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'OSUSTECH' A varsity only in name

A varsity only in name

'OSUSTECH' A varsity only in name

•The school entrance.

Eight years after it was established, the Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH) in Okitipupa Local Government Area looks anything, but a higher institution. The campus is covered by weeds and it is confronted with academic and infrastructural challenges. Members of the host community are not happy with the state of the institution, reports TAIWO ADEBULU.

After a 10-minute drive from Okitipupa on the Igbokoda Highway in Ondo South Senatorial District lies a fallow land bordering  Igodan-Lisa, Igbodigo and Erinje communities in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State. The land is the permanent site of the Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH) which was founded in December, 2007.

For a people whose community has suffered neglect, the establishment of the university was seen as a sop. They rejoiced when the law setting up the school was passed by the Ondo State House of Assembly in 2008. Eight years after, the institution is an eyesore.

The campus is hardly visible, even at close range. From the main gate, an array of uncompleted buildings welcomes visitors. The weather-beaten structures are surrounded by thick weeds. The corroded gates are manned by under-fed security personnel who stop and search vehicles going into the campus.

But for the rectangular signboard that bears the institution’s name, a first-time visitor could mistake the campus for a farmland. The long stretch of road from the main entrance that leads to the heart of the campus is untarred and in bad shape.


On the left side, after the main gate, is the uncompleted Sport Complex. It can only be identified by a signpost, having been overgrown by weeds. On the right is the Students’ Union Building (SUB), which has been converted to the Centre for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Training (CELT).

Investigation by CAMPUSLIFE showed that the CELT building has been leased out to businessmen as bakery and water factory. Plantain chips merchants occupy a section of the building.

Ondo varsity’s struggle for a facelift.

•The main library covered by weeds

At a junction on the campus is the Senate Building, which has been under construction since 2008. Next to it are the Administrative Block and main library, which are also under construction. These structures have been covered by bushes.

The school has been shut since May 27, following protests by students over fee hike. Ondo State indigenes pay N125,000; non-indigenes, N175,000. Irked by the exorbitant fee, students went wild, blocking the Igbokoda Highway to draw attention to their plight.

But, the closure of the school is not the reason the campus is covered by weeds. The campus has hardly developed beyond its foundation stage because of neglect.

The only completed building is the “Faculty of Engineering”, which was converted to the Faculty of Science, because the

•The univerity Senate Building still under construction

•The univerity Senate Building still under construction

engineering programmes are yet to be approved. The faculty building has a cafeteria, a block of classrooms, three laboratories and offices and a 500-seater lecture theatre, which also serves as the school auditorium. A few steps away from the faculty is an under-sized health care centre with scanty facilities.

Investigations revealed that the university started with four faculties which have now declined to one. With the pioneer students still struggling to complete their programmes about seven years after their admission, students, fate is hanging in the balance. The future seems bleak for many of them because they lack practical knowledge of their discipline.

Such is the case of Olayinka Ewuyemi, a 400-Level Fisheries and Aquaculture student, who hopes to acquire modern fish farming skills. After four sessions in school, Olayinka can only boast of theoretical knowledge of the discipline.

Olayinka said: “It has not been easy studying in an institution where nothing works. We pay school fees through our nose yet we do not have value for our money. We just read; no practice. We have only had one practical class in four years. The school has a fish farm but it is run for business alone. They would tell us there is no directive from the management to allow us use the fish farm for practical.”

A 500-Level Zoology student, who pleaded not to be named, lamented the poor condition of the university.  He said: “We are not being taught Zoology in a proper way. We have not gone for excursions because the university does not allow us. The school doesn’t have a standard zoo that can help our learning.”

To save the university from extinction, the students came together to form a pressure group known as Save OSUSTECH Forum (SOF) to champion the course of progress in the institution. The group chairman, Gbenga Akinsuyi, a 500-Level Computer Science student, said the forum was established to fight injustice and pressure the government to give attention to the institution.

He said: “As I speak to you, the whole campus is covered in bush, with no facilities. We won’t keep quiet while OSUSTECH is turned to a farmland. We have embarked on protests to draw attention to our plight. Things should no longer be done through the backdoor. In May, we learnt some university officials were holding screening for candidates, who applied for Deputy Registrar and Bursar. We went there to disrupt the process, because that could only be done by  the Governing Council. But, this is not in place. An higher institution shouldn’t be run that way.”

A top management official, who preferred not to be named, said the vision setting up the school died immediately it took off. “What do you expect from a university that has no Governing Council and has been run without structure for five years? The Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Tolu Odugbemi, runs the university unilaterally. In the past five months, five lecturers have resigned because the working condition is not favourable and the leadership style is hostile.”

CAMPUSLIFE gathered that the last time Prof Odugbemi was on campus was March 18. He allegedly runs the school from its liaison office in Akure. He lives in the Vice Chancellor’s Lodge in Akure, the state capital, which is three-hour drive from Okitipupa.

A senior lecturer, who does not want to be named, said the VC administers the university in absentia. “The VC doesn’t pick our calls. We have been talking to him only through emails and text messages since 2010. Sometimes, he would be incommunicado for weeks. We are all used to that administrative style,” he added.

Dr Dipo Akomolafe, a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and local chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), said there was nothing wrong in the VC’s administrative style. “It’s the era of Information Communication and Technology. It is not bad if the VC runs the university effectively wherever he is,” Dr Akomolafe said.

Yemi Fafoluyi, president of Save Ikale Youth Vanguard, expressed disappointment over the state of the institution. He said: “The situation in OSUSTECH has been a source of concern to us. I can categorically tell you that the problem the university is facing today is a script written by Governor Olusegun Mimiko; it is being acted by the VC. Go there to the campus, there has been no project for the past three years. The institution is broke.”

A community leader in Igodan-Lisa, Pastor Babatope Ayesanmi, expressed concern on the manner the university is being run. According to him, there is no relationship between the management and the host community.

He said: “We tried our best to partner with the university but the Vice Chancellor has been avoiding us. I even went to meet the VC to discuss the concerns of the host community but he was not ready to give me audience.”

Efforts by our correspondent to speak to the outgoing VC were futile. Prof Odugbemi was said to have been unavailable by a security man at the VC’s Lodge. The university  does not have Public Affairs Unit that can give information on the challenges it is facing.

Prof Odugbemi’s tenure ended last Saturday but the school has remained underdeveloped. Many believe the choice of a new VC would go a long way in determining what the school would look like in the next few years.

But, the chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Ondo South Senatorial District, Ven. Emmanuel Akinboyo, who led a delegation to the governor, said Mimiko promised the university would be re-opened soon.

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