A 200-member Stakeholders’ Forum to review the 53 year-old master plan of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife in Osun State, was last week, inaugurated by the authorities of the university. The forum has the mandate to expose the extent of existing development and also assess the adequacy and physical condition of residential, academic, commercial and recreational environment.
The stakeholders are expected to make inputs into the proposed master plan review project being undertaken by a Lagos-based firm of Town Planners, Messrs Femi Olomola and Company which has been engaged as project consultant..
Already, the firm has commenced inventory of the existing services, facilities, utilities and the changes brought by trends in development activities.
The University’s first master plan was prepared in 1961 while the preset one was prepared 31 years ago. At that time, the main core of the university’s master plan focused on campus development. The original plan was later modified in 1963 and 1969 to accommodate growth of new facilities and increased density. The university’ s existing land use system comprises 11,855 hectares of land. Out of it, 5,605 hectares was captured in the first master plan and additional 6,250 hectares was acquired sometime in 1973 for further development.
The consulting town planner is charged with formulating concrete proposals aimed at evolving harmonious and aesthetic environment conducive to various activities taking place within the university community for a period of 15 years.
The firm is also expected to highlight the problems and potentials of the sectors and sub-sectors in the campus. It will also undertake detailed studies of physical, economic, socio-cultural, engineering, aesthetic and ecological components and other subjects relevant to the development of the university.
At the inauguration of Stakeholders’ Forum and Presentation of Findings in the on-going master plan review project which was held in the University, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic, Prof. Ayobami Salami tasked the participants to make valuable contributions to ensure that the university produces an enduring master plan.
He said the project is in line with the vision of the founding fathers,. The review, according to the deputy VC arose because of the dynamics of the time. His words: “There is a need to review the master plan to see what can be taken or re-modified to ensure that Ife, remains Great Ife.”
The Director, Physical Planning and Development Unit, PPDU, Mr. James Ayodeji, who was represented by Mr. Adebayo Owolabi explained that “ with rapid population growth and changes experienced by the university over the years as well as pressure which has led to the overstretching of academic, social, economic and infrastructural facilities, it became a necessity to undertake a review that will accommodate changes besieging the old plan.”
He said: Our expectation is that after these stakeholders’ consultations, accelerated actions will be taken by the consultant to conclude the project. This include recommending strategies, policies, actions and concrete proposals aimed at improving the existing situation taking into cognizance of the university strategic plan, the university environment policy and the National University Commission (NUC) minimum standards for preparing master plan of universities.”
According to the Principal Partner, Femi Olomola and Company, Dr. Femi Olomola, the firm is adopting citizens’ participation approach in the project. “The entire university community will have a say at every stage of the project so that they will see the end product as our master plan and not their master plan,” he said. Olomola disclosed that the stakeholders’ forum members were selected from all the sectors/units within the university such as Head of Departments, Provosts, Directors of units and representative of the Vice Chancellor office, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Regional Centre for training in Aerospace Surveys.
He added that the forum members are expected to comment on findings from the studies conducted on all existing land use systems and infrastructure within the university, which will form the basis for other stages of the project. The forum will also offer recommendations on the sources of assistance in terms of funding to implement the revised master plan. Olomola further explained that the project has been delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances such as getting the survey plan of the 6,250 hectares of land acquired for OAU in 1979, delay by consultants to conclude studies, trade union strikes, and getting the up-to-date base map of the university.
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