Housing is one of the five basic needs of human beings for earthly living and survival. It is therefore not surprising that housing has been a major topical issue for successive African governments, Nigerian inclusive.
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, human beings’ physiological needs for food, water, clothing, shelter, and sleep must be satisfied in order for them to address more complex needs like mental and physical health, relationships, sobriety, long-term housing, and employment.
Maslow, in 1943, propounded the theory of Hierarchy of Needs that elaborated the five levels every human being must progress through to self-actualization. Most homeless people are seeking to achieve their physiological needs and the search for food, clothing, and shelter is prioritized above everything else.
While the United Nation’s statistics indicate that the housing deficits in Nigeria is estimated at about 22 million homes, analysts are of the view that the figure may double in the next 10 years. In fact, the issue of data and reliable statistics confront the housing sector negatively like many, if not all, sectors of the economy.
That the above scenario is dreaded and with potentially negative multiplier effects on the citizenry and economic prosperity of the nation, is incontrovertible. Therefore, all hands should be on the deck to ensure that the people “have roofs over their heads”.
It is the realisation of the importance of housing and the urgent need to bridge the gap of its acute shortage that has made the Ogun State government, under Prince Dapo Abiodun, to embark on aggressive housing programme, more than any administration in the annals of the state.
Previous initiatives in the housing sector have not been vigorously pursued and sustained, thereby leading to serious apathy on the part of the citizens. The government in this part of the world has confidence-deficit among the citizens; and justifiably so. It is either previous efforts are not sustained, or cancelled by succeeding administration or private sector collaboration collapsed as investors took loans and then disappeared into the wind. From experience, many governments’ housing projects do not go beyond tokenism or populist propaganda, with much noise in the air and little on the ground to show as accomplishments.
However, the housing schemes under the current administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun have been greeted with a lot of positive enthusiasm. The administration amazingly delivered 150 low-cost housing units of two-bedroom, three-bedroom and two-bedroom expandable flats at Prince Court Estate located at Kemta, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, within three months into office. And before doubting ones could say, “let’s go and find out”, the 150 units were sold-out.
It was therefore not surprising that there was a serious rush for the next housing scheme of the government at Kobape, about ten minutes’ drive from the capital city of Abeokuta. The 300 units at Kobape, which is almost ready for handover to lucky owners, have about 450 applicants. According to a source in the Ogun State Ministry of Housing, those who could not be accommodated in the ongoing scheme would be taken care of in the next phase. For now, a lid has been placed on the sales of application forms for the Kobape housing scheme.