The Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has denied ownership of The First Technical University, Ibadan, saying the institution belonged to the state government wholly and not any individual, including himself.
The governor made the clarification while receiving the state’s traditional rulers in the state, led by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who were on a courtesy visit to his office on Monday.
Among the royal fathers on the entourage, drawn from the six zones of the state, were Eleruwa of Eruwa, Oba Samuel Adegbola; Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul-Ganiy Salawudeen; Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola; and Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin.
Ajimobi also used the occasion to avail the royal fathers of his administration’s achievements in education, agriculture, peace, security and infrastructure, among others in the last eight years.
He said the state government had not expended any fund on the establishment of the university till date, as all the structures in the institution’s premises were built by foreign donors and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Ajimobi said: “Let me use this opportunity to dispel the rumour going around that I am the owner of The First Technical University, Ibadan.
“People are expected to talk, especially when they lack proper information, but if we fail to dispel the rumour, it may stick and become the truth.
“I want to say without any equivocation that I do not own the Technical University, Ibadan.
“It belongs to Oyo State Government wholly.
“It is easy for people to come up with such rumour because of the successful establishment of the university.
“It is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and we are happy that we succeeded in achieving this in our time.
“Nobody believed we could achieve it, especially during a period the country was grappling with economic challenges.
“Oyo State has had no financial input in the establishment of the university till date.
“All what you see there were done by lovers of the state, indigenes living abroad, international institutions and the CBN.”
Ajimobi urged other well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to also support the university through construction of structures like students’ hostels, halls, block of classrooms, amphitheatre and sports complex, all of which he said could be named after the donors.
The governor expressed appreciation to the traditional rulers for their unflinching support for his administration in the last eight years, which he said had contributed to the success so far recorded.
He said: “I give gratitude to the Almighty Allah for giving me the opportunity, in spite of my natural deficiencies as a human being.
“To serve humanity through the governance of Oyo State, which is unarguably the intellectual capital of Nigeria with highly politically-sophisticated people, is a rare privilege.
“I appreciate you all our royal fathers and indeed the entire people of the state immensely, because you made it possible for us to govern the state with uncommon success in the last eight years.”
Speaking earlier, Oba Adeyemi said there was no institution that could correctly appraise the achievements of any administration in any state than traditional rulers.
He said the election of Ajimobi for two consecutive terms was a testimony of people’s love and support for him and their acknowledgement of his administration’s success in some critical areas like education, health and infrastructure.
Oba Adeyemi said: “I believe very much that if there is any agency that can make a correct appraisal of any government’s performance in any state, no agency is better placed than the traditional rulers in such a state.
“The reason is not far-fetched.
“Among the traditional rulers, there are those who have experienced some administrations, which qualifies them to make fair assessment of all.
“In my own case, and with gratitude to God for my longevity and the good people of Oyo for their support and cooperation at all times, I have experienced many administrations, both military and civilian.
“Let me start from a noncontroversial statement of fact as far as Governor Ajimobi is concerned.
“It is that till date, he is the longest serving governor to occupy the Agodi Government House since the Western Region days.
“There can be no better empirical testimony of his acceptability by the people of the State than that.
“I doubt if anybody can deny the fact that the last eight years have been marked by peace in the state.
“He is always in constant touch with all security agencies, with his ears literally on the ground for vital information.”
Oba Adeyemi wished the governor success in his future endeavours, stressing that the traditional rulers were proud of him and would continue to pray for him and his family.