Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State, has revealed that approximately 200 units of semi-detached, detached, fully detached duplexes and terraces under construction at the Muhammadu Buhari Estate in Abeokuta are nearing completion and will be delivered before the end of the year.
Prince Abiodun also stated that his administration is aiming to provide affordable housing to all socioeconomic groups.
The governor made the remarks while addressing questions from reporters after seeing the estate’s ongoing construction on Kobape road in Abeokuta.
Prince Abiodun emphasised the need for the contractors to speed up work to achieve the completion dateline by stating that some of the structures under construction have been fully paid for while part payments have been made for others.
“Today, we have almost 200 buildings that are upcoming. 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 no distant future,” the governor said.
He claimed that as housing is one of a person’s fundamental requirements, his administration will go to whatever lengths to provide it for the populace at a fair price.
Abiodun pointed out that the President Muhammadu Buhari Estate, one of the projects that the current administration inherited from the previous one, would be transformed into a first-rate estate that would serve as a model for others that would emerge in other regions of the State.
“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 prioritised it as one of the projects inherited where the commonwealth of the state had been invested and we must not allow it to waste.”
According to Abiodun’s vision for the estate, which is being built through a public-private partnership (PPP), the State is providing the land and the necessary infrastructure, and contractors, real estate firms, and builders are constructing the structures, which are then sold for profit sharing between the State and the other parties.
The governor expressed his happiness at the PPP initiative’s success, stressing that it validates the extent to which confidence between the government, the private sector, and the governed has been restored.
“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.
Abiodun referred to the project as “a promise made and a promise kept” and expressed his delight at the State’s recent ranking as the top state among the 36 states and FCT that have shown significant improvement in internally generated revenue (IGR) drive year over year out, saying it is proof that the administration’s policies are working.