As a result of rapid urbanization, the Osun State Government has announced the commencement of the construction of a modern residential estate to be known as the Oranmiyan New Town, whose groundbreaking was performed on Thursday.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola said the development would be devoid of the physical planning errors of the past in the state.
He said, “It will be recalled that as a result of lack of proper urban physical planning, which the state experienced in the past during which people carried out physical developments as they wished, with the attendant problem of perennial flooding, intra-city traffic and transportation problems, and unkempt environment leading to health hazards, it takes courage for one to break this jinx through the introduction of pragmatic and practical urban development control.”
The governor said the parcel of land measuring about 2,572 hectares was acquired by the former Premier of the old western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, between 1962 and 1966 for the purpose of banishing hunger, poverty and unemployment among the people.
He added that the land had continued to be used for farming purposes until after the creation of Osun from the old Oyo State, resulting in the mass movement of people into the state.
He said, “This eventually led to shortage of housing accommodation for our people, hence the inauguration of an inter-ministerial committee to work out a modality for the utilisation of the hitherto Osun Farm Settlement; for its highest and best use, the committee thereafter came out with a recommendation that the large parcel of land should be converted into a Government Reservation Area, which led to the change of use that came into effect since 1994 and tagged: the Osun GRA, Gbongan Road.
Aregbesola said, “On assumption of office, the ministry saddled with the responsibility of managing government land in the state deemed it fit to redevelop the remaining parcel of land within the GRA, measuring up to 1,200 hectares, into a new town that shall be a model that other neighbouring states shall learn from.
“In order to guard against any communal conflict, rancor and acrimony, a name that unites the Yoruba nation was coined during my campaign days and upon assumption of office; the New Town is now known as the Oranmiyan New Town.”
From the comprehensive development plan, the Oranmiyan New Town will comprise seven neighbourhoods of private estate development, commercial shops, strip malls, community centres, recreational facilities, police posts and health centres.
Also expected are tennis and squash courts, 18-hole golf course and polo ground, and over 3,000 residential plots of varying densities.
The governor further said, “Developing new towns is a common phenomenon all over the world. The purpose of developing a new town is basically to create an environment that is aesthetically pleasing for living, working and recreating.
“More often than not, a new town can serve as a satellite town to an existing urban centre that has more or less reached its optimum level of growth so as to give room for its upgrading and partial re-development.”
According to him, the new town is expected to have basic infrastructural facilities, utilities and services, including good road networks, uninterrupted electricity, water, drainage and sewage system as well as other communal facilities.
The Commissioner for Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olumuyiwa Ige, said Osun had experienced influx of people since its creation, hence the need for new developments and urban regeneration.
“The State of Osun is one of the most urbanised states in Nigeria. This trend of urbanisation became more than doubled, especially since when this present administration came into power on November 26, 2010 till date. The rate of influx of people to the urban centres based on the government’s six-integral action plan has necessitated the possibility of establishing new towns in each of the state senatorial districts,” Ige stated.
According to him, the name, Oranmiyan, used for the new town was borne out of the passion for the Yoruba nation.