LASU, Lagos State Government and Gov Fashola, By Mubarak Tijani
“Education sets the records and opens the doors to world through the key called knowledge and wisdom gained both in towns and gowns through education”
Lagos state university came into existence to better the lots of Lagosians cum Nigerians as provided for in the enacting laws creating the university. The provision is apt as it provides for affordable and accessible education for all Lagosians.
Lagos state is a state believed to be the most industrious and most populated in terms of economic frame work, making it the commercial nerve of Nigeria. Lagos state presents itself as a megacity city of excellence by providing all that is required of a responsible government to her citizenry.
Gov. Fashola was quite unknown as he was nominated for the most prestigious post of the governor of Lagos sate. He however proved himself worthy of entrusting our mandate through series of campaign held at various platforms in 2007; Gov Fashola was quite outstanding as the bulk of his timid supporters are youths cum students alike. A firm believe and trust was deposed in him as he carried same through his first four years as the governor after he made outstanding achievement becoming one of the most successful governors in Nigeria in four years. However success has not really been achieved until the general populace most especially the youths, whom population is about 46% of every nation have acknowledged same.
Governor Fashola got it all wrong when he decided to take hook line and sinker the recommendation of the itse sagay S.A.N led visitation panel of inquiry on the Lasu crisis. We are however taken aback as the Lagos state government only deems it of essence to have the tuition fee of Lagos cum Nigerian masses friendly institution to an institution of the bourgeoisie. With due respect to the learned silk governor, the grundnorm of Nigeria 1999 as amended is clear on the provision of security, welfare and education to all citizens at all level.
Education is not negotiable thus all Nigerians cum Lagosians are entitled to free or affordable university. The irrational decision of the Lagos state government to have the Lasu fee increased and been adamant despite all attempt by all quarters as clearly shown that they are anti people oriented, unprogressive, sycophants, and unpatriotic citizens in leadership position.
The governor in her 2200 days in office account of stewardship held in the new Lasu auditorium sometime in last year tagged bridging the gap between the towns and the gowns. The gowns can only compete with the towns if and only there is a provision of affordable education accessible by all.
“The governor on the 16th aug 2010 was quoted by pmnews to have said that there is now dark in the nation’s university because the institutions which provided opportunities for the children of all classes were being endangered”. He posited further that “my heart bleeds when I hear stories of lecturers go on strike and universities being closed down because it sends ominous signal for the future about our nation. The university served as a leveler where children of the drivers, ministers and peasants mixed freely and became lifelong friends irrespective of backgrounds. “We are now stratifying society along class line with only the children of the rich being able to go to private universities. It creates a very ominous signs ahead of us. We cannot build a united nation if we stratify along class lines”.
These are the words of the governor when he was still on track I guess, the reverse is now the case as the governor some time in 2011 increased Lasu tuition with over 100% increament from #25000 to #193,750 for Arts/Education, #223,750 for social science, #248,750 for law #238, 750 for communication/transport, #258, 750 for sciences, #298, 750 for engineering and #348, 750 for college of medicine making Lasu the most expensive government owned university in Nigeria with this extremely bogus increase.
The executive governor of Lagos state has not in any way substantiate the rationale behind the increase as he has in occasions cited the development in other foreign universities like Harvard to Nigeria university, Lasu in particular. The governor has shied away from the truth as most developed economies today invested so much in their educational sector, while reverse is the case in Nigeria. Economic activities in those countries are very much favourable compared to Nigeria where labour unions as to force many of the governors to pay the minimum wage as at two years ago, probably it will be great to have a calculation of the said ridiculing minimum wage #18,000 multiply by 12= 216,000 per year.
In an instance where a family has three kids how is the Lagos state government expects such family to survive considering the harsh we are in. In the circumstance I know if the current regime of fees in Lasu’s tuition fee was the same at the time the governor went to school, I wonder if a journalist and a nurse or mid wife would have been able to sponsor his education and see him through the face of his educational careers.
The current administration is on the verge of shutting out the average Nigerian from getting quality accessible education. I dare say that the only achievement that can be worthwhile provided for by a progressive and genuine government it the provision of quality education accessible by all irrsepectal of the classes in which they belong to.
The Fashola led administration will continuously reengage on the promise he made to Lagosians by making Lasu an institution of excellence in a mega city. And a mega city without education is as rotten already before eventually formation of such development. It is however opined that for posterity to judge this administration well, the government must embark on a swift reduction of the said unreasonable fee, putting the average Nigerian income to foreplay and the current harsh economy we find ourselves.
Conclusively, it beckons on a government that wants to better the lot of its average citizens to engage them in any decision making forum that will affect their interest. Life as it is as far gone beyond where some elite will have to determine the faith of an average Nigerian cum Lagosians. The review of the Lasu fee by the visitation panel sometime in 2011 was rather a slap on the face of Lagosians, as the individuals on the committee though respected but have no idea of the feelings of the common man on the street of Lagos. If education is taken away from the masses what’s left to better their lot other than leaving them to rot in ignorance at this computer age of our and the leave the child of the elites always at the helms of affairs or leave the average Nigerian at the mercy of the elite, this I termed democratic slavery.
Education as it is today was not what it was when the current set of leaders was schooling. The likes of pa awolowo, lateef jakande amongst others were visionary leaders of all bounds; they understood the ideals in educating their people which gave rise to lots of mass literacy in the west today. If a beneficiary of free education is now saying education cannot be free for us to appreciate same, then it portrays how ungrateful and ill motive he is at the helms of affairs. The labour of our heroes past will never be in vain only if our current set of sycophant leaders leave up to expectation by providing the needful to their citizenry, welfare, protection of their lives and property which is on major feature of a responsive and a responsible government, in which education must top its priority.
Education is non-negotiable as it is the only known and acceptable way to liberate our people. He, who opens the door to education, shuts lots of criminal doors thus the government must be alive to its responsibility and leave above hate, as Lasu remains the only heritage university of this self acclaimed megacity cum centre of excellence thus, all doors to tertiary institution must be opened for easy access to the quality of education to be offered as this can only be the pride of all Lagosians and Nigerians alike
Mubarak Tijani writes from Lagos State, former Legal Director of the Lagos State Students’ Union Government.
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