By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah |
Octo5 Holdings Limited, a developers and managers has said that the company is actively addressing concerns raised about the management of the Ocean Bay estate.
The company added that as a responsible corporate citizen, it had over the last eighteen months been actively addressing all the issues raised by the Residents’ Association as an essential pillar of its vision to create wholesome urban communities.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the CEO of Octo5 Holdings, Mr Jide Odusolu said “as a company dedicated to building conducive communities for residents and one committed to their wellbeing, we have consistently delivered value despite challenges encountered”.
He added that though 2020 was particularly turbulent, intertwined with the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, his company had remained unwavering in its determination to ensure that Ocean Bay Estate remains a unique and wholesome community.
Continuing the chat with journalists, Odusolu said just as alluded by some residents of the estate, Ocean Bay is a mini-Nigeria which just like the Nation at large, as a maturing community developed over fifteen years ago, has many challenges.
Nonetheless, he stated that his company was proud to have created a unique haven that houses over 300 residents with continued improvements.
He said, Ocean Bay Estate is one of few communities in Nigeria, where the developer has consistently funded all estate improvement works without putting any financial pressure on residents to make capital contributions beyond insisting they pay their service charges and utility bills.
He noted that the only other payment that anyone makes applies to property investors and homeowners who pay a mandatory one-time infrastructure connection fee to connect their houses to the infrastructure services grid provided and maintained by his company for the estate.
He lamented that unfortunately many residents, including the Residents Association Chairman, were in the habit of not paying their service dues and utility charges often hiding under the pretext of displeasure with service quality.
For example, he asserted that between June 2019 and now, Octo5 had expended over NGN 150m on overhauling the estate water grid, yet a number of the residents refused to pay the monthly charge for water and had to be disconnected from the mains.
He wondered how someone that was disconnected and ostensibly not making use of the estate water supply could possibly comment on the water quality.
Commenting particularly on issues of power supply, the Octo5 CEO said the company had been a serial victim of PHCN (now EKEDC) abuse of power.
According to him, the 24 hour power supply for which the estate was renowned was only possible using a blended mix of diesel generators and epileptic power supply from EKEDC under a willing buyer-willing seller arrangement at a rate much higher than the public tariff. He explained that when in December, EKEDC unilaterally attempted to increase tariffs and back-charge the estate with a spurious excessive claim, it resulted in a dispute as the management company in charge of the estate refused to pay and instead submitted evidence of past payments to EKEDC. Unfortunately, EKEDC unilaterally disconnected the estate in February after a two day notice.
According to him, Octo5 recognizing itself as the utility owner accepted it was its duty to address the issue and immediately purchased a brand new 1MVA diesel generator in addition to existing 500KVA and 800KVA generators it had earlier procured to enable it to provide a short term solution.
The company also simultaneously invested in a gas-powered captive power plant for permanent solution to the power debacle.
Odusolu stated that despite the huge cost being incurred running the estate exclusively on diesel generators since February, his company had maintained the same tariff in place and only adjusted operating hours from 24 hour supply to an average of 21 hours daily power supply for the interim period.
Speaking further, Odusolu said; “We recognise that our residents are used to the unique ambiance and services of the estate which is why most of them continue to live in the estate. A large number of residents have been tenants in the estate for over six years and never moved out while others who are homeowners have lived in the estate for over 10 years now. It is my greatest joy being able to see an estate that was merely a concept come alive”.
Questioned about a recent media visit to the Ocean Bay Estate, during which residents raised concerns with security and other issues in the estate, Odusolu asserted that these concerns have already been addressed and that efforts to disturb public peace in the estate are ill-advised.
“We have tried and will keep trying hard to make improvements through Octo5 Utilities (OBCSL), our facilities/utility arm. It is shocking to hear people like Messrs Odeabeatu and Orbih both of whom were part of the committee that selected the current security company guarding the estate claim to be unsafe.” he added; saying he finds it alarming that an estate which has been sustained for over fifteen years was being attacked by a few residents, whose motives are clearly questionable.
Fielding questions on why he chose to address the media, Mr Odusolu said; “we are compelled to address the media in this manner to counter misrepresentations and outright lies in the public space and welcome any media house to visit the estate to see for themselves and independently rate the quality of security, power, water and road networks provided and maintained by us”.
The developer said Octo5 remains undeterred and would keep moving forward with the various upgrades which include a recently completed 250meter external storm water drainage and an ongoing 800 meter community road, all being funded by Octo5 exclusively.
He again lamented that despite numerous efforts by Octo5 Holdings to partner with the Ocean Bay Residents Association executives by providing unfettered access by its executives; involving them in the decision-making process leading up to the selection of a new security company; carrying them along on actions being taken to address the power challenges and several similar interventions, a few residents have decided to carry out a campaign of calumny against the company and its officers.