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Opinion

Op-Ed : KWASU: AbdulRahman Watches as Gold Becomes Dust

 

Right under our nose, Kwara State University is experiencing a steady decline in what made it a towering star among other state-owned academic citadels of learning.

A recent investigative report by Elites Watch, which should be the talking point in all media and private conversations by concerned Kwarans, has gone under the radar. I fear that in a few years, we will start asking questions such as, “How did KWASU decline so badly?” Yet, we’ll have ourselves to blame because the decline wasn’t abrupt but a steady process still unfolding today.

I must commend Elites Watch Foundation For Investigative Journalism for painstakingly putting up such a compelling report. The absence of conscientious journalism like yours is the death of accountable governance in our society. It has become exigent for me to join my voice with yours to alert Kwarans to what is happening at KWASU before our gold becomes dust.

Firstly, since the sad demise of the Vice-Chancellor of the institution in 2022, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has not only failed to appoint a substantive Vice-Chancellor but has also disbanded the 5th Governing Council of the university, thereby making the acting Vice-Chancellor a sole administrator. This, I believe, is crucial to understanding why KWASU is being run the way it is today.

Till date, there has been no payment of subvention to the University despite the Governor promising to resume doing so since November 2019. This has led the university to compromise standards by greatly increasing its admission quota without a commensurate increase in staff or facilities to cater to these students.

This is bearing in mind that the state Governor has contributed no infrastructural or developmental project to the institution since assuming office in 2019. Neither has he completed the Campuses of the University at Osi and Ilesha Baruba, despite making promises to this effect. The University has been at the mercy of TETFUND for infrastructural and developmental projects, which obviously do not scratch the surface of meeting the entire needs of the University.

To make matters worse, KWASU admitted over 13,000 students in the just concluded 2023/2024 admission cycle while clearing #11,000 students as new intakes, which is much more than all other Federal and State Owned Universities in the country. Strangely, the University only has an academic staff strength of 572. For example, in the Public Health Science Department, where over 1,000 students were admitted, there are only 4 lecturers as academic staff in the department.

More disturbing is the fact that not only is the academic excellence of the students at jeopardy, but also their future because Kwara State University College of Health Sciences has not been accredited. So the students across the departments in the college may be in for the shock of their lives after graduating and realizing that their university has not been accredited for the course they spent years studying under unfavorable conditions.

Parents must also be informed that this compromise of standard by the university just to raise funds also puts the lives of their children at risk because the available School Hostels cannot even cater for 10% of the students. They now have to rent apartments off-campus without necessary security measures in place, jeopardizing the lives and properties of these students by both the management and the state government.

I must not fail to mention the revelation that KWASU has now become a retirement ground for Ex-appointees of the state government, with nothing less than 3 Ex-commissioners appointed as Administrative and Clerical Staff of the University despite not having the requisite knowledge and experiences.

All Kwarans must come together to ask if this sabotage of KWASU, which has become a source of pride to all, is a deliberate attempt by the state Governor to crumble and reduce the University from Gold to Dust because it was established by his nemesis, the Former Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

I appeal to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to leave KWASU out of his squabbles with Dr. Bukola Saraki. KWASU belongs to all Kwarans and must not be used for settling political scores.

*Gbenga Adetayo*

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