Fashola &LASU Fee Hike
It is disappointing to note that a 725% fee increment is being introduced in Lagos State University, a university owned by a state government controlled by an opposition party that tag itself as the most progressive and an offshoot of Action Group, a party founded
by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The newly introduced fees in Lagos State University is totally unacceptable and must be rejected by all. Education and Arts students are expected to pay N193,750 and Medical students are to part with N348,750 as against the current N25,000. The outrageousness of the new fees is evident in the introduction of some unjustifiable sub-fees such as N50,000 moot court fee, N10,000 caution fees, N15,000 teaching practice fee, N20,000 medical student fee, N20,000 laboratory/workshop fee among others.
Please let us ask Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola how much he paid as a law student in University of Benin in the 80s. Same question should be thrown to the members of his cabinet and members of the Lagos State House of Assembly who have continually throne their weight behind Mr. Governor. Most disturbing is the blind argument made by the Governor and his agents to justify the fee increment. The highly subsidized if not free education that Fashola and others enjoyed were fruits of the struggle waged by the National Association of Nigerian Students in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Even when things were not as rosy as it is presently for Lagos state, no Governor before Tinubu introduced tuition fees or increase fees in LASU. Presently, Lagos state ranks as the state with the highest internally generated revenue and one of the states with the highest revenue from the federal purse. From the 40s to the 80s, Nigerian students enjoyed tuition-free education up to the tertiary level. This happened in an era when the world was not as developed as it is now and when economic opportunities where not as vast as it is now. Mr. Fashola need not be told that education (most especially tertiary education) is the bedrock of national development. For meaningful development to take place, government at all levels must be willing to invest massively in education as against the present meagre amount budgeted for education. In fact, the amount budgeted in most cases will be shared among party faithfuls, loyal contractors and only a little sum will be used for educational purposes. Public schools would be better if government observes the UNESCO recommendation of 26% budgetary allocation to education and if these schools are placed under the democratic control and management of elected representatives of education workers, students and government officials.
To set the record straight, the same government under the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2005 increased the school fees from N250 to N25,000. The increase has not substantially made LASU a better university than it was back then in terms of infrastructural development and instructional delivery. The de-accreditation of ten major courses in LASU last year and a visit to the institution support my argument. The Lagos State Government should consider the interests of the poor students who constitute 80% of the students populace in LASU by reversing the fee hike. Mr. Fashola should be reminded that his victory at the last governorship poll was not made possible by the man that lives on Bourdillon street in Ikoyi nor by his party stalwarts and rich Lagosians but the traders, artisans, workers, farmers, motorists, and the unemployed residing in Ajegunle, Ajangbadi, Agege, Agbado, Alimosho, Ojuelegba etc. who came out en masse to vote him into office with the hope that he will deliver a brighter and rewarding future to their children. Mr. Fashola, is an outrageous fee increment a brighter and rewarding future?
Member, Education Rights Campaign