Apparently worried by dwindling capacities in the Nigerian built environment industry, members of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) have been urged to go beyond the routine in their professional calling and strive for capacity development, which is key to having safer building and construction industry. With requisite capacity, local real estate professionals, particularly, professional builders would be at vantage position to tap into numerous opportunities within the industry.
This charge was handed down to NIOB last week during its just concluded Annual General Meeting (AGM), held in Ibadan, Oyo State. The conference, tagged “Oluyole 2015”, had: “Skills Development and Entrepreneurship in the Construction Industry”, as it theme. The three-day event was the 45th in the series of the Conference and the Institute’s AGM. The host, Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was conferred with a Fellowship award of the institute, said the conference was not only appropriate, but timely. The Governor commended the Institute for the award conferred on him, noting that there is the need to develop knowledge and skill in the building sector.
“Developing the skills of artisans will also put a check to the incidents of collapsed buildings that are now a common feature in the construction industry. “It is imperative for your institute and other professional bodies in the construction industry to come together to create a common platform and partner with governments at all levels and tertiary institutions to develop a more robust master plan for skills acquisition and development,” he said. Ajimobi, who decried incidences of collapsed building in Nigeria, expressed regret saying, “it is unimaginable that a country blessed with great potentials in its construction industry can experience such a magnitude of building collapse”.
He urged the institute not to focus on infrastructure development alone, but to expand it to social development. he promised that his government will continue to provide enabling environment for the construction sector. Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who received the Fellowship Award of the institute, urged NIOB to ensure that skills of artisans are developed locally to contribute to the economy of the country. Governor Aregbesola in remarks called for strict compliance to building rules and regulation to ensure a safe and beautiful environment.
The Governor, who commended NIOB for the honour bestowed on him at such a time when he could not pay workers salary said there are so much indiscipline in the building industry, stressing that Nigeria regeneration can come from a well regenerated urban centres. Addressing the gathering, President of the institute, Mr. Tunde Lasabi, stated that the choice of the theme “Skills Development and Entrepreneurship in the Construction Industry” for the AGM was anchored on the firm’s need for builders’ to embrace entrepreneurship.
According to him, a lot of business opportunities are available for builders’ and African construction professionals. “As builders’, our foremost concern is that Government provides an enabling environment for business to strive in Nigeria, and we are harnessing the opportunity to make a better nation,” he explained. Giving his account of stewardship, Lasabi disclosed that the membership strength of NIOB is over 7,000 and that there is better awareness of the profession in Nigeria much more than ever, saying he appreciated the immense contributions of members to the development of the built environment at various levels. Chairman of the Organising Committee for the conference, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, noted that the increasing desire of prospective owners of buildings to get functional structures that meet their subjective perception has placed an enormous expectation on the performance of builders’.
“Today, in Nigerian built environment, the relevance of builders in the building production process is no longer in doubt. But the worrisome dimension is the increasingly dwindling opportunities for the cascading of construction skills, competence and knowledge by the fast aging and depleting experienced builders down to the young and emerging builders for effective site management and successful building project delivery,” he said.
Former Head of Service of the Federation and Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, said the theme of the conference was one area where Nigeria today found itself colonised by Ghanaians, Togolese among others.
-Stories: Edward Nnachi