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Controversies of Ibadan urban renewal project

By   Gbenga Abegunrin  Reporter, Ibadan 

• Ajimobi (centre), with Pascal Harfouch, Operations Manager, Kopek Nigeria Plc (left) during inspection of the Bodija/Secretariat Bridge in Ibadan.

The on-going efforts by the Governor Abiola Ajimobi led Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) administration in Oyo State to beautify the ancient city of Ibadan, the state capital, and other major towns in the state has continued to generate controversies.

Leaders of the opposition political parties, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Accord Party(AP) have continued to condemn the demolition of shops in major market places in Ibadan, including Dugbe, Ogunpa, Ifeleye, Iwo-Road, Eleyele among others.

The General Chairman of the Ifeleye Market Traders Association, Comrade Olusola Olalere, revealed that over 5,000 traders have been rendered jobless by the demolition of shops at the popular Ogunpa and Ifeleye markets in Ibadan.

Addressing newsmen, Olalere, who was flanked by an elder in the Ifeleye market, Moruf Hassan, lamented that majority of the affected traders were bread winners of their various families adding that many of the affected traders just obtained loans to stock their shops.

Also speaking on behalf of the Igbo traders, the President of the Igbo Indigenous Traders Association in Oke-Parde and Ifeleye, Vitus Udeh, lamented that the exercise would cripple most of their businesses, adding that the state government should have involved all the stakeholders in proper dialogue before taking such action that affected thousands of lives.

One of such condemnation was from the Accord Party. This has however attracted reaction from the Oyo ACN, which accused former Governor of the state and leader of Accord, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, of embarking on a campaign of calumny against the Ajimobi’s administration.

The party, in a release issued in Ibadan by its Publicity Secretary, Dauda Kolawole, noted that Ladoja himself, while governing the state, demolished major buildings in the state, as well as shops and shanties adding that no one brought the government down for doing so.

“We could not have forgotten so soon how the Ladoja government demolished the church building on Ring Road, as well as the office of a construction company on the same road and heavens did not fall. Ladoja government equally demolished shops at Orita Aperin-Adesola road, Orita Aperin-Elekuro road, Orita Aperin-Adekile road and Academy Under bridge and no one sought to destroy the government at the time.

“No one labeled the government Hitler for these acts. Why then would the Accord Party embark on a campaign to destroy the Ajimobi government which is being applauded all over for sanitizing the mess brought on the state by past governments’ inactivity? In any case, Ajimobi is constructing about 7,000 shops at Scout Camp, and there are about seven others scattered round Ibadan.

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