Bothered by the fact that Nigerian cities may have failed to provide for and promote an environment sustainable for living, work and recreation, settlement development practitioners have taken up a campaign to address the unsavoury situation.
Under the aegis of their umbrella association – the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), the city planners are using the occasion of their yearly meeting and conference to beam a light on the issue. The 46th Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NITP has “Making Cities in Nigeria Functional” as its theme, and will hold in Ilorin, Kwara State October 27th to 30th, 2015.
Apart from taking stock of developments in the profession as well as welfare of the practitioners, the conference will attempt an overview of the functionality element of cities with a view to making them facilitate growth and development.
Chairman, Organising Committee and First National Vice-President of the NITP, Luka Achi, said: “The focus of this year’s theme is on making settlements in Nigeria functional. The human settlement is expected to provide and promote an environment suitable for sustainable living, work and recreation. In Nigeria, this dream has continued to be an illusion as settlements of various sizes and characteristics exhibit elements of disjointed and dysfunctional space use and inter-relationship.
“The impact of this can be observed in the absence of physical plans, poor transportation and related services, absence of social amenities and services and a general neglect of the socially disadvantaged group of the society. Where these plans exist, they are either distorted or not complied with.”
According to Mr. Achi, settlements are the centres of human survival and progress. “These investment, social development and cultural imprints evolve over time. The role of Planning is to ensure that these elements of human settlement progression are promoted through plans and development and control so as to ensure conduciveness, progress and fairness to all; and are sustained in the interest of future generations,” he added.
National Publicity Secretary of the NITP, Effiong Akpan, stated: “The goal of this year’s conference is to take an overview of the functionality elements of our cities with a view to exploring the application of physical planning strategies so as to make them functional and thereby facilitate growth and development of the human settlement in all its ramifications. To this extent, a practical experience sharing by the relevant stakeholders will be an added dimension to this programme.”
Nationa Secretary, Alex Ogbodo, stressed: “In fulfilling one of its objectives of traing and dissemination of information on the profession, the Institute organises National Conference and AGM every year during which issues of national importance and relevance are discussed, and recommendations are forwarded to government and other stakeholders for consideration and implementation with a view to facilitating organised growth and development in our nation.”
At its 46th Annual Confab on-going at Ilorin, Kwara State, it is hope that the NITP will do a frank self-appraisal of the role of the Association in helping to ensure the livability and sustainability of Nigerian cities. Much as the shorting-comings of Nigerian cities are being said over and over again by our planners and suggested solutions are being proffered, there is no political will on the part of the government to heed the advice of the planning professionals. We pay lip-service to planning, yet as a nation, we expect to have Eldorado cities without making any minute effort to achieve the dream.
On the part of NITP, it is not enough to make recommendations year-in-year-out without having in place a follow-up strategy/plan whereby the Institute ensures the implementation of its recommendations by government, and if a legislation is required for such purpose, the Institute should play politics by lobbying our legislators to support the cause of planning. To-date, the NITP has very little visibility at the National Assembly in Abuja in comparison to NBA, NIA and NSE. We need to be political and not apolitical if indeed, we want government to listen to us. I want to be educated which of the countries in the developed world where there are no Planning Lobbyists in their Parliaments or Congresses or where their Central Governments are not playing a pivotal role in urban planning. In Nigeria, we are very weak in this aspect, therefore planning will continue to be less appreciated,
Tpl. yacoob abiodun
City of Hayward
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