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ATOPCON charts new course for town planning firms




Amidst several challenges confronting the construction industry, particularly, the town planning profession, members of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) have agreed that there was need to improve on the public perception of their profession.

This view, according to them, must be reinvented and sustained, if the profession of town planning is to command its respect and place in Nigeria.

The professionals spoke at the 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of ATOPCON, Lagos State branch, held at the Nigerian Institute of Town Planner – Joseph Awogbemi House, Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja, last week in Lagos.

Also at the event, the group, ATOPCON, elected its new executives to be led by Mr. Omotayo Awomosu, as the Chairman, while Mr. Sanni Kamil is the Vice Chairman. Mrs. Comfort Udoh, secretary; Mr. Lawal Babatunde, Assistant Secretary; Mr. Kola Olayiwola holds the Financial Secretaryship, as Mr. Bello Akinwale is the Treaturer. Mrs. Adaobi Anyikwa is the Auditor and Olawale Akinyemi is the new Public Relations Secretary.

In his welcome address, ATOPCON’s immediate past Lagos chairman, Mr. Joseph Akande, said there was need for them to evolve new ways to deliver their professional services, hence the choice of the lecture on: “Rebranding Town Planning Firms.”

The new way, if imbibed, according to him, would lead to great improvements in images and integrity before the general public, clients and professional colleagues, without compromising the ethical standards and code of conduct of town planning profession.

Similarly, National President, ATOPCON, Mr. Olaide Afolabi stressed that as an association, its core concern and drive was in evolving and nurturing sustainable human settlements and cities in the country by playing active roles as professionals, thus promoting urban and regional planning profession in Nigeria.

According to him, there was need to grow the private sector of the profession to give hope to coming generation of town planners.

“Our message to Lagos state government is to continue its efforts in the development of the city of Lagos into a true mega city and ensure physical planning is used as an important and vital tool in guiding development plans, schemes and policies within the metropolis.

“As obtained in other climes, countries with sound, proactive physical planning and policies develop rapidly and sustainably. Lagos State cannot afford to be left out in creating an enduring liveable city and, as town planning consultants we have to live up to the calling of our profession and its ethics.

“Also, we should seek ways in which technology can be fully incorporated into the profession, as the world is technologically driven and we cannot be left behind”, he added.

Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, who noted that though the profession is facing numerous challenges, it was rather unfortunate that, in times like this, the construction industry is often at the receiving end, even though it is the same industry that can also help to absorb all kinds of labour and expertise if adequately funded.

Represented by Mr. Moses Ogunleye, Ayinde, who was the immediate erstwhile Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State said: “For example, the Federal Government was said to be planning to construct 10,000 housing units in every state of the Federation. That amounts to 360,000 housing units across the country. Imagine the pool of workers, and the technical and professional inputs that would be involved. Imagine the employment that would be generated. Imagine the quantity of materials that would be required to achieve this goal.”

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