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Monday, September 25, 2023

Tough hurdles on the way for aspiring NITP Fellows

Do you wish to become a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP)? Well, you may need to do some bracing up as it will no longer be business as usual, following a review recently in Abuja of the guidelines for selection to the “prestigious group”.

President of the NITP, Tpl (Dr) Femi Olomola (middle) flanked by the Fellows Selection Review Committee: Tpl Barnabas Atiyaye (secretary) (left), Tpl Waheed Kadiri (chairman) (second left), Tpl (Dr) Don Okpala (second right) and Tpl (Dr) Stephen Hirse (right), during the NITP Retreat in Abuja, on August 24, 2015. A member of the committee, Tpl (Dr) Helen Anazia, is not shown.
President of the NITP, Tpl (Dr) Femi Olomola (middle) flanked by the Fellows Selection Review Committee: Tpl Barnabas Atiyaye (secretary) (left), Tpl Waheed Kadiri (chairman) (second left), Tpl (Dr) Don Okpala (second right) and Tpl (Dr) Stephen Hirse (right), during the NITP Retreat in Abuja, on August 24, 2015. A member of the committee, Tpl (Dr) Helen Anazia, is not shown.

The review was one of several activities at a week-long retreat organised by the institute. Others are the finalisation of a model LUPAR report (to produce the multi-user template) and handover of the institute’s Examination Board.

The Fellowship Class is the highest level of membership of the NITP, which lists other categories of membership to include: Student, Graduate, Full and Retired. However, Honourary (as well as Fellowship) membership are conferred on persons not engaged in the practice of the profession but have, by reason of interest, made valuable contributions to the advancement of the theory and practice of town planning.

But, worried by the fact that members are being admitted into the Fellowship Class despite the absence of a clear cut criteria, the institute had indeed made attempts in the past to overhaul the existing benchmark. For instance, courtesy of the College of Fellows, a committee was set up to review existing criteria and present to the College for consideration before any other election. Though the committee was given a period of three months to submit its report, it never materialised.

However, the latest attempts to address inherent flaws came by way of the inauguration of a fresh College of Fellows Committee that deliberated on the issue for a couple of days in Abuja. The committee comprises: Tpl Waheed Kadiri (chairman), Tpl (Dr) Helen Anazia, Tpl (Dr) Don Okpala, Tpl (Dr) Stephen Hirse and Tpl Barnabas Atiyaye. NITP president, Tpl (Dr) Femi Olomola, inaugurated the committee.

Essentially, the NITP Constitution states that an aspiring Fellow must be an active Full Member for no less than 10 years, and made significant contributions to the profession in the areas of practice, administration, research or academics.

But, according to the committee, the 10-year mark does not automatically qualify any Full Member to become a Fellow, and needs to demonstrate that he/she has been an active member over the previous 10 years of Full Membership.

They listed parameters to be considered for consideration to becoming a Fellow to include:

  • Activeness of member in the institute (membership of state chapter; evidence of regularity of attendance of meetings and programmes at chapter level/financial responsibility; regularity at national programmes; attendance of MCPDPs; attendance/sponsorship of international programmes sponsored by the institute; financial responsibility; material contributions to the institute; positions held/achievements recorded at state chapter and national executive committees)
  • Practice (registration of private practice with NITP and TOPREC; number of projects handled; types of projects handled; procedure of commission; basis of fees charged; number of professional colleagues involved; duration of project; evidence of acceptance and approval of project by the client; level of implementation of project and duration of project before review)
  • Administration (participation in policy formulation; proposals for preparation of masterplans and planning schemes to government/private individuals, and number of successes recorded); supervision of masterplan preparation and implementation; activities in development control and urban management; number of building plan approvals granted through applicant’s participation in the process; facilitation of enactment of Urban and Regional Planning (URP) Law, Planning Standards and Regulations in state/national levels; creating awareness on town planning)
  • Research (planning researches conducted and their relevance with evidence of reports produced; general response of public to research; areas of research in view; sponsorship of research)
  • Academics (years of experience in teaching; courses taught and level; number of student projects supervised; number of academic papers presented at national conferences or NITP journal; number of papers presented and published in international journals; number of books published)
  • General (disciplinary case with the institute; case of misconduct in the court of law; knowledge of the NITP constitution/URP law/code of ethics and professional practice; information on contemporary issues related to the profession; dressing and general comportment)

While the first parameter (Activeness) carries 25 marks, the remaining five (Practice, Administration, Research, Academics and General) carry 15 marks each – totalling 100 marks. A cut-off pass mark of 60% was recommended.

“It is hoped that if these parameters are followed, there would be some measure of objectiveness and providing a level playing ground for all intending Fellows of the institute,” submitted Tpl Kadiri, a Fellow himself as well as a past president of the NITP.

Following the inability of Tpl Donatus Obialo to attend the retreat, Tpl Kadiri stepped in to chair the LUPAR Committee, which had Tpl Luka Ach, Tpl Lekwa Ezutah, Tpl (Prof.) Ahmed Adamu, Tpl (Dr.) Ma’aruf Sani and Tpl Alex Ogbodo as members.

The committee fine-tuned all existing materials and produced a model LUPAR report, which will be printed and launched at the 2015 Annual Conference/AGM of the institute in Ilorin, Kwara State, in October.

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