Estate construction projects are booming nationwide. Though the same cannot exactly be said about Jakande Estate, the low-cost housing estate situated on the top of Oke-Afa in Isolo, Lagos state, the area is warming up for further patronage as buyers and hirers are already paying due attention to its worth as the next goldmine for fortune seekers.
Not that gold has been discovered in the estate or that oil has been found in its grounds either; but lovers of low-cost housing units have a reason to smile as the new year takes shape.
The estate, which sits at a strategic location by itself by a few minutes’ drive from Ejigbo and consisists of more than 2,000 blocks of buildings has come under close scrutiny following the reduction in prices of property all over Lagos State. The area is home to modern, skeletal, albeit simple blocks of houses left uninhabited for a few years since they have been added to the old blocks of the low-cost housing estate. As the year 2010 takes its turn, interested individuals jostled to get their own share of apartments in the estate due to the reductions conceded by real estate agents in the area.
Factors of interest is not restricted to the drastic reduction in rents. A few of the new tenants who spoke with Habitat Nationwide confessed about the comfort that they anticipate enjoying as soon as they move in. Many of the new residents are from surrounding towns which are already overcrowded and locked up inside dirty streets. However, it is hoped that the influx of new neighbours will serve as the possibility for community development.
Like its counterparts, the estate offers serene atmosphere for the residents and a feeling of self contentment coupled with privacy can be felt. The streets are not jagged, though the estate is not perfectly planned. Yet, what obtains in the area is quite different from what is evident in downtown Isolo or Mushin metropolis.
The new blocks are also of simple design but they may catch the interests of young families or singles hungering for safe havens in a somewhat secluded part of town. Tenants of the new blocks have access to borehole water, pumped into plastic tanks placed on the top of each blocks of flats for easy utility. Most of these new buildings possess fences unlike the case of the old blocks which were left without pavements or boundary settings.
Commerce is not entirely alienated from the area as some might erroneously regard it as staunchly a place habitation alone. Jakande Estate, Isolo is home to a commercial bank, a micro finance bank, and one mortgage bank. The commercial bank and the micro finance bank can be seen opposite each other near the entrance through the main gate. The mortgage bank is situated at a few minutes’ drive into the left side of the estate. Furthermore, there is a hub of micro-mini business structures strewn about on the estate, seemingly hemming in the tall blocks of houses.
Small-time traders, shop owners, and other small office dominate every part of the estate, especially the roadsides. There are provisions for mild recreational activities, two eateries just outside its gates, a community civic centre which is still under construction and a large open space for sporting activities. Each section of the estate has its own alfresco vehicle parking spaces but some of these spaces have been converted to structures for business undertaking.
Previously, a three-bedroom flat could go for about N180,000 (now N150,000) per annum, devoid of extra charges for the old buildings, some of which had been bought-over by former tenants who are now landords in their own rights. For the newer blocks of houses (two-bedroom flats), the price was about N220,000 (now between N180,000-N200,000) and tenants may be required to deposit payments for at least two years. The reason why most people kicked against the rents was the old claim that the estate is a low-cost housing unit.
Both the rainy and dry seasons present considerable challenge for residents of Jakande Estate. During the rainy period, the entrance to the estate brims up with flood, creating hardship for pedestrians and motorists. Even roadside offices and shops are not spared from the chaos.
Usually, motorists are forced to use one lane at particular periods on the path of the road that trails to the market from Isheri Junction as the un-tarred road becomes extremely muddy at certain times in the year. As the rains make for a comeback, such scenarios are bent being during the dry season, clouds for dust envelops practically all the shops lined up or down the streets. The blocks of hoses behind shops also get their share of the dust. During this period, the bad condition of roads is evident as never before. Alluding to these periods, a resident said that basically “Most people in this place know too well that this is not a perfect place to live. But they are also contented that this estate can’t be as terrible as other areas in Lagos. Not that we care much for luxury, we just want a place where there is order and some comfort. Such advantages are up for grabs in this estate.”
Added to the environmental concern is the menace of petty thieves who disrupt peace occasionally in the area. Many have found their vehicles vandalised by unknown night-mongers at one time or another. To this cause, vigilante groups have sprung up to provide security at night. Major burglary cases are hardly reported in the estate and this makes it easier for residents to live without much anxiety over security issues.
Newcomers can be seen moving in with their generator stacked among other belongings. It is the influx of new faces that will add a new dimension to the hectic traffic experienced in that area in the mornings when people go to work and in the evenings when they return.
Asked what he felt about more people coming in to live in the estate, the long-time resident said, “They’re welcome. It’s a free world.” Indeed, the blocks of buildings in Jakande Estate, Isolo were not meant for the high-brow elite class in our society and the quality of the new buildings therein may not even attain to those in Ikoyi or Lekki but the truth is that due to dwindling rents, comfort seekers with simple tastes who are unable to afford the luxury of Lagos Island estates may consider another suitable choice: