20th December, 2010
By Eromosele Ebhomele
The Lagos State House of Assembly has set up two separate panels to resolve the crisis in the stateâ€™s tertiary institutions.
Lecturers at the various tertiary institutions have been on strike for over four months now, causing the State of Excellence serious embarrassment.
While Governor Babatunde Fashola has stubbornly refused the suggestions of the lawmakers, the lecturers have also decided to stay back till the various issues are resolved.
The lawmakers, who lamented the continuous problems that have weakened the education sector at the floor of the House, on Friday, further mandated one of the panels to look into how the finances of the schools had been managed over the years. The other panel is to visit all the tertiary institutions to assess the state of infrastructure. The two panels have been given four weeks to submit their reports.
Raising the embarrassing situation at the dayâ€™s sitting, the House Majority Leader, Taiwo Kolawole, described the situation as worrisome.
Kolawole, who spoke in Yoruba, said a coalition of civil society groups and lecturers of the institutions had engaged in a protest match to the Governorâ€™s Office.
They also marched on the House to register their grievances.
However, the Majority Leader said while he was trying to pacify them on behalf of the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the protesters called the House a toothless bulldog as various resolutions taken by it relating to the strike had not been implemented.
The principal officer also said that the lecturers declared that they would continue to challenge the 25 per cent increment in salaries of workers in the state as proposed by the governor in the 2011 Budget it sent to the House, saying it negated the Federal Governmentâ€™s agreement of 50 per cent.
Part of their complaints was that the few lecturers left in the institutions are been overburdened without adequate infrastructure.
This statement forced reactions from other lawmakers. Rotimi Olowo maintained that the issues necessitating the industrial actions should be critically reviewed and that the House should take an action that would erode that impression from the minds of the public.
According to him, â€œit is disheartening to know that Sociology Department at the Lagos State University (LASU) has only one classroom for all the students.
â€œApart from the money they get from government, these institutions also generate revenue. So, it is time to find out how they spend these funds.â€
Lola Akande also reminded the lawmakers of the decisions they took concerning LASU, asking if the decisions had been implemented.
â€œI remember we asked that the Vice Chancellor of the institution be sacked. What we should be asking is how far this has been implemented,â€ she said.
Supporting her, Adekunle Ademoye said the House must ensure the removal of Professor Hussein as the VC of LASU.
â€œI went to the school recently and the situation was nothing to write home about,â€ he added.
The Speaker, who supported his colleagues, said action would be taken by the House once the two panels conclude their tasks.