Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has disclosed that about 200 units of semi-detached, detached, fully detached duplexes and terraces under construction at the Muhammadu Buhari Estate Abeokuta are at advanced stages of completion and will be delivered before the end of the year.
Prince Abiodun also said that his administration is working towards providing affordable houses to all strata of society.
The governor stated this while fielding questions from newsmen after he inspected the ongoing construction at the estate, located along Kobape Road, Abeokuta.
Prince Abiodun stated that some of the buildings under construction have been fully paid for while part payments have been made for others, stressing the need for the contractors to step up work to meet the completion deadline.
“Today, we have almost 200 upcoming buildings. Since the last time that I came here, many of them have been sold; some have paid in part, others have paid in full. The reason I came here today is to see how we are doing and to see how I can reconcile the date of delivery with the level of progress on the project. I am impressed, but I think the contractors can work harder.
“I have instructed the Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC) to immediately call a meeting of all the contractors and read them a riot act. We want to finish this project in the not-too-distant future,” the governor said.
He posited that housing is one of the basic needs of human beings, hence his government would not spare any effort in making it available to the people at a reasonable price.
Abiodun noted that the President Muhammad Buhari Estate which is one of the inherited projects from the previous administration would be turned into a top-notch estate that would serve as a reference for others that would spring up in other parts of the State.
The governor, who took time to explain the intricacies that surrounded the estate from inception, said the previous administration reneged on its contractual agreement with the contractors that provided the infrastructure in the estate almost leading to the forfeiture of the property.
He said: “This is one of the inherited projects from the previous administration and for the avoidance of doubt named the President Muhammadu Buhari Estate only had construction of infrastructure awarded and one show building constructed.
“But by the time we assumed office apparently, the previous administration had refused to pay the contractors for the provision of infrastructure and the contractors took the state government to court and were about to get judgment which was the forfeiture of this estate to the contractors. Because we did not have a handover note, we found out very late in the day but our Attorney General’s office swung into action and got an out-of-court settlement with the contractors after which we began installment payments and of course, with due charges.
“While that was being structured, we began to think of how to develop this estate because we have prioritized it as one of the projects inherited where the commonwealth of the state had been invested and we must not allow it to waste.”
Prince Abiodun added that the estate which is being constructed under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in line with his administration’s vision, has the State providing the land and the needed infrastructure, while the contractors, real estate companies and builders build the structures and sell them for mutual benefits between the State and the other parties.
The governor expressed delight with the success of the PPP initiative which he hinged on trust, emphasizing that it validates how much trust has been restored between the government, the private sector and the governed.
“We have about five different companies that are working here in partnership with the Ogun State government. I’m impressed that if there is anything one could take away from here is that our PPP initiative is working. PPP initiatives can only work if there is trust and confidence in the administration. Nobody will come and partner with you if they are not sold on the fact that we are a serious and focused administration. To me, it is a validation of how much trust has been restored between the government, the private sector and those that we are governing,” the governor said.
While describing the project as “a promise made and a promise kept”, Prince Abiodun noted with delight the recent ranking of the State as number one among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory that has shown significant improvement in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive year-in-year out, saying it is an indication that the administration’s policies are bearing fruits.