Osinbajo commissions Odu’a Housing Estate built by UK-based diasporans

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A group of UK-based Nigerian professionals and investors who are partnering Odu’a Investment Company Limited to build a big housing estate in Ibadan, Oyo State said they were inspired to come home and invest at a meeting in London years ago with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Speaking at the commissioning of Westlink Iconic Villa -a joint venture project of Odu’a Investment Company Limited and Chapter Four Estates Management Limited owned by UK-based Nigerians, Osinbajo said a more lasting solution lies in ensuring adequate housing finance, affordable mortgages and available social housing.

“There is a significant housing deficit, 17 million, which should ordinarily be a major economic opportunity not just for house ownership but also for the many jobs and manufacturing opportunities that housing brings. The missing link is not the market, neither is it the number of ideas for private development. Housing finance, affordable mortgages and social housing are what we need.

“Every developed economy has had to grow, usually, with government support, mortgage schemes. What needs to be done is that government must provide the capital to derisk single digit mortgage lending by bank,,” he said.

Citing examples in the US where government-sponsored enterprises have been instrumental to the growth of the housing sector, the VP said the role of government is crucial.

Osinbajo spoke on the Federal Government’s efforts aimed at addressing the deficit in the housing sector.

He said: “We started that process in our housing for jobs programme under the Economic Sustainability Plan. The Family Homes Fund was the arrowhead for the first phase.

“CBN was to provide the intervention fund for mortgage finance through the Family Homes Fund. We are still working on the programme but there must also be affordable private sector funding for housing.”

The Vice President recalled a meeting held with the group of UK-based Nigerians in March 2015, where he encouraged diaspora business persons) to bring their skills and capital back home and to partner with the APC government to develop Nigeria.

“After the event I had a discussion with one of the leaders of the group of business persons, Mr. Shams Ogunmuyiwa, who expressed a keen interest in coming back to Nigeria to invest in real estate. Some time after that meeting he and others came together to develop this project,” the VP added.

A recorded video of the VP meeting the diasporans in 2015 in the UK, was played at the event.

The VP commended the Odu’a Investment Company Limited for the feat attained, adding that the future is bright, if government stick to the vision of providing derisking funds supported with development finance funding such as Odu’a’s.

“Tough the road to raising capital was rough they (investors) kept at it through the years. But the breakthrough appears to have come by way of another great story. The Odu’a Investments Company Limited,” Osinbajo said.

In separate remarks, the Odu’a Group Chairman, Mr Bimbo Ashiru and the MD of Chapter Four Estates Management Limited, Mr Shams Ogunmuyiwa – representing the diaspora investors, paid glowing tributes to Prof. Osinbajo for laying the foundation for the project.

Ashiru said: “The Vice President deserved to be celebrated for encouraging citizens in the diaspora to invest at home which resulted in this project. It was the VP’s interaction with four UK-based Odu’a citizens that motivated them and set in motion the investment into the project.”

On his part, Ogunmuyiwa recalled the visit to the UK by the Vice President, which he said, laid the foundation for the project.

“It started in 2015 when the Vice President came to the UK. Sir, you may not remember everybody who met with you, but those of us who met with you will never forget that situation.

“You promised that your government will make ease of doing business a priority. We thereafter had one on one chat, that meeting inspired what set us up on this trajectory,” he said.

The first phase of the project comprises 67 housing units located in Alakia, New Ife Road, Ibadan. The second phase will have more than 200 units added.

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