, Soladoye Adewole, absolved the authorities of the school of responsibility.
He stated that the strike is between the union and the state government.
“They (the state government) are owing them arrears and normally there should be negotiations. So, negotiations are on.”
Mr. Soladoye also spoke on the threat by the union members to disrupt academic activities in the school, if their demands are not met.
“Let’s see what comes up in the future, negotiations are on and it has not broken down.”
Meanwhile, efforts to get the reaction of the school’s NASU Chairman, Yomi Akande, on the comment of the state government, were unsuccessful . His telephone was switched off as at the time PREMIUM TIMES contacted.
“We are not going to call off the strike until they pay the arrears,” he earlier said in an interview with this reporter.