By Dipo Olowookere
Oyo State government has explained why it used state funds for the ongoing reconstruction of the façade of the Music House, owned by the gospel musician, Mr Yinka Ayefele, which was partially demolished in August 2018.
Part of the building, which houses the popular Fresh FM in Ibadan, was brought down for allegedly breaching state laws.
The development generated mixed reactions across the country, leading to a truce between the state government led by the Governor, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, and owner of the property in question, Mr Ayefele.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication and Strategy, Mr Bolaji Tunji, the government said its intervention was informed by the acknowledgment of contravention of the state building code by the management of the Music House and the personal appeal by Mr Ayefele to Mr Ajimobi.
Mr Tunji also explained that the appeal by various stakeholders to the state government, as well as the preparedness of the owner of the building to rectify the contraventions, which would involve the reduction of the frontage fence line by 1.5 metres, among others, informed the intervention by the governor.
He added that the parking lots at the tail end of the building close to the entrance of Lagelu Estate had also been reduced by 10.9 metres to allow visibility.
Similarly, he said that the current frontage of the building was being remodelled to become the back of the building, while the current back of the building had been converted to the frontage.
In line with the recommendation of the joint committee of the state government and the Music House management, he said that an entrance was being reconstructed from the rear of the building to the staircase housing the ram for the exclusive use of Mr Ayefele.
He added that, “There is also the recession of the current façade on the frontage of the building by 2.9m. The new fence will be grill fence to ensure visibility, while a staircase will be built at the basement to access the studio.
“The structural elements in the building will also be strengthened, while the two projections at both ends (stair halls) of the current frontage will be retained.”
Mr Tunji said that the clarification by the government, as well as newspaper reports credited to Mr Ayefele on Sunday where he thanked Mr Ajimobi and stated that the governor had “through this magnanimity helped us to right our wrong and we shall be eternally grateful to him” should lay the matter to rest.
He advised those seeking to rubbish the political capital built by the governor in the past seven years through purposeful governance and unprecedented achievements to look elsewhere.
“Following Mr Ayefele’s admittance of breach of procedures in the construction of the building and his subsequent apologies, as well as intervention of well-meaning members of the public, the governor agreed to temper justice with mercy.
“The governor’s approval on the reconciliation of the issue was communicated to Mr Ayefele on October 19, 2018, where His Excellency also approved the assistance on the reconciliation agreed upon on compassionate grounds, as he earlier promised publicly.
“It is necessary to put it on records that the governor or the state government was not out to witch-hunt the popular musician or anybody, but had acted to safeguard members of the public who daily ply the roads contiguous to the Music House,” Mr Tunji added.
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