Opinion- Quest For Affordable Housing And Gov Abiodun’s Approach

Taiwo Ajayi
14 Min Read

The priority of the Ogun State government to provide 10,000 af­fordable housing units is rightful and necessary.

It speaks to the urgency of the need for government’s in­tervention in the huge housing deficit the nation is currently grappling with. And it could not have come at a better time than now when building materials are beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerians due to the high rate of inflation in the country.

At this point, no responsible government can afford to sit on the fence in the search for a solution to the lingering crisis in the housing sub-sector.


In 2023, Nigeria’s housing deficit was estimated at 28 million. At present, some real estate experts say the housing defi­cit in the country is well over 50 million, depending on the indices of data collec­tion.

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This has been further accentuated in many states today by the difficulty of get­ting approved government titles for real estate investment due to the bureaucratic bottlenecks involved in the processes. It has, therefore, become imperative for gov­ernments at all levels to assist vulnerable Nigerians to own houses to bridge the yawning gap.

In Ogun State, the good news is that the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, is not only committed to the provision of decent, accessible, and affordable housing for the greatest number of the citizenry, but he has also reformed the land acqui­sition process for the ease-of-doing-busi­ness as well as estate investment. Without the active support of private investors to come into the housing sector, it will be a mere dream for the Federal and State governments to actualize the national plan for affordable housing. But for a few states like Ogun State, where the land acquisition process has been effectively digitalized, private real estate investors are often frustrated by extremely cumber­some and expensive land title processes. Today, with the digitized structure the Governor has put in place Ogun State well ahead of others in the property registra­tion process, thereby eliminating bureau­cratic bottlenecks and corrupt practices. It has also enhanced the government’s credibility.

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According to experts, the only way to prevent the housing gap from escalating to a future problem is for the governments at all levels to collaborate with the private sector to make housing affordable. Pub­lic-Private sector partnership is part of the solution to the widening housing gap in Nigeria. With the current rate of our population growth and urbanization, Nigeria is facing a significant housing challenge. According to the World Bank, Nigeria’s urban population is expected to grow by an average of 6.4% annually, leading to a projected population growth of 400 million people with an estimated 200 million inhabitants residing in cities by 2050. To cope with this surge, effective Public-Private Partnership (PPP) has been identified as the potential solution to address the issue. PPP involves cooper­ation between government agencies and private real estate developers, investors, and construction companies to provide housing for those who need it. PPP, in housing, provides a lot of opportunities to promote popular participation in pub­lic housing delivery, encouraging greater private sector participation through mul­tiple incentives, and reviewing building standards. It also enforces the use of local building materials and leverages on econ­omies of scale to reduce costs per unit and increase the number of low-cost housing units.

Since the inception of the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration, the overar­ching objective of the state government to construct low-cost housing for public and civil servants as well as interested residents in all three senatorial districts has been going hand-in-hand with the pri­vate sector participation, especially with the critical stakeholders like the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and National Housing Fund (NHF), seeking a flexible finance in form of mortgage for easy and unhindered access to own a house.

The continued commitment of the ad­ministration to provide mass and low-cost housing for civil and public servants as well as residents would not only engage jobless hands in the state but would also boost the state’s economy through remit­tances of taxes and fees hitherto being paid to neighbouring states back to Ogun state’s coffers.

More importantly, the commitment of the Abiodun’s administration aligns with the urban regeneration policy recently embarked upon by the present govern­ment and the new housing policy of Pres­ident Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The Governor, while recently reiterating the desire to build about 10,000 housing units before the end of his tenure, noted that though the cost of building materials was on the high side, he maintained that the govern­ment could not abandon its responsibility of providing shelter for the people.

He disclosed that over 4,000 houses had been built across the state. He stated this penultimate Friday when he received the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Mr. Oyetunde Oladimeji Ojo, who paid him a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Prince Abiodun said: “To date, we have built about 4,000 affordable houses within four years, and we are still building. By the time I’m done, we will probably build about 10,000 houses.

“We have built medium and upper-in­come houses that have been completely sold out. They were fully four-bedroom detached with Boys Quarters, infrastruc­ture, water, and internet facilities.”

He said the administration was cur­rently working on another project called “Civil Servants Village” that would sit on a 50-hectare of land, provided with in­frastructure and layout, assuring that it would offer an opportunity for members of the state workforce to buy land and build their houses.

