By Mike Ofulue
T he Akure Automart along Ilesa express road in Ondo State capital was conceived to be a major market for the selling of all brands of vehicles.
It is located along Ilesa/Owo expressway, opposite Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC head office and beside NNPC Mega Station.
In many countries of the world, such are built in locations where it would not interfere with vehicular movement. And as such, the auto mart, which came into being as part of the urban renewal programme of the immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, was established away from the city center.
It is a serene and beautiful place where one can view different brands of vehicles on sale. The environment is secured, neat, conducive, and potential customers from various parts of the country who come there may find it hard to believe that such a beautiful place is in Akure.
There is virtually no brand of car not found there. They include: Sports Utility Vehicles, Land Cruisers, Jeep, the latest Toyotas and Hondas.
It can be likened to the famous auto market in Cotonou, Benin Republic where many Nigerians love to buy vehicles.
The only difference between Akure auto mart and that of Cotonou is distance from the seaport.
Akure auto mart is comparable to the best around the world, and has facilities like bank, police station, water supply, running toilet, power supply, space for sales of motor spare parts, mechanics workshop and others.
However, many car dealers have abandoned the place and are making use of unauthorised places like roadsides, different streets, mechanic workshops and residential areas to sell their cars.
The Ondo State government has, however, reacted to this ugly development by giving a two-week ultimatum to the errant car dealers to relocate to the auto mart or face the music.
The Ondo State Commissioner for Urban and Regional Planning, Prince Sola Amodeni while announcing the ultimatum in a meeting with auto dealers in Akure recently restated government’s commitment to restore order towards promoting a planned society devoid of lawlessness.
Amodeni hinted that the sales of vehicles everywhere different from the auto mart, has set back the plan of government to make Akure a model planned state capital, like other cities in the developed world.
The commissioner stated that the vehicles for sale still found all over the city after the expiration of the ultimatum, would be impounded and the dealers charged to court.
He appealed to all concerned to comply with the directive of the government for their own interest.
Speaking with the CITY WATCH, a car owner, Mr Bisi Agboola said the establishment of the auto mart is good, saying that it is a place where you can find any kind of vehicle you want at affordable prices.
Also speaking with CITY WATCH, another car owner, Mr Dayo Akindele applauded the directive of Ondo State government, saying it highlights the place of orderliness when it comes to Urban Renewal.
His words: “There is orderliness even in heaven. Every society should prioritise this.”
Akindele, who said that the state government has provided a place of international standard at Akure Auto mart, believes that the car dealers have no choice but to move there to do their business.
According to Akindele, since the government has provided a conducive place for car business owners, there is no ado about the government directive ordering them to vacate the roadside and streets of Akure.
He also noted that the auto mart is good for the customers to buy the vehicles of their choice in an organised market at low rates because of the competitive there.
“I think government is determined and committed to making Akure a decent city the citizens would be proud of. Also, buying vehicles at the auto mart reduces stress of traveling to Cotonou and other places to buy their cars.
“Also the orderliness there would encourage car dealers to always have the best of vehicles on sale to attract customers and consequently increase patronage,” he said.