There is a popular saying which goes thus :- “What is sauce for the geese is sauce for the gander”.
I am a graduate of geography and regional planning (hence a planner), and I know planners and the planning profession and planning laws well.
The reason for the above statement is neither to advertise my profession nor to brag about my formal education, but to clarify the fact that Regional Planners are one of the most unbiased civil workers in their professional line, and to disregard the rumor about the recent demolition of Fresh FM having a political undertone.
For these reasons I would give real life examples here.
I did my Industrial Training popularly known as SIWES (Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme) in Ijebu Ode, I had the privilege to work at one of the most active regional planning offices in Nigeria, which is IJZPO “Ijebu Ode Zonal Planning Office” located at Oba Sikiru Adetona Awujale Road, beside Awujale palace opposite Etitale police station Ijebu Ode.
While I was there, I discovered so many things especially the fact that majority of the houses in all Nigerian states apart from Lagos state and Abuja, do not have building plans and most times when they do, the structures on ground are always totally different from the proposed structure in the building plan which was registered with the planning agencies.
Secondly, despite these consistent breach of planning laws, the planning zones would still serve defaulters various warning and precaution notices and when they fail to heed such warnings and precautions then they’d be served another notice calling them to report to the planning office in-charge of their local government area, a notice which most defaulters do not yield to nor make any follow up on and after this comes the 7 days ultimatum for demolition if the house deserves to be demolished according to planning laws or the regional plan of the particular area.
Hence, our questions should be!
(1). Does that building contravene any planning laws, especially the regional plan of that area?.
(2). If the building has a planning approval, Are the structures on ground the same with the structure in the building plan registered with the zonal planning office?.
If any of these two questions happened to be yes, then for what reasons is the hoolabaloo on social medias and the noise in open places concerning the legal demolition?, If not outright hypocrisy and purposeful slander?
If you actually want a better Nigeria wherein the law prevail over all and sundry not minding either the rich or poor nor the social or physical status of any individual, entity or groups of people, then you should drop all your bias before you read on. Thanks.
Fresh FM’s director of corporate affairs and promotions David Ajiboye said last week that the government wanted to demolish the building because the staff canteen, a spiral staircase, the mast and the fence were not in the approved plan.
Ajiboye of Fresh FM said in a facebook post that “Toye Arulogun, has just 9 months in office as a commissioner for information and he’s behind all the troubles, and feeds the governor with inciting news about Fresh FM”.
Contrary to this, the Oyo state government on Wednesday said that “There was no witch-hunt behind the proposed demolition of the radio station”.
The Oyo state’s commissioner for information, Mr Toye Arulogun said several companies and government-owned entities such as the University of Ibadan, Kola Daisi, University College Hospital, some banks and other radio stations were asked to provide approved plans. And they all provided it and those buildings that contravened the approved plans were demolished.
“The state government observed that property owners in the state are deviating from the originally approved building plans without seeking physical planning approvals from the Oyo State Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control,” Arulogun said.
Ajiboye said the state only gave a three-day notice to evacuate the building. But the state government said there was a reason for that.
It said the Fresh FM was first asked to provide its approved building plan over 12 months ago.
“The letter to Fresh FM was received by one Bamiduro Aderonke and a reminder letter dated 18th August 2017 was sent to the radio station to again request for the planning approval/permit for the Radio Station in line with the Oyo State Physical and Development Control laws,” Arulogun said.
The radio was supposed to reply within seven days. It never did, the government said. And another letter received by one Adebisi Akinfunmi on the 21st of August 2017 was sent by the government.
Arulogun said another letter was sent to Fresh FM on 29th of June, 2018, to submit a fresh building plan application that will reflect the existing structures on site. He said the station did not reply.
He also said that the defiant posture of the radio station prompted the Bureau to serve a three-day demolition notice on the 13th August 2018 which expired on the 15th August 2018.
Now who actually is to be blamed?
The planning Law, The planning Agency or Fresh FM?.
Do not expect me to include the governor or the Oyo state government in that rhetorical question, as it is not even their business because there is an institution already put in place to take care of issues relating to building or erection of structures, which is the Bureau of Planning or Regional Planning Zones.
The simple truth is embedded in the Planners slogan which says “IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN YOU HAVE definitely PLANNED TO FAIL”.
And if anyone circumvents building plans without re-planning and/or getting approval for circumvention then such person should be prepared for the August visit of the planning agencies.
Writer, Blogger, Political Analyst and Rights Activist.