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Gov. Makinde’s approach will change the face of Real Estate in Oyo – Afia Construction boss, Adanla Speaks

Posted by afiaadmin on March 19, 2024
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The Turaki Adinni of Oyo State, Engr. Abdul-Jelyl Adekunle Kar-heem, Mogaji Adanla is one of the top players in the real estate sector of Oyo State. His Afia Construction company has recorded a tremendous success in the past few years.

The company is currently undertaking the construction of Chief Lateef Oyelade GRA, off Ring Road, Ibadan for the Oyo State government through Private Public Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Adanla has also landed another mega project with the governor Seyi Makinde-led administration. He has been tasked to reshape and sanitize the popular Bola Ige International Market, New Gbagi, Ibadan.

In this interview with City People’s DARE ADENIRAN, Adanla spoke extensively on his new projects and plans to expand even more. The interview is a very interesting one. Enjoy the excerpts……

Tell us about the details of your partnership with Oyo State government on Chief Lateef Oyelade GRA?

We stated physical construction August last year. So far we have done more than 60% of what is required. We are planning towards doing the first infrastructure partner, that is what the government is comfortable with. Infrastructure partner that will deliver projects before the expected delivery date.

The partnership is about you doing what you have to do. We have all the necessary supports from the government. Funding is not a problem. This is my trade. This is the only thing I know how to do best. Then why wasting time? So we are working towards delivery before the expected delivery date.

On the details of the partnership, the terms of the Private Public Partnership (PPP) are very simple. You investigate the areas where government have plans to develop into GRAs and put in your own interest letter. They do background checks on your company and all that.

There are also different kinds of uniqueness to every potential site. It depends on the sensitivity of the site you are working on. How much you are spending on it, as well as size of the land. There is no standard to that. It varies.

What is the uniqueness of Chief Lateef Oyelade GRA?

Well, i am not sure maybe 10 of such GRAs are coming up now. They all come with their different potentials and uniqueness. But among the major selling points of Chief Lateef Oyelade GRA is proximity. The GRA is two minutes drive from Ring Road. The location is superb.

Secondly, we are working towards being the first self- sustained GRA. Some other GRAs that we have around don’t have supermarket within. You will have to exit most of these GRA’s to have access to malls and all that.

But in Chief Lateef Oyelade GRA, there will be supermarket, Nursery school, clinic and all. You can get everything you want within. Even gas, if you run out of gas all you need to do is call the gate house and they come with cylinder full of gas within minutes.

The governor must have seen something special about your company to have trusted you with such a mega project?

To be honest I don’t know. But I know myself. You also know me because we have been together for years now. I’m a go-getter. When I set a target I work aggressively towards it actualisation.

As I just told you shortly before the commencement of this interview, we had a chat I think in 2019, during which i said I was embarking on having another degree in construction. Am currently running the program. I saw the interview a few days ago, I give glory to God that yes, I said it and I’m doing it now.

So the governor knows that when it comes to Adanla am a go-getter.

As a stakeholder in real estate, how would you describe Governor Seyi Makinde’s approach in addressing the housing deficit problem in the state?

Stakeholder is an understatement. Afia Construction prides itself as the biggest developer in Ibadan, if not in Oyo State. If there is any player that is bigger than Afia here, I am sure those behind it are not from here. We are not just a stakeholder, we are a household name already. The biggest indigenous developer. Yes, the governor’s dream, as someone that has traveled far and near and had seen how things are done, is to take the state to where it supposed to be.

I keep saying this, you can only compare Makinde to the likes of Baba Awolowo. The Awolowo Stadium (formerly Liberty Stadium) is there, Cocoa House and so many other things. That is what Seyi Makinde is doing as well. You can see construction works going on virtually on all the roads in Ibadan. Look at the Akala Expressway Road to Owode New Garage Everybody doesn’t have to go through Apata again. Look at Iwo-Road, the traffic is lower.

The circular road is the biggest construction project ever in West Africa. So Seyi Makinde’s dream is not like every others. Am no condemning previous governors they did their best to their capabilities.

As I speak with you more than len GRAs are coming up. So by the end of this term am sure people would not believe they in Ibadan or in Oyo State.

In what ways do you think this PPP approach will have positive impacts on the economy and the people of the state?

I can tell you categorically that one of the performing ministries in Oyo State presently is the Ministry of Lands. Because most of the lands that we are working on in partnership with the state government are lands that have been left untapped for years.

Some people may want to ask why is he using this approach. What other approach do you expect him to use? We have the lands but we don’t have resources to channel towards that direction. We don’t see it as important as education, roads, health and others. If you see a development partner that is ready to invest his or her own money then why not?

I am sare by the end of his second term in 2027, it’s not going to be the same Ibadan that you only know about Alalubosa, Jericho Aerodrome GRAs.

Why then is the governor’s policy being criticized in some quarters? He has even been accused of selling off heritage landed property of the state?

What do they mean by heritage property? Is it Mapo? Is it Bower Tower?

(Cuts in..) Agodi Garden Reserve and Trans Amusement are some of the areas mentioned?

