The immediate past president of Press Club, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ifedayo Ogunyemi, who is a final year student spoke to CAMPUS REPORTERS’ Kabir Adejumo on the #SaveMapoly campaign, series of activities towards causing the Ibikunle Amosun-led Ogun State Government to reopen MAPOLY.
CR: Some weeks back, you stormed social media to start #SaveMapoly campaign. What is this all about?
Ifedayo: #SaveMAPOLY is a struggle for students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta since their exams which ought to have started on September 18th was postponed indefinitely and that’s about three months ago today. Why was the examination postponed? It started around this time last year when the governor submitted a bill to the state house of assembly seeking to upgrade 38-year old MAPOLY to a degree-awarding institution and another seeking to establish OGUN State Polytechnic, Ipokia. After a speedy passage at the house, the bills were signed into law on March 13, 2017. Students and all stakeholders of MAPOLY were happy to see the new change and also to see it take effect. However, the crisis affecting the institution started June-July when the Technical Committee headed by former Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Peter Okebukola-led and saddled with the responsibility to see to the transition directed all staff of MAPOLY seeking to work at Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology (MAUSTECH) to re-apply contrary to the law that upgraded the institution. The bill had provided that all assets and liabilities of MAPOLY becoming transferred to MAUSTECH. There was a warning strike by the ASUP, MAPOLY chapter. At some point, the issue drifted to the capability of the state government to fund the two institutions despite the fact that MAPOLY receives only N11million subvention monthly out of N150million monthly leaving the polytechnic to internally source for funds to foot their wage bill and other expenses. At another time, it was that Ipokia Poly wouldn’t be ready by September or November for admission and MAPOLY should still be allowed to continue for say 2 or 3 years to complete the transition but the Governor said no.
CR: Considering the reasons you raised earlier and the strike, what is the stance of the state government to the plights of the students?
Ifedayo: On the struggle, you will recall that students of MAPOLY led by the Ogun Chapter of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) protested at the Governor’s Office to ask why their exams didn’t hold and also to seek solutions to the array of problems facing them as far as MAPOLY, MAUSTECH and Ipokia Polytechnic are concerned, the Governor gave the students what I will term as ‘Greek Gift’s. He summoned MAPOLY ASUP and asked them to admit students into HND 1. He also said new ND intakes will resume at Ipokia with the belief that National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) would have accredited courses for the new polytechnic at Ipokia. It should be recalled that Governor Amosun lied at the foundation-laying of Ipokia Polytechnic when he said NBTE has accredited 42 courses for the new polytechnic. Surprisingly, it was the NBTE Advisory Team that visited the site of Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia on Monday, December 4th instead of the accreditation team. Despite, all of these issues between MAPOLY lecturers and the state government, the fact remains that the for 91 days, the plights of the student are yet to be seen as priority by the state government.
CR: Will the students continue to protest and block major roads if the government turns its deaf ears to the struggle? what do you consider as the best approach to this kerfuffle? Do you think MAUSTECH should be suspended by the state government especially looking at the fact that even the subvention meant for MAPOLY was never paid as expected from the allegations you raised earlier?
Ifedayo: Well, MAUSTECH isn’t our fight, the reason for blocking roads to express our displeasure is the conversion of MAPOLY to MAUSTECH and how it affects our second semester examinations which we ought to have started by September 18th. If the government feels the need to create another institution or ten more, it is the duty of the government to fund them. There must have been a plan to fund MAUSTECH or OGUN poly Ipokia before the two institutions were created. It’s a basic principle of life, ‘plan your every move, plan before executing’ if one does not plan, then one is termed foolish. MAPOLY was given a paltry N11m out of N150million for how many years running, it is one institution that didn’t strike for a day since 2013. Workers salaries were paid promptly, trainings and promotion of staff members did not cease, nothing less than seven new buildings were built, about five luxury buses and 18-passenger buses were purchased during all these years MAPOLY was receiving a meagre subvention particularly during the tenure of Prof. Oludele Itiola (who was ousted last October). MAPOLY simply looked inwards to generate and fund for itself. But since September, staff salaries have been crippled or were not paid at all. MAPOLY has accreditation for 11 HND course and 26 ND courses but Ogun Poly Ipokia has none for ND and HND but the government is still adamant on admitting students into Ogun Poly Ipokia, I don’t know where that works. Buildings at the Polytechnic site are still under construction.
CR: How did you know that Ogun State Polytechnic proposed to replace MAPOLY at Ipokia is yet to be accredited?
Ifedayo: NBTE paid a visit to the site on December 4th and nothing was said on the accreditation status but we learnt they were not satisfied totally with the state of the buildings on site. The way out of this crisis is simple. ND admission should be allowed in Ogun State Polytechnic Ipokia if NBTE has accredited courses there or at MAPOLY for this new session pending the time Ogun Poly Ipokia would be ready.Why?
This will afford lecturers in 26 departments with ND accreditation in MAPOLY to continue with their jobs. This is the demand of ASUP MAPOLY which the Government hasn’t addressed.
CR: Lastly, your advice to protesting students?
Ifedayo: Well, I am also a student. I believe the goal which is writing our second semester examination is near, all we have to do during this trying time is to remain dogged and united. We have lost too much in the last three months to give up at this point in time. And God willing, we shall succeed.
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