Osun Mega Schools Require Integrity Test – Expert ….Faults Politicisation of Govt’s Decision

Gov Oyetola/:://

 …Says former Works Commissioner ‘grandstanding’ 

A renowned architect and former Osun State Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Architect, Mr Goke Omigbodun has expressed concern over political intrigues introduced to the defective status of some mega schools in Osun built by the immediate past administration, at the expense of public safety.

To him, being a professional, he had personally visited one of the buildings and noticed a major structural defect that posed danger on the lives of school children and the teachers, adding that the integrity test of the building was urgently desirable.

Omigbodun who was also former Chairman of the Osun State Property Development Commission said this on Saturday during a live radio interview on Rave FM, Osogbo.

He lashed the former Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engineer Kazeem Salami for defending the defective school building structure, saying that is unexpected of an acclaimed Fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineer (NSE).

According to him, ‘’I honestly don’t think the decision of the State Government to conduct integrity test on the school buildings should generate any controversy. What should be the concern of the people of the State is safety. I  am also a little bit disturbed by the comment of former Works Commissioner, Engr Kazeem Salami whom you brought on your radio station a few days ago.

‘’I sent a message on WhatsApp during the live programme asking the commissioner that he is not recognising that the safety of Nigerians is important and at any point in time, what should matter is how to protect lives.

“I am even surprised that Osogbo Grammar School is not even listed among the schools that were to be inspected. If I don’t visit other schools, Osogbo Grammar school is not far from me. I always have one reason or the other to see some of the staff members there.

‘’Go to that school as I am talking now, the staircase is almost gone, and the staircase is supposed to be one of the strongest parts of any structure that ties the rest of the structure together. I first thought it was just some of the tiles until I went further and realised that I have to skip some steps to move to the higher level. I challenged anyone to go there when we finished this programme, I believe the integrity tests on buildings are essential to forestall unexpected sad occurrences”, he warned.

Omigbodun while reiterating his support for the integrity test explained that some of the buildings already had issues as far back as 2014 saying ‘’Wole Soyinka High School, Ejigbo, in 2014 collapsed. I was the Chairman Nigeria Institute of Architect then in Osun here and of course, naturally, I took my executive committee there to access the situation and to write our report because the National Council would expect me as chairman here to give a report at the council level and see how we can help government and the people wherever such happened so we can forestall such situation.’’

‘’What we are saying is that if this could happen in Ejigbo, and the design was represented and replicated in other schools constructed,  and some of the contractors were the same people who handled another site, integrity test should have happened since that time. 

“I heard from Ismail Omipdan, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor that the process for integrity test did not start now, all I heard from the former Works and Transport Commissioner, Eng Salami, was to just be grandstanding that he is a fellow of Nigeria Society of Engineers which does not save lives because life has to be saved, that is the truth of the matter.
‘’It does not matter to me whether you are Grand Commander of Engineering in Nigeria, as long as one building has collapsed under your watch, it means we should remove that Ground Commander of Engineering from you. The more important thing to me is for that integrity test to take place.”

He condemned the composition of the Facility Managers as constituted by the previous administration describing it as professionally faulty.
“One more thing I need to quickly add is the issue of the facility manager they also engaged, which to me, is faulty. You know this Lagos mentality of colonising Osun is still somehow perpetrated by the past administration.

‘’We must talk about it, you bring people who do not understand the concept you are asking them to come and manage. It is strange to them, facility manager of every building in the world is Estate Surveyors and Valuers. But here in Osun, you will set up a rent tribunal, there will not be Estate Surveyors and Valuers. The law is clear about this, we are flouting so many laws about engagement in public facility management.

‘’I know the situation should have been worse than this but I understand Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to be very decent. I am not so close to him but the way I see him, he appears to be very decent, perhaps that is why he has not opened some of the dirt,” Omigbodun added.

On whether the state government is using it for political gain or not, Omigbodun said “I doubt if Oyetola will embark on that because they will be shooting themselves at the leg by harming the opposition with information. Oyetola has demonstrated courage in revisiting some of the State’s education policies. 

“He is listening to the yearnings of the people, he changed the single uniform, he changed the reversed Gender Identity of schools and other nomenclature of the schools. I am not part of them, I am not their friend, but I doubt if it is about political scores,” Omigbodun said.