The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has explained the difficulty in any further reduction of tuition fees in tertiary institutions in the state.
The issue of tuition fees has been a strong point of political campaigns among the opposition parties ahead of the October 10 governorship election.
On assumption of office in 2017, the governor hiked the fees by over 200 per cent, claiming that the fees being paid at the time were unsustainable and unable to provide quality education at the institutions.
Following promises by both the Peoples Democratic Party and the Zenith Labour Party to slash the fees to an affordable amount, the governor, fearing a backlash from the voting youth, quickly reviewed the fees downwards.
With the downward review, returning students of the Faculty of Sciences had their fees reduced from N150,000 to N120,000.
The same cut applies to returning students in the Social & Management Sciences.
Students in Agriculture will now pay N100,000 instead of N150,000.00; Arts also will pay N80,000 instead of N100,000.
In Education, students will pay N80,000 as against N100,000 earlier scheduled.
However, the governor did not reduce the fees of those in Law, as it still remains N150,000.
But the opposition parties have insisted that when voted into office, they would further slash the fees.
But Mr Akeredolu told the youth that promises by political opponents to reduce tuition fees in the state-owned tertiary institutions were meant to deceive them.
While speaking Sunday at an interactive session with youth and students in the state, the governor said it would be difficult for the state to operate three state universities successfully without increment in tuition fees.
He said his focus in his second term would be job creation through entrepreneurship, skill acquisition and agriculture.
The Ondo governor said he already created over 20,000 direct jobs through the various industries operating at the Ore industrial hub.
Mr Akeredolu said an investor had paid the first instalment for the moribund Oluwa Glass at Igbokoda, Ilaje Local Government Area.
He said he planned to ensure more students take interest in studying agriculture.
“Very soon, the College of Agriculture will depend less on government funding. They want to focus on cultivating mushroom for export,” he said.
“They built universities without getting accreditation for any courses. We had a Medical School without a teaching hospital. I am building two teaching hospitals in Akure and Ondo town. We are turning Ondo State to a medical hub.
“We are earning less and doing much. There was a time we earned big but all the money went down the drain. My concern is to move ahead. We will need the best to manage the three universities.
“When I was sworn in 2017, the first executive bill I sent to the Ondo State House of Assembly was the establishment of Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA) to see to the policy of investment promotion, business development and wealth creation in our state.
“Today, through ONDIPA, Ondo has moved from number 34 to number 16 in the ease of doing business in Nigeria. By the grace of Almighty God, the Ore Industrial Park is a creation of ONDIPA under the leadership of Boye Oyewumi.”
Mr Akeredolu is seeking reelection on the platform of the All Progressives Congress(APC) and he is facing 16 other candidates, particularly the candidates of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede and ZLP, Agboola Ajayi.
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