A group identified as Ogun In SafeHands, has berated former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel over his comments on the recent student unrest that trailed the 61 percent reduction of tuition fees by the governor Ibikunle Amosun administration in the state.
It would be recalled that while some students hailed the government’s gesture, some, particularly students from Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU denounced the gesture contending that the 61 percent was not far-reaching enough and insisting that the reduction should commence immediately and not from the next academic session as proposed by the government.
However, Daniel was said to have at a political rally in Ota over the weekend, criticized the handling of the unrest by the government and tried to incite the students against the government.
Daniel was said to have claimed that there was no student unrest throughout his eight year reign in the state because he ran a student-friendly government.
The Ogun In Save Hands, however described Daniel’s comment as a shameful attempt to re-write history by spewing barefaced lies.
In a statement jointly signed by Tunde Sonuga and Adekola Onanuga, coordinator and secretary respectively, the group said that “If anything, students in Ogun State endured the most torrid time in the hands of Otunba Daniel. The truth in this matter is that tuition and other fees rose by 500 percent under the Daniel administration because he deprived that sector the needed funds.
“He first hiked the acceptance fees payable by students from its initial N1, 500 during the 2003/2004 academic session to N25, 000 and only reduced it to N20, 500 after students staged several protests.
“The Daniel administration also jettisoned the funding arrangement he inherited from the Segun Osoba regime, during which the state government shouldered 90 percent of the funding of its tertiary institutions while the management of those institutions were to contribute 10 percent.
“But Daniel first changed the funding arrangement to 70-30, and then 50-50 and later 20-80. It was that heavy burden on the management of the institutions that resulted in the high tuition fees payable by the students to the level where some students pay N250,000 per session.
“Besides, Otunba Daniel also goofed by saying students didn’t strike during his time as governor. We need to refresh the memory of the ex-governor that students of OOU alone protested more than three times during his administration.
“The protests happened in 2004/2005 over hike in tuition and transport fee; in the 2005/2006 session when several students were killed by Ago-Iwoye indigenes who were celebrating “oro” festival. Otunba Daniel promised to pay compensation to parents whose children were killed. He never did till he left office in 2011. In 2010/2010, students and lecturers of OOU also down tools over the non-payment of salaries to workers,” the group said.
The group also stressed that students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta went on protest more than twice during Daniel’s administration, stressing that one of such protests led to the sack of the former Rector, Waheed Kadiri, while over 300 students were arrested and detained in Eleweran for days.
“In 2005, he also showed this his ‘students friendliness’ to students of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro when an ND 1 electrical-electrical student identified as Azeez Sonuga was killed by his goon after some hoodlums allegedly pelted the convoy of Funke, his wife, in Ilaro.
“We recall that Daniel raced to the town iimediately and terrorised residents of the town for a whole day in a naked show of power. The following day, he sent his goons to Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro to ‘deal with’ the students during which the student was killed.
“He later gave N1 million and a Hajj slot to the family of the slain student and later blamed former governor Osoba as the mastermind of the assault on his wife and made baba Osoba to sign an undertaking of good behavior.
“Otunba Daniel needs to be reminded that he did more damage to the education sector in the state than any government in the history of the state. Apart from under-funding tertiary education, he was the one that attempted to throw over 20,000 secondary school students out of schools via his ill-conceived decision to transfer key secondary schools to missionaries without proper planning.
The group reasoned that with the manner Daniel was interpreting the reasons behind the recent student protest, it was obvious that the former governor knows more about the violent protest than he is telling Nigerians.
“He could actually be the unseen hand propelling the students to protest over a 61 percent fee reduction,” it said.