Surveyors urged to embrace politics
Worried about the non-recognition and appreciation of surveying practitioners, members of the Association Of Private Practising Surveyors of Nigeria (APPSN) have been urged to embrace politics.
According to them, surveying, which used to be a respected profession has been relegated to the background because of non-participation in politics.
Leading the call at the annual workshop of the association in Lagos, a member of Oyo State House of Assembly, Dr. Oyetunji Olusegun, said considering the amount of input the surveying profession delivers to the economy, it is only amazing that its practitioners are not seen to be very active in the political realm.
He stressed that the call for practitioners to be involved in active politics does not mean that there is no participation at all, but it is a call for a greater interest to improve professional marketing.
Expanding on the theme: “Participation and Influence of Partisan Politics: The Future of Surveying Practice in Nigeria”, Olusegun said, a surveyor or two being present in the executive or parliamentary position will better propose and defend policies that affect the profession than just a proposal submitted by a surveying organisation to the government.
This, he said, is evident in the nature and quality of practice in some states where surveyors have been actively involved in politics.
Noting that to salvage Africa from the shackles of mediocrity, the practice of the survey profession cannot be relegated to the background, he stressed that, the onus lays on the professionals to come together in a unified front to project a brighter image of the surveying profession by actively supporting and involving in politics, leadership and decision making.
According to him, there is a big disconnect between the survey practitioners in Africa and the government, who is supposed to be the major clientele for surveying and mapping, and also between the practitioners and the direct land users.
This disconnect has robbed the surveyor of his important position in the economic planning of states. The surveying organisations and researchers lack a strong medium to approach government.
“The ones closer to governments are actually members of the government staff and cannot openly challenge or confront the government squarely.
“The survey practitioners, on their part, try their best to market the profession, but their effort is not just enough as there is still a very poor awareness amongst the populace on the importance of the geospatial information”, he added.
Another problem that stares the profession in the face especially in West Africa, Olusegun said, is the problem of professional de-marketing; people do not have adequate knowledge about the relevance of the profession.
“One vivid example is the value placed on a survey plan as against the legal agreement.
A legal document on a landed property refers to the survey plan. It is not valid enough, if it does not depict the accurate location of the property”.
“This location can only be provided by the geospatial information delivered by the surveyor.
This, therefore, means that the survey plan (which is a legal document in itself) should precede the legal agreement.
But the average land user feels more comfortable paying the lawyer than the surveyor”, he noted.
He also said another area is the idea of not giving the survey content of developmental projects to surveyors.
According to him, government awards contracts on projects such as road constructions, bridges and dam constructions to engineering firms without separating the survey content from the engineering content.
“The engineering firms then execute these contracts without regards to the professional input of the surveyors. This gives rise to a non-sustainable development.
“The projects end up not outlasting the tenure of the very government that commissioned it, not to mention the future generations”, he noted.
Providing the legal perspective to the discourse, Olugbuyiro Akinola, a lawyer, said surveyors must not relent in educating the citizenry of their importance, as it is the citizenry that has the final say when it comes to elections.
He also urged surveyors to see themselves in the appropriate light of who they truly are and must be ready to take their profession from the sidelines to the frontline through politics.