Agodi Garden is not where they are developing. Yorubas have said it all, “ota eni ki p’odu oya. The development going on there is at the forest behind Agodi Garden so why the unnecessary noise. I can understand the fact that when you are doing well people would want to criticize, it’s welcome. But it has to be objective criticism. We must endeavor to fact-check some of these things before coming to the public domain to make frivolous allegations.

I don’t know what they mean by heritage property. Trans Amusement Park is not a heritage site. If there is a better need for the land which the governor is doing now, so what is the fuse about?

How much has Trans Amusement Park generated in the last ten years? There are lots of mini parks that are making waves. These are the places people go to now. Trans has been left unused. So if government is putting it back into a better use, is it not a good thing for us? But people will always talk. It is not unexpected.

There is also the claim that the governor is awarding the GRAs development projects to his allies. Did you also get yours as a result of your closeness to him?

That is still going back to my earlier submission that people must always talk, I can tell you categorically that my company got the project strictly on merit, not because of my closeness to the governor.

People should be reasonable sometimes at least. Because we know the governor doesn’t mean we are not an Indigenes of Oyo State. The fact that am close to Governor Seyi Makinde doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do what I’m capable of doing.

This is the only thing I know how to do, real estate. I was born into this industry. My father supervised the building of St Andrews College, Oyo when he was working with Mr. Banjoko & Sons. I have been going to sites since age 5. I’m on my fourth degree now, and it’s still on a construction related course. I have all it takes to do this. Why should people now see my closeness to Engr. Seyi Makinde as an issue?

What is Afla Construction working on apart from Chief Lateef Oyelade GRA?

We are also the Facility Manager for the government at Bola Ige International Market also known as New Gbagi. That is the biggest textile market in West Africa. We have commenced our operations there on the Ist of February this year. To God be the glory, our impact has been very visible. We have several other projects at hand in the pipeline but am talking about the ones at the execution stage

How is this your new job related to construction, and how do you plan to execute it, judging by its sensitivity?

Reshaping and facility management of the market is still related to construction. Don’t also forget that Afia is group of companies. We have Afia Homes and Property, there is Afia Construction and the Consultancy aspect of the company.

Now to your question about the sensitivity of the job. Since we have the full backing of His Excellency Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, the rest of the tasks become easier. The aim and objective is to restore the glory of the market back to what it used to be, as an International standard market. I also want to appreciate some people who have been very supportive on this project. I thank Engr. Dotun Sanusi and the entire elders of the market. Their cooperations have been encouraging.

We called a stakeholders meeting during which we explained to them what we plan to do. They gave us their support. The supervisory ministry, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce is happy. We are change agents. The governor knows we can do it. I have initiated a full capturing of the market of today and in three months time you shall come back and see the new Gbagi Market.

There are seems to so much going on around you lately; You are the Turaki Adinni of Oyo State, the Mogaji Adanla, the construction and now a facility manager. How do you juggle between all these?

It hasn’t been easy but it doesn’t affect each other. I have seen people who speak 10 languages. God has deposited so much in human brains but we don’t use it maximally. The brain is like a computer, average thing people do it to check their e-mails, type and get out. Meanwhile, there are several other uses of the computer.

Of course, sometimes I feel overstressed but I have been coping well. The only area am having problem is from friends and family, that won’t understand that these responsibilities won’t allow me to be on the phone 24/7 or pick all calls. Apart from that, we are doing well, and am sure we can still take more responsibilities.

Tell us more about this your new degree?

Yes. We have made so many progress. I was telling my brothers yesterday that if you present yourself for a political position in 2023 and you were not lucky enough to be the winner. You won’t come back in 2027 with the same profile. I personally won’t see you as a serious person. That means you have not done anything to improve your own private life.

So you can’t improve our lives if we put you in office. That has been my philosophy of life. I’m currently on my fourth degree, LLM (MSc) in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution at Leeds Beckett University, UK.

What is next for Afia Construction?

We want to do some units for sale, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom. Though not restricted but we think it would benefit those in the diaspora more. It’s going to be a situation whereby you have your own apartment which you can put into rent when you are not around. Why do you want to spend hundreds of million on a house that you will stay only once a year? It doesn’t make any economical sense. What you can do instead is to rent out such house. We can handle that for them or they can do it themselves. It comes in form of service apartment. The location is going to be on Ring Road definitely.

You must have learnt new things with your position as a religion leader and a family head. How has that affected your private life and business?

Some guys came to the site the other day. They saw the way I was relating with my workers, and they were like it seems you didn’t study here. I said yes, I studied in Great Britain. They said they have never seen someone that takes health and safety that serious. I made them understand the fact that if it affects one, it affects all. The universities and other professional bodies I belong to won’t be happy seeing that someone died on a project that I handled, something that should have been prevented.

Another thing is seriousness. The idea of Africa time doesn’t work with me. To be successful is not difficult but there are rudiments that must be strictly adhere to.

Sanusi Lamido once told me something. He said his father told him to be known for just one thing. If you are known for just one thing, you will live forever. He now asked his father that in what area one should be known. He said even if it’s as simple as punctuality. When they see your children and ask who is your father? And you say so so person. Ha! I know him, that man. We were in the same association. He was always on time.

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