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Urbanisation Crisis: Oyo State, Ibadan LGs Urged to Close Ranks

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Authorities of the eleven local governments in Ibadanland and Oyo State Government have been urged to close ranks and evolve policies capable of solving the huge challenges occasioned by the rapid urbanization of Ibadan, the state capital.

A lecturer at the College of Social and Management Sciences, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Prof. Femi Olokesusi, gave the advice while delivering a lecture titled, “Crisis of Urbanisaton: A case study of Ibadan,” at Lead City University, Ibadan, on Sunday.

The May Day annual lecture was organized by the Silver Knights Club, an Ibadan-based socio-philanthropic organization, with membership cutting across the professional cadres.

The lecturer also urged the state and LGs to muster enough political will to implement and enforce existing policies aimed at restoring sanity to the city by formulating urban and land policies to guide urban management.

Olokesusi blamed rising population, weak economic base, poverty, poor urban governance, lack of a master plan, inadequate resources, inadequate water supply and housing, as well as street trading for the rapid unplanned urbanisation of Ibadan.

Another discussant, Prof. Oka Obono, of the Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, however, urged the participants to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in the huge population of Ibadan, rather than dwell on the challenges alone.

His view was echoed by the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented at the occasion by the state’s Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade.

According to him, a careful analysis of the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in the urbanized city of Ibadan would reveal that the situation was not as hopeless as painted by the topic of the lecture.        

Ajimobi said, “We see the mass population, concentration of research institutes in Ibadan city, establishments of companies, large expanse of agrarian land, peace and security, among others as the strength of Ibadan. Urbanisation to us is not all about crisis.”

Similarly, Prof. Micheal Asuzu, of the Institute of Public Health, University College Hospital, Ibadan, wants the government to improve on the poor health indicators of the urbanized Ibadan city.

In the main lecture, Olokesusi, who was a former director at the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), called on the authorities to urgently take steps to redesign areas that have not fallen into the crisis of urbanization.

He also called on the state government to implement the long proposed Ibadan City Master under the Ibadan urban flood management plan.

Olokesusi said, “Local governments in Ibadan are administered independently of each other without a coordinated body to ensure result either at the level of the metropolitan area or at the smaller level for Ibadan urban city.

“Poor urban governance is one of the obstacles to the prosperity of Ibadan city, because enforcement of some policies are not been implemented.

“There is also no doubt that there are inadequate health facilities inclusive of equipment in the city. The city prosperity is low; there is massive youth unemployment; no urban renewal programme, which is the missing link between improving city livability and prosperity.”

To address the problem, he recommended that the government should promote sustainable and inclusive economic development and people’s right to the city, ensure real participatory slum improvement, regularise slum titles, upgrade informal settlements and enhance the resilience of the city.

In his welcome address, the President of Silver Knights, Mr. Adegboyega Akin-Deko, said that the template of regularisation of urbanisation as regards planning and enforcement falls squarely under the purview of the state government.

He advised the government to provide a template that would allow the private sector and volunteers to participate fully in governance.

He said, “The government should create a Volunteer Corp to help enforce rules and regulations of the building code amongst other activities.

“You can also have private sector participators by way of building, infrastructure, sanitary inspectors, who will assist in formulation and implementation on contractual basis.”

Akin-Deko hinted that the club had decided to register a non-governmental organization called Silver Knights Humanitarian Foundation (SKHF) to promote the provision of water and sanitation facilities to needy communities and schools in Ibadan metropolis as a way of giving back to the society.

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