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Ondo Varsity Students Vow To Resist Gov. Akeredolu's Plan To Hike Tuition Fees

Students of the Ondo State government-owned Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba -Akoko (AAUA) have vowed to resist the plan of the government to increase tuition fees.

Students of the Ondo State government-owned Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba -Akoko (AAUA) have vowed to resist the plan of the government to increase tuition fees.

The students have called on the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, to immediately shelve the plan. The students blamed the delay in their resumption date for a new session on the proposed tuition fees hike.

Some of the students have taken to social media platforms to raise concerns over the delay in their resumption date, which they described as unnecessary.

A hashtag,#LowAAUATuitionCall4Resumption, has amplified the students' displeasure with the situation. Students told SaharaReporters that the university has been on break since last December when 2016/2017 academic session ended. Many of the students are critical of the university authorities' refusal to state the reason for the protracted delay in resumption of academic activities.

A student, Adefemi Akinloye, told SaharaReporters via telephone that many of the students have been idle.

"We have been at home since last year and nobody (management) is talking to us as to why and when we would resume. While we are calling for a prompt resumption of academic activities, we are saying 'no' to the proposed fee increment by the governor and his advisers," he said.

Adebayo Adegoroye, an English undergraduate of the university, said his colleagues are already tired of staying at home without their studies.

"We are tired of staying at home. We want to go back to school to continue our studies. An idle hand is the devil's workshop. It is better for the state government and the management of the school to find an urgent solution to this indefinite break," he told SaharaReporters.

Mr. Akeredolu, at the university's 7th Convocation Ceremony last December, announced that his government will carry out an upward review of the tuition fees in line with current realities. 

"Let me say without equivocation that the fees being paid in this school will be reviewed. I am not ready to tell anyone falsehood. We are here to say the truth because as you are aware, we would support this university but I beg of you, let us see it that way."

“All universities we have around here, go and check what they pay and you would see it. If you want, come and advise the government and let us know. But I can assure you all that we would review the fees that we are charging for this university. It is better for you (students) to prepare your minds for it because we are not going to make decisions based on political considerations," said the governor.

Spokesman of the institution, Mr. Sola Imoru, in a statement, said the management is using the protracted break period to restructure sections of the institution.

"The university is using the period of the break to put in place all necessary structures, including repair of facilities, especially at this period of a paradigm shift in the state's education sector, to ensure a conducive campus and a serene learning environment on resumption."

"We assure our stakeholders that management is as concerned as the parents and students about the issue of resumption and would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the university resumes for a new session very soon," the statement said.  

However, Mr. Ijanusi Olawale, President of the Students' Union Government (SUG),  said the students have resolved to resist the hike in fees.

Mr. Olawale was speaking on a programme on the privately owned Adaba FM in Akure.

"The only thing we heard from the Commissioner for Education was that the tuition fee would be decided by the Governing Council of the institution. The governor mentioned it during our last convocation that the school fees will be reviewed and that what we are paying is too low," he said on the program, which was monitored by SaharaReporters in Akure.

He explained that the highest amount paid by students of the institution is N32, 000. Despite paying that sum, he added, the university was twice rated as the best state university in Nigeria by a foreign agency.

"Increasing the tuition should not be an idea that should come at this time.  That is the reason why we will say no to that because we believe education is our right and not a choice. Our parents are paying their taxes and we understand Ondo State is dominated by civil servants. The government is not increasing the salaries of our parents, so why are they saying they want to increase fees," asked Mr. Olawale.