An ambitious project, which is set to change the face of new town concept in the country, has been flagged off by the Government of the State of Osun. The project, christened, Oranmiyan New Town, is coming after a long wait for a more conducive livable town in the state.
The scheme, measuring about 2,572 hectares of land, about 6340 acres, was first acquired by Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier of the old Western Region in between 1962 and 1966 for the purpose of banishing hunger and poverty and unemployment among the people.
Promoted by the Ministry of the Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Development with support of an inter-ministerial committee, the new town is expected to have over 3,000 residential plots of varying densities, with the smallest plot being in the region of 1,000 square metres. It is also expected to cater for an estimated population of over 80,000 people. Amongst proposed basic infrastructural facilities, utilities and services within are road networks, uninterrupted electricity, water reticulation, drainage system, sewage system and other communal facilities.
Under the new town scheme, a comprehensive development plan has been mapped, which will comprise seven neighborhoods, each accommodating private estate developments, commercial shops, strip malls, community centres, recreational facilities, police posts, and health centres; The recreational area will also have tennis and squash courts, 18-Hole Golf Course and Polo Ground.
The site was formerly being used for farming purpose until after the creation of State from the erstwhile Oyo State resulting to the mass movement of people into the State from neighbouring States apart from the civil servant who were to relocate compulsorily. “This scenario eventually led to shortage of housing accommodation for people hence the inauguration of an inter-ministerial Committee to work out a modality for the utilization of the hitherto “Osun Farm Settlement” for its highest and best use the committee thereafter came out with their recommendation that the large parcel of land should be converted into a Government Reservation Area, change of use of which came into effect since 1994 and tagged Osun GRA, Gbongan Road.”
Speaking at the flagging off ceremony of the project, Governor Rauf Aregbesola said: “On assumption of office, the Ministry saddled with the responsibility of managing Government land in the State deemed it fit to re-develop 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 State will learn from.”
He 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 development as they wished with attendant problem of perennial flooding, intra-city traffic and transportation problems unkempt environment leading to health hazard, it takes courage for one to break this jinx through the introduction of pragmatic and practical urban development control.
His words: “Osun is an urbanized State. Hardly can one travels in the State for a distance of ten kilometres without passing through a community. Apart from this, the rate of influx of people from rural to urban area, a process called urbanization is alarming and leading to development of shanty towns, ghettos and urban decay (slums) and sprawls.”
According to the governor, 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.
Governor Aregbesola pointed out that “when fully developed, the New Town will serve as a growth pole to the area surrounding it. There is no doubting the fact that this new town scheme shall add another feather to the cap of this state, which is already known for being the first in a lot of programmes that are meant for bettering the lots of the citizenry. As already, this State is the only one that had prepared Structural Plans for nine of her major cities throughout the country; it is also only the State of Osun where Urban Renewal programs had commenced in nine cities at the same time! With all these developmental programs, the State is expected to stretch her neck higher and above those of her contemporaries in the nearest future.”
The State’s Commissioner for Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olumuyiwa Ige, explained that the basic concept of developing a new town is to provide a balanced and self-contained community as far as possible in term of the provisions of infrastructure and community facilities.
He explained that it is with a view to achieving the concept that Oranmiyan New Town was designed to comprise seven neighbourhoods to accommodate housing of different densities (Low, medium and High); commercial service; industrial and public cum semi-public uses; supported by essential infrastructure and community facilities; such as police posts, community centres, elementary, middle and high schools, places of worship, neighbourhood parks, health and centres, amongst others.
He said that an Inter-Ministerial Committee by Government met severally and came up with a recommendation that the hitherto Osun Farm Settlement should be converted and used as a Government Reservation Area called Osun GRA, Gbongan Road. “Before now the GRA had been broken into phases and developed in peace meals.”The remaining portion of the land had been comprehensively designed for development of a New Town-Oranmiyan New Town for the purpose of creating an urban environment that reflects the unique local flavours of its landscapes and cultural settings, while at the same line aspiring for universal qualities of accessibility, livability, safety and modernity,” he said.
Ige, an architect, disclosed that “Oranmiyan New Town has three major categories of roads: The Main Boulevard that collects the New Town to the External Osogbo-Gbongan Road from the Nigerian Police Zone II Headquarters’ end. The road has a right of way of 42metres broken into the dual carriage ways, median strip, drain and utility lane.
“Oranmiyan New Town boasts of botanical garden, commercial strips of plots along major roads, serviced plots, a Down Town/Central Business District (CBD) with varying land uses (religions, educational, commercial, institutional and light industrial outfits. In addition, three Arms Zone has been created to accommodate and incorporation the House of Assembly (Legislature); Proposed High Court and Judiciary Quarters (Judiciary) and the Governor’s Office (Executive), in addition to the proposed New Government House.”
Owning a parcel of land within the scheme also varies depending on the category and size of plot desired.
For instance, potential investors in the residential plots are required to obtain an application form for making a premium deposit of N60, 000.
A premium of N1, 000 per square metre (m2 ), and development levy of N2, 000/m2 , is applicable as payment. Other incidental expenses, such as survey fee, deed preparation fee, deed registration fee and annual ground rent of N15/m2 are applicable. For commercial / industrial plots, the same process applies, but with a higher premium of N1, 500/m2.