Long before now, property ownership has been one of the greatest determinants of advanced social status. In the 19th century and early 20th century, landed property ownership was one of the biggest requirements in determining right to vote before the introduction of Universal suffrage/adult right to vote.
The title “landlord” has a very interesting historical link revealing to us that slave owners and land owners in 19th/20th century especially had the clout to call themselves Aristocrats, political or social elites. They inspired the political events of pre-democratic Europe and America before successful battles of Abraham Lincoln of America and Franklin Roosevelt In my opinion, these two great men inspired civil rights largely in the history of Western democracy.
Interestingly, similar social reality was prevalent in Africa’s pre-colonial society as property ownership was the biggest determinant of who was fit to be called an elite or not. The numbers of slaves, farms, steads, livestocks and even wives were the yardstick of determining a “Big man” in those days and the similar trend persists today in the contemporary urban lifestyle of many Nigerians most especially the Yoruba speaking people. In fact, owners of “story buildings” (petesi) are proudly differentiated from owners of bungalows in the 50s, 60s and 70s. I remember freshly how some old men are fond of calling fellow old men “Baba Onile Petesi.
Sincerely, house/landed property ownership is an enviable achievement in any Nigerian society most especially in Western Nigeria and the discrimination between owners of story buildings/duplexes and owners of bungalows has lessened as many in the “Lower middle-class status” cannot afford to build story buildings or duplexes conveniently compared to house owners of the 50s, 60s or 70s who experienced the old good days. This is feasible in the structures of houses you will find in “old urban areas in Ibadan” like Oke-Ado, Agbeni, Ring-road, Malete, Mokola, Eleyele, Sango, Felele, Oke-bola, Popo yemoja, Foko(baoku), Oke-Oluokun etc compared to new residential sites like Ashipa, Academy, Elebu, Moniya, Arapaja, Sanyo etc where one will find more of bungalows.
Sincerely, a good social observer will confirm the sudden rise in demand for lands in new sites of Ibadan outside the city centres coupled with the rush in which residents are building houses in those areas most especially young couples who want to escape the stereotype of “old tenants” very prevalent in Lagos especially. I observed that the “rush for new sites started in 2003-till now when Ibadan residents developed a faster/emergency tastes for house ownership unlike their parents that might have lived for so long as tenants. Many factors might have Influenced the sudden change but it is not exaggeration to categorize the rush for new sites in Oyo state especially Ibadan as “Game of status competitions” and not comfort or good shelter.
In other words, the sudden rush for new sites/undeveloped areas in Ibadan is more of “ego competition” as old couples cannot withstand seeing young couples becoming landlords before them, friends competing with friends, church/mosque members competing with each other, salary earners also competing with petty traders who i suggest have developed bigger ambition for house OWNERSHIP than salary earners. The mad rush and competition should be appreciated as they present an “era of emerging advanced statuses and middle-class economy” for the state. Visitors to areas like Arapaja, Amuloko, Ogbere, Apete/Awotan, Oleyo, Ire akari, Iwo road new sites etc will appreciate the fact that these undeveloped areas of the city are reflections of poverty, infrastructural deficit, poor shelter and degrading urban lifestyle. Many of these new sites are “prepared sites for city slums in the nearest coming years” with obvious poor power supply, drainage system, layouts, motorable roads, bad bridges, mushroom schools, poor hospitals and pitiable structures meant for livestocks. You wonder why the sacrifice of such comfort for the craze of “new sites”.
Conclusively, I will not hesitate to throw stones of blames at the Government especially who neglected to embark on mass housing/low cost housing projects which were prevalent in the 60s, at least low cost housing estates for Civil servants in the state and another blame for the real estate investors who have shown less market Innovation in building low cost housing estates for the low middle class who are the major potential buyers instead of needless luxury estates with less or no buyers. The Government has failed to tap into the demand of the growing house owners and use that opportunity to build low cost houses ranging from 5 Million Naira to maximum of 15 Million Naira payable in 3/7 years which will reflect Financial ability of that class. They rather built so called housing estates for “over sheltered house owners” ranging from 20 million Naira to 50 million Naira in a state driven by 30% civil servants and 45% of SME owners. They have failed to realize that these growing disorganized new sites in Ibadan especially are precursors to city slums with Ibadan having more of “Bere, Gege and Ajegunle kind of residence”. I will never blame the rising tastes of Ibadan People for house ownership, who does not like to be a Landlord, but at what societal cost?, only God knows why most state governors put a stop to social amenities as relevant as low cost housing