Ondo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Femi Agagu, on Wednesday, described the criticisms that had trailed the education policy of Akeredolu led-adminitration by his opponents as dishonest.
“These critics,” according to him, “have narrowed everything down to the fees payable at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, thereby introducing sentiments and deliberately avoiding the truth.”
He explained that the reduction in the tuition was not political.
Agagu, the younger brother of former State Governor, Olusegun Agagu, said, “In the specific area of tertiary education, Akeredolu inherited two new universities, the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa and the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.
“These are in addition to Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko and the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo. Akeredolu had to choose between developing all of these institutions together or developing one or two at the expense of the others.
“Recall that his predecessor completely abandoned Olusegun Agagu University for eight years and went ahead to establish the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, his home town. Akeredolu could have continued to ignore the Agagu University too and put the Medical University on hold.
“On the contrary, he towed the path of a statesman and and instituted a regime of holistic development of all the four tertiary institutions. This has no doubt put a lot of financial burden on the state. It is also a well known fact that the revenue accruing to the government has been declining for obvious reasons. These notwithstanding, the Governor decided to be developing all the institutions together.
“The decision to review fees payable at AAUA was that of the governing council and management, and this was done not until other relevant stakeholders were engaged in dialogue. All that the Governor did was to ask the Governing Council of the University to inquire into what other state universities in the South-West were charging and ensure that they do not charge anything higher.
“This exercise was carried out with the consent of all stakeholders as earlier mentioned, including students and parents. By that adoption, the University has been able to supplement government grants to keep going. Even then, it is still in financial discomfort.
“It was in the midst of this that the Governor was informed that the fees at Lagos State University (was a little less than that of AAU, Akungba and so he directed the Governing Council of the University to see if it could bring their own fees at par with that of LASU. That explained the recent reduction that the Council eventually effected.”