By Kingsley Adegboye
The people who elected me are not low-cost people and I will not give them low-cost houses. Whether rich or poor, they are not low-cost people and they deserve the best that their votes and taxes can give”.
Fashola who was responding to criticisms that his administration is only building for the rich, further justified his stance on the construction of low-cost houses. His words: “For cynics who say we have not done low cost housing, I want them to show me where low cost land is, low cost cement and low cost iron rod and they must give us labour that is low cost and Naira that is low cost as well”.
The Governor spoke in Lagos last week at the third public draw of the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme, HOMS. A total of 76 new home owners emerged lucky winners of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom house types.
The Governor who said his government has delivered on its promise to provide affordable homes to the people, explained that the state government designed the house types to fit into the different income brackets for people who have a source of income.
He explained that what he promised Lagosians was an affordable housing scheme and not low-cost houses. He described the houses as affordable because allotees can pay over a period of 10 years instead of once.
“It is affordable because the interest rate will not exceed 9.5 percent whatever happens to the Nigerian economy. Every mortgage payment you make every month is not into a bottomless pit but towards owning your own home”, he said.
He said the present administration has also taken practical steps to make the houses very affordable by putting a 25 percent discount on it after calculating the cost of the building and the land.
Reiterating that the state Government believes that the citizenry irrespective of their social status deserved the best, the Governor said it would be unfair to describe any class as “low cost people”.
“We did not promise low cost, we promised affordable houses. Our opponents are too preoccupied with the embarrassment of their own failures that they are accusing us of what we did not promise”.
Fashola was elated that young and old winners have emerged in the process with the prevalence of young winners who do not have to go through what his generation went through in terms of owning a home.
He maintained that the public draws process is just the beginning with a little over 31 emerging in the first draw and about 37 being successful in the second draw and that as the administration did promise to put 200 homes on the draws monthly, it is doing so without failing.
“We have unfailingly complied with our commitment. We will continue to do whatever it is not to break that commitment. So month after month for the third month running, we have held these draws and incrementally winners are emerging”, he added.
The Governor urged successful allotees to faithfully and diligently fulfill their obligations under the mortgage scheme.
He added that with the way the scheme has been designed, in about seven or eight years, the State Government would not have to put any more money into the scheme because by then it would have become self financing by mortgage returns.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director, Operations of the Lagos Mortgage Board, Mrs Bola Fashola said the board has handed over keys to some of the lucky allotees, adding that out of the 27 allottees at the March draw, 22 have made their 30 percent payments while for April, 11 allottees were successful and four out of them have closed the financial payments.