© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Gov Abiodun appoints governing council for education college, 11 years after creation
ELEVEN years after it was separated from the Tai Solarin University of Education and granted autonomy, the Ogun State government has finally set up a governing council for the Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu-Ijebu.
This was disclosed in a press release made public on Wednesday and signed by Tokunbo Talabi, Secretary to the State Government.
The 12-man council is headed by Yemi Adefulu. Other members include: the college provost, the registrar as council secretary, Olakunle Olubola Aikulola, Amope Ajibola Chokor, Adejoke Sein, Olayinka Oduwole, Akiola Rafiu Abiola, Oladeji Oluwadiya, Adesina Kazeem, Julius Adeyemi, and Gbenga Oduselu.
The announcement is coming nearly six months after Dapo Abiodun was sworn in as governor. TASCE has been facing a number of challenges since its re-establishment in October 2008 including the non-payment of worker salaries, infrastructural inadequacies, as well as alleged misappropriation of resources by the college management.
Until this week, no governing council had been appointed for the school despite provisions for the decision-making body in the institution’s establishment Act.
It is the council’s duty to relate the interests of the staff to the state government and be responsible for the general management of the college’s affairs and control of its finances and properties. Among other functions, it also determines fees, recruits staff, regulates salaries, and determines the employee’s conditions of service.
The employees complain they have not been paid salary arrears for up to 60 months, 57 out of which were owed by the administrations of Gbenga Daniel and Ibikunle Amosun.
Daniel Aborisade, a senior lecturer who led the Coalition of TASCE Staff to demand salary arrears and other entitlements, said in September that the new Abiodun-led administration had only paid half salaries for the months of May and June. It owed the balance for those months as well as salaries for July and August at the time.
Aborisade said the governor instigated the arrest and prosecution of some college workers, including him, “to silence us over our demand for our legitimate right”. They had been arraigned at Ogun State Magistrate Court for armed robbery, kidnapping, and assault. He accused also Abiodun of proscribing the coalition without restoring the staff unions banned by the previous government as recommended by the visitation panel he set up.
A month later, the state governor accused the lecturers of a “high level of lawlessness”, of instigating students against the college management, and said he has considered shutting down the school over the crisis.
Speaking to The ICIR on Thursday, Aborisade disclosed that the criminal trial of the lecturers was adjourned to December 13.
He said, once the governing council is inaugurated, lecturers plan to consult with the members in order to ensure the workers’ needs are met. He also said the government has continued to pay half salaries, and paid this up till August. Salaries for the months of September and October have not been paid, and the subvention to the school is yet to be reviewed upwards.
“We hope, now that he has set up the council, they will be given the mandate to look into the whole scenario and act accordingly,” he said. “So far, there have been no positive updates with respect to staff welfare.”
He added that the college provost, Lukman Adeola Kiadese, has been victimising lecturers prominent in the struggle for better welfare.
“He has been issuing queries, transferring staff from their duty posts, and imposing junior ones on the senior ones who are against him,” he noted.
In a three-part investigative series published in March, The ICIR had shed light into the hardship faced by family members of deceased college workers who couldn’t afford basic living and medical treatment, the difficulties faced by the lecturers working at the school despite all odds, and the lack of basic facilities on the fairly new campus.