By Kehinde Ojo
In the then South-Western Region of Nigeria, one of the germane sectors that stood us out as ‘primus inter pares’ was that of education; it still stands us out today. History has recorded it that in the days of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria’s government under the late Pa Obafemi Awolowo, the educational sector of the region was so robust that it drew civil servants from other regions of the country and, indeed, other parts of Africa: It offered more in remuneration, career mobility and expansion.
To that extent, the successors of that educational revolution under the Awolowo-led government, who were also desciples of the late sage, like the late Chief Bola Ige, SAN, did not falter in carrying on the light before the military came and centralized anything Nigeria. Under them, the South-West grew, indeed, not only in education, but also in other critical sectors.
As a matter of fact, the leaders of the Yoruba nation understood the importance of education and had assiduously worked towards being the leaders in the sector that the premier university in the country, University College, Ibadan, a campus of the prestigious University of London, berthed in the region. As a matter of fact, history has it that the institution took off from Eleyele, Ibadan before moving to its current permanent site in Agbowo area of Ibadan.
In the second Republic, under the leadership of then Governor Bola Ige of Oyo State, the flagship higher institution of the state was The Polytechnic, Ibadan, domiciled in Ibadan, the state capital of the Old Oyo State. Recall that in 1981, as part of the government’s agenda to expand the frontiers of the education sector, the late Chief Ige, the Cicero of Esa-Oke established satellite campuses in other zones of the state; viz Eruwa, Saki, Iree and Esa-Oke. These were considered as other strategic zones in the then Oyo State. Today, those satellite campuses have metamorphosed into full-fledged higher institutions of their own. Way back then, and up till now, they did not take away the prestige of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, which was their main campus, just as the University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan), did not take anything away from the prestige of its parent campus, University of London.
We will also recall that later, when Osun State had been carved out of the old Oyo State, the first Executive Governor of Osun State, the late Isiaka Adeleke, established strategic higher institutions in strategic zones of the new state; and these also grew from the template of satellite campuses. It smacks of following in the footsteps of the founding fathers of the educational sector in Yorubaland, which have become the standard for other regions of the country.
Also, later on, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, when he was Osun State governor, established the Osun State University (UNIOSUN) with satellite campuses in Okuku, Ikire, Ipetu-Ijesa, Ejigbo and Osogbo as the main campus.The establishment of the four satellite campuses has not diminished the status of the institution’s main campus in Osogbo. In fact, apart from spreading development across the state and making education accessible to more Osun indigenes, the decision has boosted the prestige of the university as the first multi-campus university in the region. Many other parts of this country have since been copying this model.
If the forgoing can be verified, one wonders why the establishment of a satellite campuse for the Osun State College of Technology (OSCOTECH) would become a subject of furore. In this same state, the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, recently, established a campus in Koko, a village between Iba, Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state, and Iree, Boripe Local Government Area. The satellite campus in Koko has, by no means, reduced the prestige of the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree? As a matter of fact, both in administrative and academic duties, the Koko campus has remained an apron string of the main campus, while serving to spread development across the state and offering more accessibility to education in the state. As has been stated and established earlier, the development has expanded the scope and tentacles of the institution.
Now, with the decision of the Governing Council of the OSCOTECH to establish a satellite campus of the institution in Ibokun, in Obokun Local Government Area of the state, the same constituency with Esa-Oke to cater for the educational needs of more students in a new programme to be run by the school, what does Osun State stand to lose, if not for the gain of OSCOTECH as an institution and Osun as a state? As has been explained, the Mass Communication is a new programme to be introduced by OSCOTECH; it is not an already existing programme in the institution. Besides, the state owns a studio, the New Dawn Television that could be refurbished and used to aid future students of the programme in the same location. Instead of the government-funded facility to rot away in that place, it seems consistent with common sense to make use of it to expand the frontiers of knowledge and further promote the state and the institution of OSCOTECH.
Considering the position of law, the Edict that set up the institution of OSCOTECH gives the Governing Council the authority to expand the institution by creating satellite campuses in any part of the state, in as much as the radius is within certain specified distance.
This law is corroborated by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) which permits the establishment of a satellite campus, once it is not more than 30 Kilometers to the main campus. Ibokun is less than 10 kilometres from the main campus of OSCOTECH.
A paragraph of the establishment Edict of the OSCOTECH in Part I provides that “with the approval of the Governor,” the Governing Council can move “to establish satellite campuses in any part of the state which shall operate as the Governing Council may determine.”
What then should be said other than make appeal to the good sons and daughters of Esa-Oke to prevail on youths in the town not to allow themselves to be used by partisan interests to politicize this developmental move.
Feelers already have it that the ugly development signposted by the protest against the setting up of a satellite campus of the OSCOTECH is being orchestrated by some unscrupulous stalwarts of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the town.
The protest is allegedly being ignited by a failed APC contestant into the National Assembly from this axis.
However, with the determination of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in the state to hasten further development of Osun State within the ambit of the rule of law and probity, one is not in doubt that truth will eventually prevail over falsehood.
The bottom line, for every citizen of Osun State and entire Nigeria, is that the Governing Council of OSCOTECH is, with the decision to establish a satellite campus of the institution in Ibokun, carrying out its legal responsibility to position and further establish the institution as a reputable higher citadel of learning in the country.
As it has often been said, bringing politics into educational matters brings down the sector of education. And then, apart from agriculture, this is the sector, the leverage of which has put Yorubaland over and above others in the nation called Nigeria.
Opinion and political leaders should prevail on the Youths to allow peace to rign in the Institution and by extension in the community.
The New Programme, Mass Communication is not an existing program in the Institution, but a Course that is newly established by the Governing Council.
Kehinde Ojo is a socio-political analyst from Idofin area of Esa-Oke
Disclaimer: This piece represents the opinion of the writer not that of Blaze Newz Nigeria
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