On Governor Amosun, MAPOLY and the Politics of Filling Basket with Water

On Governor Amosun, MAPOLY and the Politics of Filling Basket with Water

By Festus Ogun

The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun recently signed the bill to upgrade the state-owned Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) to Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology (MAUTECH), Abeokuta. Similarly, Governor Amosun also signed into law the bill to establish the Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia.

In all sincerity, I am not against the establishment of a University of Science and Technology in Ogun State, like we have in other states in the country.  As the Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr. Suraj Adekunbi puts it: “the House gave the bill accelerated passage because of the priority the government accorded education.” Any serious government, like the Ogun State government, ought to make education one of its leading priorities.

Yet, what seems to be more disturbing is the manner in which the bill was passed. Apart from the sheer less-seriousness displayed by the member of the House, the decision of the governor to establish a state university of technology, at this critical stage calls for our general reconsideration.

First, there is need to put it straight to the governor that the upgrade is coming at a very wrong time.

The problem with education in Nigeria is not just about non availability of institutions of learning or its insufficiency. We see universities, polytechnics, colleges, institutes and all of that everywhere. Yet, we still complain bitterly about a ramshackle educational system in Nigeria. The signal this sends to us is that the establishment of universities and colleges is not the main challenge. Rather, government irresponsibility and disregard towards education.

For a nation to develop and advance there is need for education to get well financed. Sadly, the government here is more focused on constructing mansions where pilfered public funds are kept. Our government takes education less seriously. Even with the number of schools we have in this clime, we have never been ranked first 100 universities in the world – we have a long way to go. The reason behind this is that schools are not funded and adequate facilities are not provided. Perhaps, no attempt has been made to improve education too.

Our leaders are like contractors that had laid a single foundation of a proposed large housing estate and had to jump to lay another foundation in another separate place without any hope of completion. Instead of ensuring the complete construction of the first estate, They jump to lay three other separate foundations. They will never focus on one to ensure its completion. Or is an uncompleted building habitable in a saner society?  Lack of purpose, to say the least!

We have lost focus as a people. We no longer have the fine virtues of focus, patience and perseverance. We take wrong steps and make rather unfortunate decisions.

Ogun state is not excluded. Creating more institutions where there are many underdeveloped ones is a symptom of a government that is lost in transit. No matter the amount of “love” the governor is said to have for education, this decision is a bad one. It is bad because it is inappropriate.

Only in Ogun State, we have over 7 public higher institutions that are underdeveloped. There have been NO serious steps taken by our “education-loving” governor to improve the sad state of our institutions. And so, we see many of our lecturers embarking on industrial actions every now and then; no fund anywhere.

On a more serious note, the only time I saw the governor parading on our various campuses in Ogun State is when he goes about commissioning projects he did not embark upon – he will tell us the “mission to rebuild continues”. Those new buildings and projects you see on Ogun State owned higher institutions are embarked upon by generous private individuals and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The popular Olabisi Onabanjo University, which is best among all the institutions in the state, is still very far below what is expected of a university. We are still underdeveloped. Same thing with Tai Solarin University of Education. What about Tai Solarin College of Education? That one is quite below standard. MAPOLY has not even attained the height of a standard polytechnic, not to talk of university.

We should not even attempt to mention other “semi-polytechnics” in the state; Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, DS Adegbenro Polytechnic, Gateway Polytechnic, Gateway Institute of Petro-gas Institute and all of that are more of advanced secondary schools.  You see, excluding MAPOLY, other established ‘polytechnics’ in the state ought to be scrapped. I am not even sure if they’d not been disaccredited. They are as good as village secondary schools. As of today, Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic main campus is just there for nothing. No classrooms and all of that. They still manage secondary school classes in Ijegun-Igbo.

Now, it is evident that the governor has picked a very wrong card by not improving existing institutions before establishing new ones. We have failed to acknowledge the fact that it is not just about establishing universities or colleges. What remains sacrosanct is to consider whether we are ready to fund them or not. Institutions not funded are good as not existing.

Establishing a new university and polytechnic whereas there are many underdeveloped ones around, is just another fine means of filling the basket with water. Here in Nigeria, we usually mistaken watering baskets with good governance. Take for instance, since the conversion OOU to a multi-campus institution many years ago, the College of Agricultural Sciences, Ayetoro just relocated to its Permanent Site December 2016. Prior to now, the college has been sharing classrooms with Ayetoro Comprehensive High School students.

This is another means of wreaking havoc on our educational system in Ogun State. The establishment of new institutions at this time is bad for us because, prima facie, they may not be funded. I can even predict that the new polytechnic established in Ipokia Local Government will share classrooms with secondary school student before they build their own campus – which will not be built by this administration.

But, as usual, what we love doing in Nigeria is making name out of nothing. We want to be remembered for a thing or the other, even things that are not worthy of remembrance. We see every day how our leaders will commence on projects they are aware they may not accomplish before leaving office. They just want the world to know they kickstarted something and this will be tagged an achievement. Is this not a cause to worry?

Let us take another critical look at the legislators that passed the bill. Just like the way quarrel is not new to our legislative arm of government, accepting executive proposals and bills hook, line and sinker is also no stranger. Look, when legislators throw chairs and get their big heads “maced”, they tend to create an impression in the unsuspecting citizens and constituents that they are ‘fighting’ for their rights and entitlements. But, it is far from the truth. They usually fight because of their very greedy and selfish interests. You see, when they gang up to milk up our collective resources, you’ll never see them display any form of annoyance. They will not quarrel.

Members of Ogun State House of Assembly that participated in passing the bills aforementioned are anything but serious. They are anything but ingrates. The bill for the establishment of the university and polytechnic were passed without any form of debate or related actions? Who does that? In serious Houses, the issues raised in this piece ought to be debated in the house, even if for nothing but formality. But, our own lawmakers are both too rude and carefree to the citizens or just too shameless

For our democracy to grow, we cannot continue to take the business of law making as child’s play, it is serious business. Bills ought to be debated in the house, no matter the good intention of the bill. This does not include giving room for filibustering. But, the acceleration of faulty bills in the house is not the best. It symptomizes the unpreparedness of our legislators in their role of building a better nation for us.

 

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