Urban Renewal Sector
For 8 years, we deployed an Urban Renewal paradigm that is virtually a repudiation of the “trickle-down-theory” approach that vests too much hope in the refreshing prosperity of the regional city-centers revival to spread to less fortunate parts by parlaying decaying inner-city structures and market redevelopment as development catalysts of urban and regional areas. This was the essence of the UN-Habitat award I bagged in 2012.
When for instance we decided to transform Akure, the state capital to look truly like a capital city of a progressive state and an investment destination, it became necessary to clear the streets of street traders and other artisans alongside their shacks that liter the major roads in a squalid manner. At this point, the government had to make a choice: it was either government officials accompanied by mobile police and military personnel forcefully pull down the shacks and other illegal structures without making an alternative provision for these down-trodden people, or to understand the socio-economic imperative of street trading and realize that government has a responsibility to intervene positively on behalf of such people.
Rather than further impoverish and unleash terror on the poor people in the name of urban renewal, the government, by choice, took an inventory of these traders with their photographs, then built modern 21st Century Markets and relocated them and at affordable cost. This is a political choice, a progressive choice.
Also, when the popular NEPA market, a filthy and overcrowded run-down slum in Akure was pulled down to give way to an ultra-modern first-class market, the market women who had been the sole occupants for ages had anxiety of being permanently displaced with no hope for the future. But government unequivocally assured them of being the first beneficiaries of the modern edifice as every single person displaced would be allocated a stall each. If there are extras left; others can then compete to acquire them. Again, this is an ideological choice which has been replicated in the development of other Urban Renewal initiatives such as: dualisation of township roads, construction of Mechanic Village, Akure AutoMart e.t.c.
We can boldly say that in all our Urban Renewal intervention, rather than tread the path of destructive emphasis on economic gains that prioritises profitability above social values, we chose to recognize the fact that the government has responsibility to ensure that they intervene in the economy in a way and manner that carries the weak along.
The testimonies of our Urban Renewal efforts are evident in the successful completion of a new Akure-Ondo axis Motor Park, construction of an Ultra-modern Auto Mart, construction of neighbourhood markets, beautification of Akure metropolis, reconstruction and dualisation of strategic roads in the state while roadsides slums and ghettoes have been transformed into beautiful greenery and scenery.
Our government also evolved the mechanic village, where auto workers operate in a state-of-the art environment. There are 80 workshops/bush bars, each of which can attend to four vehicles at a time, aside cars at the car wash area, the spray rooms, spare parts stores and those on relaxation.
My administration has made tremendous impact in Urban Renewal as shown in the expansion of the Oyemekun Road to Mobil Filling Station in Akure as well as the dualisation of the Arakale road. Also, work is almost completed on the dualisation of Fiwasaye to Oba-Ile road to the Akure Airport. In Ondo town, the Itanla Junction to Ademulegun Roundabout; Yaba to Surulere were also dualised. The Owo township dualisation is another feat accomplished by us.
The construction of standard bus stops and installation of electronic road signs in Akure for instance has given the state capital a new look coupled with a better control of traffic.
We initiated the construction of 110 units of various categories of houses in the Housing Estate along Oda road under the public, private, partnership arrangement to provide shelters for low and medium income earners in the state. The sunshine Estate at Oba-Ile is another housing facility that sprung up during my administration.
We also found it desirable to have a befitting event centre that can compete favourably with any event centre in the world. Thus, we initiated and built what is now popularly referred to as the Dome - The International Culture and Events Centre in Alagbaka, Akure. The project is located along NEPA/Federal Secretariat highway, adjacent to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Akure, Ondo State. The plot is irregularly shaped and it is a size of 36.054 hectares (360,540,000 m2). The plot is bounded roundabout by the road which originates from NEPA and leads to the Federal Secretariat, The Ministry of Women Affairs, the Ondo State House of Assembly, the Governor’s office and the new secretariat.