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Fashola performs groundbreaking, foundation laying of ARCON house

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has called for synergy and cooperation among all Nigerians in rebuilding the nation, especially professionals and other stakeholders, saying in spite of the challenges and disagreements among various stakeholders and interest groups, Nigerians could work together to build a nation of peace and harmony.

Fashola disclosed this in Abuja, while performing the groundbreaking and foundation laying ceremony of the proposed ARCON House. He saluted the former Federal Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, who happens to be his Uncle, for his foresight in kick-starting the great journey of nation building by inaugurating the first Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) in 1969.

He described as ironic the fact that he has continued the journey of nation building as a distant successor of his uncle, 52 years after he served as the Federal Commissioner for Works.

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“It is indeed very ironic that I happened to be here today to continue the journey he started. It is interesting how these things happen and ironically none of us is an architect, but very happily we are both lawyers. I am happy that the challenge is that of building and not of disagreement.”

He told the audience consisting of past presidents of ARCON, members of Council and other icons in the Building Industry, “This is time for rebuilding our nation, this is time for rebuilding brotherhood, this is time for building our future,” adding that in a symbolic way, ARCON, by the day’s event, “is building its own future.”

Noting with delight that despite being enmeshed in challenges of disagreement a few years ago, ARCON had decided to set aside those challenges and build for itself a befitting House, Fashola declared, “Therefore, in spite of disagreements, we can still build if we choose to listen, if we choose to work together and if we choose to keep ego aside.”

The Minister, while commending the current ARCON leadership, said three years ago, when it was inaugurated, the Architecture profession had very many challenges, which he described as largely man-made.

“I am happy that ARCON President, Engr. Ajayi and his team have taken it upon themselves to say that if these problems are man-made, it will only take men of goodwill to resolve it and this is a very good example of the microcosm of what ARCON has done as a blessing to all of us.”

Commending ARCON for the decision to build and establish its presence in the Federal Capital Territory as a symbol of the unity of its professionals, Fashola declared, “To all the seen and unseen hands who have helped to restore engagement, who have helped to restore that family, I send my great word of thanks,” adding, “This is a much better place for the Architecture Family than where it was three years ago.

“I am joyous because you have helped to give invaluable quality to the many generations of those who are aspiring to join the profession. This is a very great challenge worth having; a challenge of building not a challenge of disagreement”, the Minister said.

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Earlier in his goodwill message, the Governor of Taraba State, Arch. Darius Dickson Isiaku, congratulated ARCON for finally deciding to build for itself, describing as a paradox the fact that the Council has for decades built edifices for others without having a roof over its own head. 

Commending the efforts of the Minister of Works and Housing and his FCT counterpart to bring the ARCON vision to reality, the Governor, who was represented on the occasion by one of the State officials, Arc. Dauda also commended the efforts of the Council to make the project possible at this time.

In his goodwill message, the Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, who was also represented at the occasion, congratulated ARCON on its efforts to establish its presence in Abuja, noting that by its mandate his Ministry considers ARCON a veritable stakeholder in the development of the nation.

In his welcome address, ARCON President, Arch (Sir) Gabriel Oladipupo Ajayi listed the cardinal objectives of ARCON to include re-engineering the Council, harmonising positions with all interest groups with the help of the Minister of Works and Housing, who, according to him, “calls us together all the time.”

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