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Experts, builders seek professionalism in construction practice

By Victor Gbonegun
20 December 2021   |   2:45 am
To tackle quackery and the menace of structural failures, a professor of political economy, Patrick Utomi, has charged members of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB)

To tackle quackery and the menace of structural failures, a professor of political economy, Patrick Utomi, has charged members of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) to imbibe the culture of professionalism.

Utomi, who led the charge at NIOB’s inaugural memorial lecture on ‘Building Collapse as Metaphor’, in honour of late Pa Fatai Osikoya, its first President and Nigeria’s first registered builder, blamed incidents of collapsed buildings on moral decadence, corruption, regulatory agencies’ negligence and dearth of skilled artisans.

He urged NIOB to engage building regulatory agencies to enforce laws, eliminate quacks in the industry and guarantee quality in building production.

He said professionalism is about competence, standards and values, adding that ethos and ethics of people involved in building confidence in the outcome of their work.

Utomi, who is also the founder, Centre For Values in Leadership, lamented that the country is on the terrain of quackery, which is so much pronounced in the building industry.

He made case for democratisation of homeownership in Nigeria so that anyone who is able to vote would own a house.

To him, it was regrettable that Nigeria still has a huge housing deficit, noting that in the nation’s history, it was only the Shehu Shagari administration that attempted to bridge the gaps in the housing sector.

NIOB President, Prof. Yohana lzam, represented by the institutes’ second Vice President, Mr. Bimbo Kolade, acknowledged the pioneering efforts of Osikoya, especially in providing credible leadership for the institute at the critical stages of its formation and transformation from a colonial heritage to a post-colonial professional body.

He disclosed that owing to Osikoya’s prominence, the lecture series would attract only outstanding building experts, economists and policymakers to interrogate issues relating to the housing sector.

The president of, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Akinloye Oyegbola, who was the Chairman on the occasion, commended the institute for immortalising the late Osikoya, describing him as an icon in the building profession.

Prof Kunle Ade Wahab, described late Osikoya as a dogged professional and family man with a large heart, who believed in training the young practitioners.

The Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, represented by the Chairperson, Association of Professional Women Builders of Nigeria, Mrs. Adenike Sai’d, challenged the NIOB to devote the forum to examining challenges of housing delivery, homeownership and also proffer solutions to them.

Adeyoye said: “Issues including the high cost of construction and high cost of land, which ultimately increase the cost of projects and reflected in the sales price should be addressed. The state is firmly on track to become a globally competitive, dynamic and sustainable smart-city but it would require the cooperation and contribution of all and sundry for affordable mass housing provision.”