The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Tuesday said his administration will not relent in its efforts at changing the face of Osun through urbanisation, in realisation that the built environment is the crowning glory of all civilisation.
The Governor also said that urbanisation is also very germane to his government economic rediscovery of the state.
According to a statement by the Director Bureau of Communication & Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon Aregbesola was quoted as speaking while receiving an award of excellence at the 45th conference of the Nigerian Institute of Building held at the University of Ibadan International Conference in Ibadan.
According to the Institute, Aregbesola was deemed fit for the award because of his several landmark achievements which include massive construction of roads, mega schools, hospitals, new markets, security, school feeding programme and others
Aregbesola commended the institute for identifying with the successes of his administration in Osun despite what he called targeted and sustained attacks and criticisms from opposition of his government over inability to pay salaries promptly.
Those who witnessed the event include the President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Builder Tunde Lasabi, Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, former Head of Service of the
Federation, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof Isaac Adewole and others.
The governor also lauded the institute for its efforts at improving the environment and for imposing standard on building construction.
“An accompanying problem of regulation failure is building collapse, which has become a scourge of the cities. Buildings, even those still under construction, have been in freefall, sometimes killing people and causing grievous bodily harm.
“I have no doubt that these are of serious concerns to your body and you are seriously addressing it”.
Aregbesola stressed that his administration has returned sanity to the built environment with the need to make buildings in Osun safe and create a beautiful environment at the same time.
The governor while describing the built environment in Osun as challenging, stressed that most of the cities in the state that will qualify as urban centres are historical places, existing for more than 500 years.
According to him, “When our administration came into office, we did an assessment of the condition of urban centres in the state and discovered that the cities were built with wealth realised from exported cash crops. But when this economy collapsed, the houses built from this wealth suffered neglect and were collapsing too.
”By our assessment, we discovered that 38,000 buildings have become dilapidated and deteriorating and will need urgent separation and consequently rebuilding.
“The urgent task before us is to renew the urban centres, upgrade the slums and build future cities. Through the renewal programme, we are transforming the urban centres into modern ones.
He noted that nine cities of Osogbo, Ilesa, Ile-Ife, Ikire, Ejigbo, Ede, Iwo, Ikirun and Ila-Orangun are under the renewal exercise covering a kilometre radius from the Oba’s palace, regarded as the centre of town in each city.
Aregbesola pointed out that his administration has renewed negotiation with the UN-Habitat by paying counterpart fund of N100 million. Other cities, besides the initial nine, will receive similar attention in due course.
He emphasised that plans for the towns and cities are long-range plans which will cover a radius of 25 kilometres.
Aregbesola held that such plans are meant to lay a solid foundation for the development of the towns and cities for the next 20 years, as well as help assuage the problems of urbanisation in the state.