By Praise Ifedayo
Right now, one pertinent question that should be stuck on repeat on the lips of every concerned and deeply thoughtful student or persons directly affected by the lingering anomie at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, is this – “How long does it take to perform an external audit nitori Olórun?”. Please, permit the Yoruba for emphasis.
As far back as February 2017, the Visitation Panel that was set up by the two owner states had delivered its recommendations, where an external audit of the school’s financial and administrative activities, was prominently prescribed as the main course of action to set the school back on track, and to also prevent another breakdown like this ongoing one. Swiftly, the two owner states secured the services of the international and independent audit firm, KPMG, to commence the external audit and pave way for the reopening of a productive and transparently managed LAUTECH.
But, since this February, the audit, which shouldn’t take more than 3 weeks, has been unsuccessful till date, thanks solely to a lack of cooperation from the school management. Reportedly, as recent as just a week ago, the KPMG team were rebuffed and not given full cooperation by the LAUTECH management, and this is at the second time of asking. We are now edging into August, and so, to put its effect in proper perspective, this lack of cooperation has shut down the school for an extra one hundred and eighty (180) days, needlessly, and painfully too.
From clear cut fact-finding, the reason why the three (3) months of work of that Wole Olanipekun-led Visitation panel arrived at the feet of an external audit among other recommendations, was the level of financial impropriety and maladministration revealed in the process. A shocking highlight from that exposé was the fact that no audit, be it internal or external, has been performed on LAUTECH activities for the past 6 years, the school has been on autopilot into doom for a long time. The White Paper from the panel, which has since been made public, advised a more robust and complementary pattern of funding for the school, but, it also inferred strongly that no further funding should be provided until after an external audit is done to fix what’s clearly broken within the system.
In other words, while a more collaborative funding of LAUTECH should be practically encouraged, (that is from a combination of government subvention, a broadened internal enterprises, a raised IGR, Grants, TETFund, etc), an audit MUST be done first, in order to prevent pouring scarcely sought resources into a bucket riddled with holes. Quite simple, right? Good.
But, the question now is even simpler. What is making the LAUTECH management not cooperate with this external audit? What is making them not give full access to KPMG to make them perform and complete this audit in record time? Who is afraid of the LAUTECH forensic audit???
While we nibble on these pertinent questions, this delay leaves only one scenario to the imagination of any keen mind, and this is that, the school management are dillydallying with the process of this KPMG audit simply because they know heads will roll if it is successfully done, and are therefore hell-bent to either frustrate it, or take time to “clean house” before it is allowed. No? Oh! If there lies nothing to hide, why grind their teeth against an external and transparent audit?
The reason why this is even more disheartening is the fact that the LAUTECH management have seemed to fed fat on our collective ignorance for long, probably even till now. At one point or the other, we’ve all pointed all accusing fingers at the two owner states citing funding shortages, unbeknownst to us that funding, wasn’t really the problem, both then, and now. In fact, despite the effect of a nationwide recession that barked and bit almost every sector, the owners coughed out 584 million naira earlier in the year to meet the school management at the centre, and thereby encouraging a forward-looking audit. Yet, nothing.
*Now, listen. This above, is why without an #AuditLAUTECH, any attempt to #FundLAUTECH, either directly or by ‘bambianllah’, will possess striking similitude to a sham.*
Should the two owner states insist on this audit before further financing is provided? I say absolutely yes! This is because the seemingly underhanded manner with which the school management had approached this important move, gives room for major doubts. At this point, both Oyo and Osun have the right to demand for checks and balances before issuing more cheques to make the school balanced. The LAUTECH management is demanding 1.9bn from the owners, and how sufficiently laughable that is, because really, what reasonable owner will sink additional N1.9bn into a fledging cause without a forensic audit?
In fact, it will be self-inflicting for the owner state governments to allow themselves get hoodwinked and blackmailed by the LAUTECH management into taking a course that will keep coming back to hurt us all, the school’s reputation and subsequent students, particularly. It’ll be nothing short of trying to cure a malignant cancer with a topical balm or ‘aboniki’.
In light of all these, won’t it therefore be wise and instructive, to sound a charge to every hurt LAUTECH student, parent, guardian and concerned heart out there, to recycle and rechannel our collective pains behind the right demand to #AuditLAUTECH and tax the school’s management to cooperate with the government and KPMG to rid LAUTECH of rot and pave way for a reopening?
Praise Ifedayo, a LAUTECH Alumnus and a HR Assistant at Intel Nigeria, wrote from Lagos.