Politics

BREAKING: Multi-Million Naira Library Abandoned In Osun

The building which is situated at Olomowewe area, behind First Bank in Oke-Odo, has been abandoned to rot away.

Both inside and outside of the library have been decorated with unwanted grasses which had overgrown the structure when OSUN DEFENDER visited on Monday. There was no sign of recent human activities in the building.

The medium gathered that residents of Iwo defied the coronavirus waves in Nigeria on November 16, 2020 to attend the foundation-laying ceremony of the library.

A student of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Emmanuel Solomon, who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER, expressed his disappointment on the abandonment of the library.

He said: “The indigenes of Iwo were excited on the project and its prospects for the reading community. I was particularly optimistic that it would bridge some gaps and allow me to do some academic research or any personal reading when completed.

“I am forced to think that this project is dead, and it is distressing. Something of this magnitude should never have been allowed to witness this neglect if the government was serious about it. The way government representatives raise people’s hopes about public utilities and end up dashing them is discomforting.”

“Why is it that when it comes to public infrastructure, our politicians do not take it seriously? Only God knows how much they spent on this. This is bad. I hope the government would come and put it to use,” Demola Lasisi, an aged man in the area lamented.

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Apart from the emptiness of the inner chamber of the building, OSUN DEFENDER observed that most of the bulbs fixed to the exterior of the building had been broken. There were also traces of leakages beneath the concrete deck at the entrance, from which water dropped on the tiled floor, evidencing poor construction.

Many members of the community are unhappy with the continued neglect of the facility. To protect the library from vandalism, a few local volunteers tidy the project’s expansive surrounds.

At the end of August 2022, Iwoland Hub, a community-based blog, posted on Facebook that Sheikh Yahqub Abdulbaaki, the Wazeer of Yorubaland, mobilised some students of Islahudeen Arabic School to clear the bush that had covered the structure.

A group called Ta’awunu Human Rights Initiative had lamented the ‘discomforting reality on the facility’ on its Facebook page on July 22, 2023. A Facebook live video made on the said day showed a large swath of the structure lying in a thick bush. The man in the video, who did not mention his name, further decried the reluctance of the facilitators of the project to make it useful.

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The medium gathered that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity had budgeted N300m for the construction of an unstated number of libraries in some local government areas in Osun State. Of that unspecified number of libraries, one was sited in Iwo.

The construction was managed by Volatix Products Ltd, a limited liability company registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2019.

It was gathered that the company got the contract for almost N200 million, which was paid in batches between 2020 and 2021.

According to the data extracted from govspend.ng, a public accountability platform, the contractor received N15,587,751.48 described as “payment of 15% mobilisation fee of the additional 50% release for lot w10: construction of public library equipment in selected LGAs of Osun State,” on December 1, 2020.

On January 23, 2021, the contractor received another N114,310,177.54 described as an “additional payment of the 70% of the construction work done according to the valuation certificate”.

The final payment information, tagged “full payment of the 30% balance of the construction work done according to the final valuation certificate,” indicating that the implementing agency paid ₦62,351,005.94 on March 22, 2021, to the contractor.

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Reacting to the development, Senator Adelere Oriolowo, who served as Osun West Senatorial District Senator from 2019 to 2023, disclosed that he facilitated the project during his tenure. The project was being carried out in phases, the former legislator said.

“Government is a continuum. The project was in phases. I completed the first phase before leaving office. If there is any question about why it has not been put to use, I think that should be directed to my successor,” Oriolowo stated.

In his reaction, the current Senator of the district, Akogun Lere Oyewumi, said he would visit the place soon to assess the situation and work on making it functional.

He said: “I was informed about this the last time I visited Iwo. As you know, the legislature operates on a yearly budget. That cannot be captured in the 2024 budget again.

“However, I promise to visit the place before June, so that I can work on it next year. It will be functional before long, Insha Allah.”

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