Stressing the need for trust between the government and the citizens in the area of housing delivery, he added: “We noted that there were some estates that were built by my predecessors that were not habitable. We realized that because they did not consult where to match the needs of our people with the design of the estates that led to the estates becoming homes for miscreants.

“After consultation, we began to build our first estate at the heart of Abeokuta and sold them between N5 million and N6 million. They were sold out before we even completed building them.”

He described housing as the largest employer of labour and fundamental to the Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing the imperative of the need for states to key in and support President Bola Tinubu’s efforts at providing afford­able housing for Nigerians.

The governor assured that his admin­istration would establish a system where Nigerians in the Diaspora would acquire property in the state online and track their development wherever they are.

The governor informed the FHA Chief Executive and his management team that his administration would share its experiences in housing deliv­ery to guide them into making decisions that would be of benefit to Nigerians. He also assured that land would be made available anywhere in the state for the construction of a federal housing project.

While responding, Mr. Oladimeji Ojo commended the state government for its housing delivery schemes, saying he was in the state to inform the governor of plans by President Tinubu’s admin­istration to provide affordable houses to Nigerians in the shortest possible time. He said as the custodian of land in the country, the FHA would liaise with states to get land for the construction of differ­ent categories of houses ranging from one to two bedrooms to be sold to Nigerians at affordable prices.

READ ALSO: Lagos Commits to Affordable Housing, Enhanced Infrastructure in Alimosho Local Council

Ojo further informed the governor that his agency was planning a studio apartment for the youths just as it would partner with state governments on hous­ing digitalization for the diaspora to buy property in any state of their choice.

It is no longer news that the Gov Abio­dun’s administration has commenced a sustainable urban renewal programme to make the state more livable and attractive for all and sundry. For assurance purpos­es, he said the renewed urban regenera­tion plan of his administration would be holistic and sustainable to take care of the unborn generation.

The Governor stated this a fortnight ago when he received the French Ambas­sador to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. He maintained that some cities in the state were very old and needed regeneration.

“We are looking at regenerating some of our old cities. Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, and Ilaro are very old cities. We have resolved to look at how to regener­ate them, particularly in a sustainable fashion.

“While doing that, we will not compro­mise the future,” he stated.

According to him, when completed, the new cities would have efficient waste management, adequate means of con­trolling the environment, clean energy and water supply.

The governor, who intimated the am­bassador of the various interventions his administration had carried out in the health, education, and infrastructural sectors, added that the state schools, hospi­tals, and roads were wearing a new look, saying that more infrastructure and basic amenities would be provided to accom­modate the spillover from Lagos State.

He said that with a landmass of more than 16,000 square kilometres, a large por­tion was suitable for all-year cultivation of food and cash crops.

He said that apart from having a large palm oil plantation of several thousand hectares, the state also had the biggest fish farm colony, which had become a model for the United Nations (UN).

He said his administration had estab­lished an agency to conduct, audit and provide a roadmap to actualise the ‘Light Up Ogun’ initiative to ensure that most cities in the state enjoy uninterrupted power supply.

On his own part, Pasquier expressed the readiness of the French government to partner with Nigeria in its develop­ment effort, describing Ogun State as very dynamic and suitable for investment.

“France is interested in agriculture and we are convinced that we can do many things in the field of agriculture with Nigeria. Ogun has fertile land and climate conditions which is a very good prospect for us,” he said.

Pasquier disclosed that France would host an agricultural fair next month in Paris, expressing delight that a delegation from the state would attend the fair, as it would provide a good opportunity to meet with French businessmen and women with expertise who are involved in agri­culture, especially, tropical agriculture.

He invited the state to the French-Af­rican summit scheduled for June, where companies from all African countries and France with solutions on sustainable de­velopment issues would gather, saying the summit would not only be for political discussions alone, but would deal with business and climate change.

One of the advantages of Governor Abiodun’s approach to governance is policy coordination.

Policy coordination refers to the pro­cess of aligning and harmonizing actions and decisions across different depart­ments in order to achieve common goals. It is fundamental to the success or failure of any development initiative. Coming from a private sector background, Abio­dun has always deployed his wealth of experience to bear on every area of en­deavour, including housing and urban regeneration which now constitute two sides of the same coin. The successful implementation of these two laudable ini­tiatives will no doubt improve the overall wellbeing of the people of the state.

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