One of the the vivid memories about my childhood is one associated with severe hardship yet with some touch of fun. As a little boy growing restrictively within the outskirts Lagos, I marched on an empty stomach with friends through the interlocking closes and streets that eventually linked us with Sango-Otta.
We gave every sacrifice including surrendering to the scorching sun, stress of trekking long distances during the day and the terrible pang of hunger, all because we were going to see a landscape design that amazed and presented us with impressive children programs during the festive periods especially at the end of the year. Though I especially was aware that I would return home with fever resulting from hunger, stress and harmful effects of prolonged exposure to the sun. My compensation after all was the fun-filled experience at the Gateway Hotel in Ota, Ogun state.
It also comes to satisfactory flash-back as we would meet famous theater practitioners who had come to show their current cinemas at the ‘Gateway’. I so much romanced the designs of the Hotel structures that possessed sculptural sketches of symbolic image-antiques that depicted numerous Oduduwa cultural paraphernalia. Though, other beautiful places and structures existed that I did not know of as a less-traveled Sango boy, but the pleasing building-design to behold with the most propinquity was the Gateway Hotel, Ota even though the situation presented us with only a few seconds reviewing distant appearance in drive-by-view, unlike the highly prolonged minutes of viewing vast hectares of land used by giant churches along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway these days.
The need to succeed in knowledge and rush for daily bread, which usually cause people to leave a community for another are the same reasons that threw me off from this area for sometime now, but I returned to see the Gateway Hotel, Ota in the messy pictures presented above. There are no more activities, fun events, shows or even human dwelling. The hotel has now surrendered to the invasion of overgrown weeds and rodents, showing significant infrastructural neglect and none care for a frightfully long time.
Worried about the wobbly state of this Ogun State patrimony, I probed to realize that the Ogun State government under the administration of Gbenga Daniel had sold off many state-owned properties which also included the three Gateway Hotels, Ijebu Ode, Abeokuta and Ota in the claim that he ‘concessioned’ them, and were inevitably followed by complete neglect.
Although the current leadership of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun has reportedly reversed the sales or concession of these properties which include that of Gateway Hotel, Abeokuta, Gateway Hotel, Ijebu-Ode; Gateway Hotel, Ota; Ogun House Victoria Island, Lagos and Olumo Rock, etc, it is however noteworthy to state expressly that since the government which created these hotels and other ones managed them without problems, it obvious that Gbenga Daniel is a monumental fraud.
OGD claimed that these hotels were difficult to manage, but the fact that they were managed before he took over as Governor proves his claims fabricated. Also, the simple fact that the current government is repossessing the same properties OGD claimed could not be managed by government also reveal that OGD either lacked management sense or is only dramatically converting the state heritage into his personal property in the guise of ‘concessioning’ them.
The only returns the OGD government served in his entire eight years of two terms was that of his political god-fathers like OBJ in his first term, and personal, family and friends interests in his second term.Towards the end of his second term, OGD sold large state-owned lands to investors and 'friends of Daniel’ at give-away prices. According to valuation experts over N23 Billion was lost by the state through the mismanagement in land allocations by OGD.
Fraud suave, OGD also machinated the naming of the newly constructed N1.5 bilion Ogun State Property Investment Company (OPIC), a 12-storey building in Abeokuta Central Business District as ‘OGD Plaza’ only few hours after he commissioned it.
The selling off of state-owned properties by governors seems to be peculiar to PDP governors generally. It was also gathered of recent that the Oduduwa House on Victoria Island, Lagos which was jointly owned by Ekiti and Ondo state was also sold off by the joint scam of former PDP governors of Ekiti and Ondo States, Segun Oni and Segun Agagu – without any document to the effect of sales.
Concession or not concession, the Gateway Hotel, Ota has suffered utter neglect and infrastructural collapse.
It is extremely upsetting that people who run our states are either clueless and unable to manage government resources, or are deliberately unpatriotic and uncaring.