The private sector is seen as driver of housing delivery in the country. BAYO AGBOOLA reports on such initiative recently in Ibadan.

There is no doubt shelter remains one of the major necessities of life. It is therefore a cheering news coming from the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo at the commissioning of Phase 1 Westlink Iconic Villa, Ibadan that despite the enormous challenges facing Nigeria, the country still stands as one of the topmost hubs for business, trade and investment throughout the world as Nigeria, he said, is ranked 131 out of 190 economies in the world on Ease of Doing Business, according to the latest World Bank rating.

Prof Osinbajo maintained that to make good use of the lofty height of Nigeria in business, trade and investment, the private sector should make investments to galvanise growth in the sector.

Osinbajo harps on private sector involvement

According to him, “We must indeed work together to redefine the real estate industry for the future in Nigeria.”

The vice president minced now words in lauding the Joint Venture Project between Odu’a Investment Company Limited and Chapter 4 Estates Management UK Ltd which gave birth to the Phase 1 of the Westlink Iconic Villa, Ibadan.

He said, “With what I’m seeing here today, this is creating a new and vibrant neighbourhood in this part of the country. I am hopeful that with the example you have set, this can serve as a model for many others to follow.

“It is my pleasure to be a part of this epoch-making event which clearly indicates tangible progress in creating standard housing for Nigerians.

“The Nigerian business environment has been colored and polarised with lots of challenges spawning fear as a result of insecurity, uncertainty, political, environmental and cultural disparities. In spite of these challenges, Nigeria is slowly but surely checking the boxes when it comes to the Ease of Doing Business, resulting in the country being one of the topmost hubs for business, trade and investment,” he said.

Osinbajo emphasised further that, “No doubt, the Ease of Doing Business reforms in Nigeria and the appeal to Nigerians in the diaspora encouraged what we are seeing here today through this magnificent Joint Venture project between Odu’a Investment Company Limited and Chapter 4 Estates Management Ltd.”

He commended the effort of the Board and Management of Odu’a Investment Company Limited for initiating the noble project and ensuring that the first phase is being commissioned.

“What we see here today confirms that there is a huge opportunity in Nigeria for investments in real estate industry. While government commits to creating an enabling environment, I will advise that we look to the private sector for investments to galvanise growth in the sector. We must indeed, work together to redefine the real estate industry for the future in Nigeria.”

Real estate on steady growth – Odua boss

The chairman Odua Investment Limited Group, Otunba Abimbola Ashiru said, “The Real Estate Industry in Nigeria has continued to experience steady growth over the last two decades. During this period, consumer tastes and expectations have significantly evolved. Changing lifestyle needs, technology and increased focus on sustainability continue to transform the consumers’ needs when buying or renting properties for both residential and commercial purposes.

“The next couple of years would be very exciting for the sector especially with the emergence of a new generation of potential home owners and renters who are technologically savvy and prioritise comfort. One component of the Nigerian property market’s evolution which I believe can make the market more vibrant is an efficient mortgage sector. With the amount of pent-up demand for property in the local market, if the right mortgage terms are available, I believe that originating 100,000 residential mortgages per annum is very possible.

“We at Odu’a Investment Group are bullish about the immediate future of the Nigeria Real Estate Industry. As one of the largest holders of real estate assets in the country, we see first-hand the immense opportunities across the residential, commercial and industrial segments of the sector. We plan to develop new and build on existing partnerships to help meet the growing demand for modern and first-class properties and living environments. Over the last four years, the Odu’a Investment Group has leveraged partnerships with developers such as Chapter 4 Estates Management Ltd, Address Homes and many others to envision world class projects such as the Westlink Iconic Villa, Alakia and the Ikoyi Crescent JV development between Wemabod and The Address Homes Ltd. There are a lot of other projects in the pipeline in cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, etc. These projects are at different stages of development, and we would continue to count on the support of our shareholders and other stakeholders to bring these projects to the market seamlessly.

“Over the next 36 months, we are expected to deliver over 200 units of residential properties ranging from affordable homes to luxury homes. We also expect to bring to the market at least two new shopping malls in Lagos within that period. As a group, we see opportunities across the whole spectrum of the real estate industry covering property development, estate management and facility management. We therefore recently transformed our flagship real estate subsidiary, Wemabod Ltd into a full-service real estate company to take advantage of opportunities across the entire value chain. In the next few years, you will definitely hear a lot from the Odu’a Investment Group not only through third party Joint Ventures, but increasingly from Wemabod Ltd. We have tasked Wemabod Ltd to aggressively expand its own portfolio of projects and clients.

According to the chairman, “The Phase 1 which is being commissioned today has improved the value of an entire land significantly. Before the agreement was reached between Odu’a Investment and Chapter 4 Estates Management, the land was just an open field occupied by illegal occupants and squatters and was not generating any significant value for Odu’a Investment. Since the project’s ground- breaking ceremony in September 2019 and even through the Covid-19 pandemic, the value of this asset has continued to appreciate. We expect that the commissioning of the project today would signal to the public that some significant urban rejuvenation are happening in this community, and subsequently improve the value of properties in this area.

“The Westlink Iconic Villa, Alakia Project demonstrates our resolve and commitment to working with the best partners in the industry to deliver high quality real estate projects.

Makinde harps on housing infrastructure

Governor Seyi Makinde at the commissioning said human beings need food, water, air and shelter to survive and with that guaranteed, he can launch to conquer new grounds and make more discoveries. He said, “Shelter is key because without it, human existence is threatened; that is why Oyo state government wholeheartedly welcomed and supported the idea of this estate when it was mooted in 2019. It is also because there is a compelling need to address our housing deficit which has greatly impacted on our Human Development Index as a nation.

“This initiative of the Odu’a Investment Company Limited bodes well with the deliberate design of the Government of Oyo State to make life more meaningful to the people of the state, open up our economy and enhance the quality of life. Today, I am happy to see that the estate that was envisioned at the start of this administration is coming to life as we gather here today to inaugurate the first phase of the Westlink Iconic Estate, Alakia Ibadan.”

Represented by the deputy governor, Barrister Bayo Lawal, the governor stressed that, “Right now, Phase 1 of the project involving 67 units of 5-bedroom detached and 4-bedroom semi-detached duplexes and 3-bedroom apartment flats have been completed and that is what we are commissioning. I congratulate the management of Odu’a for ensuring that this project is delivered as scheduled.”

With the foundation laid by Odu’a Investment Company in the real estate sector, there is a hope that there are better days ahead for the sector which may eventually lead to provision of more housing units for Nigerians at affordable costs.