The Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has promised to rebuild the Akesan Market, Oyo and also provide support to all victims of last Sunday’s fire incident, which razed the popular 400 year old market.
The Governor, when he visited the site of the inferno and the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, said that rather than engage in buck-passing over the failure of the past administration to provide necessary fire-fighting tools, he would take responsibility for the failure of the system.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde, who expressed deep regret over the unfortunate fire incident, noted that an investigative panel had already been set up to look into both the remote and immediate causes of the inferno.
“I must, at this point, express my deep sadness over the loss of lives and property because of the various fire outbreaks in Oyo State. This is deeply regretted. Of course, things happen that signal the failure in our system. I swore to an oath to protect the lives and property of everyone living within the borders of this State, so I take full responsibility for this failure and promise that I will make things right,” the Governor said.
According to the Governor, victims who lost their properties and businesses to the inferno would be provided with financial support in order to enable them to have a swift bounce back into business, so that the economy of the zone would not suffer a downturn.
The Governor said the Government has commenced the process of acquiring additional 10 fire-fighting trucks to boost fire-fighting services in the State, while also urging residents to be safety-conscious with regards to prevention of fire outbreaks considering the current weather condition.
While speaking during the Governor’s visit, Oba Adeyemi said he believed Governor Makinde would fulfill his promise to rebuild the market, noting that he was rest assured that the Governor meant well for Oyo State.
The monarch, who went into a brief history of the market, called on the Government to consider returning the market to the Palace for control and management as it was in the past, for effective management.
“Whoever thinks he won’t cooperate with the Government will have himself to blame. We understand that and nobody can deceive us, it is whatever the Governor discusses with us that we will accept. And by God’s grace, he will fulfill his promise,” the Alaafin said.
Speaking at the Akesan Market site of the inferno, Governor Makinde said: “Just like I said this morning concerning the fire outbreak here, we have accepted it in good faith. But I want to assure you that whatever is expected of Government will be done.
“Though we all have to accept that things like this happened because some people failed to do the right thing when they had the opportunity, as the Governor of the State, I take full responsibility for the failure in the system, because I swore to protect everyone of you.
“I learnt that the caretaker chairman of this local government already has the record of all the traders here. We will look at that record so that we can support the victims of the incident. And I am also making the commitment that we will rebuild this market and, by the grace of God, this place will become more beautiful than before. So, I urge you to be calm for us to do what is needful. We will rebuild this market as quickly as possible with your cooperation.”
Similarly, while speaking the Alaafin’s palace, the Governor said: “I want to use this opportunity to greet my father, the Alaafin of Oyo and traditional council from Ondo State that I met here. I am here in with almost all the members of my cabinet. As we were coming, we stopped to see the razed Akesan market and I have engaged and spoken at length with the Iyaloja. The reason we all came is because we are saddened by what happened to the market.
“Today, we held an inter-religious service and prayed that an unfortunate incident like this will not happen to us again. The manner in which the year 2020 started is somewhat challenging but it will still end in joy for us all. What happened is not what should be politicised, because since it happened many have been crying over the loss. Some, their monies got burnt too.
“About four years ago, Alaafin told me that the market women who make little money from their sales use the stipends to send their wards to the university. So, there is now a gap. I have not come here to play politics or promise what the government will not do. We will look at the record of those who have stores in the market and see what we can do for them. We will rebuild the market.
“Some people have visited the scene of the incident and promised that they will give the traders some money. May God help them to actualise that because if they fulfill their promise, it will add to what the Government is planning to do. Actually, there has to be an organised way to tackle what happened. The caretaker chairman of Oyo East will come to the Alaafin and we will work with the Committee they will set up. We will rebuild the Akesan Market, modernise it and allocate spaces for those who had stores there before the fire and we will accomplish this within the shortest possible time.
“I have also spoken with the Commissioner for Works on the same issue. I want the Commissioner for Works to follow through with the programme we have discussed concerning the clearance of the environment and present the survey.
“We will give the architect that will redesign the place and mobilise workers to the site as quickly as possible. We are doing this because one of the cardinal programmes of this administration is to expand the economy without leaving any zone behind. And we know that this market is huge as far as the economy of Oyo zone is concerned. So, we will pay due attention to the matter.
“Let me say, once again, that I am not the type that will shift responsibility. Of course, some people for eight years did not acquire any fire truck for the fire service department of the State. I am not shifting responsibility but taking full responsibility for what has happened. I was the one who swore in the presence of Alaafin that I will protect lives and property of everybody in Oyo State. So, I will do better.”