Buhari’s cabi­net and in­fras­truc­ture chal­lenge

Daily Trust - - PROPERTY -

What can a cabi­net of lawyers do for a coun­try of poor in­fras­truc­ture base?

Con­sid­er­ing the poor state of in­fras­truc­ture in Nige­ria, it was ex­pected that pro­fes­sion­als in the sec­tor will dom­i­nate Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari’s min­is­te­rial list. Alas, it will be a “cabi­net in­vaded by lawyers”.

For this rea­son, the cabi­net may not ex­cite some pro­fes­sion­als in the in­fras­truc­ture sec­tor. Ar­chi­tects, quan­tity sur­vey­ors and valuers de­cried their non in­clu­sion. They ex­press worry that gov­ern­ment might find it hard to ful­fill its prom­ise of de­liv­er­ing one mil­lion hous­ing units per an­num.

On the list is a civil engi­neer Suleiman Hussieni Adamu, a Fel­low of the Nige­rian So­ci­ety of En­gi­neers (NSE). There are two town plan­ners, Ibrahim Us­man Jib­ril and Abubakar Bawa Bwari.

Chair­man, Nige­rian In­sti­tu­tion of Es­tate Sur­vey­ors and Valuers, Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) Branch Mr Em­manuel Alao re­sponded to this say­ing, “It [the list] doesn’t cut across. Our mem­bers are left out. We need ar­chi­tects and es­tate sur­vey­ors.”

A quan­tity sur­veyor ex­pressed, “Since port­fo­lios weren’t at­tached, we’ll wait and see who takes the hous­ing min­istry. Un­for­tu­nately, I couldn’t watch all but I don’t think there was any ar­chi­tect. I be­lieve there was an engi­neer. We ex­pected more tech­nocrats though.”

In the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, two ar­chi­tects, Musa Mo­hammed Sada and Mike Onole­memen were in the cabi­net as Min­is­ter of Mines and Steel De­vel­op­ment and Min­is­ter of Works re­spec­tively.

Be­yond Buhari’s cabi­net, those both­ered with the mat­ter cite the ur­ban re­forms em­barked upon by the Kaduna State Gover­nor Nasir el-Ru­fai as a pointer that pro­fes­sion­als in the con­struc­tion sec­tor can do ex­tra or­di­nary work. The Gover­nor of Taraba State, Dar­ius Ishaku is an ar­chi­tect. Erst­while gover­nor of Kano State Mo­hammed Rabi’u Musa Kwankwas has re­ceived ac­cla­ma­tion for pos­i­tively im­pact­ing on Kano in­fras­truc­ture. He is an engi­neer.

But Fes­tus Adebayo, or­ga­nizer of Abuja Hous­ing Show said it is not all about area of call­ing but per­son­al­ity of the per­son and their abil­ity to use the hu­man re­source for ef­fec­tive man­age­ment.

He pointed at the di­verse de­part­ments and units in the min­istry of hous­ing for in­stance: sur­vey, ar­chi­tec­ture, en­gi­neer­ing as ar­eas with all the needed pro­fes­sion­als “all the min­is­ter needs do is to har­ness their ex­per­tise.” Adebayo opted for a min­is­ter who does not be­long to any of the above ,say­ing this will check bias to a par­tic­u­lar area.

He men­tioned former min­is­ters of Hous­ing, Ama Pep­ple and Oluse­gun Mimiko as hav­ing done well though they were not pro­fes­sion­als in the hous­ing sec­tor.

Pres­i­dent Nige­rian In­sti­tute of Builders (NIOB) Ti­jani B. Shu’aib said, “For now, I can only say there is no builder yet in the cabi­net but we’re still hope­ful. I be­lieve even if there is no builder, all the min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees cho­sen by the pres­i­dent are ca­pa­ble. So who­ever that will come to the built en­vi­ron­ment, we will part­ner with him to en­sure qual­ity de­liv­ery. I be­lieve in the pres­i­dent’s choice and we are here to give ap­pro­pri­ate pro­fes­sional ad­vice.”

Spe­cial Ad­viser to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Femi Adesina has since de­scribed the pres­ence of many lawyers on the min­is­te­rial list as a co­in­ci­dence. Poor in­fras­truc­ture base Speak­ing at the Pres­i­den­tial Ex­pert Group Meet­ing (EGM) on “In­fras­truc­ture Rank­ing and Scorecard Roadmap” on Oc­to­ber 20, 2014 at the Transcorp Hil­ton Ho­tel, Abuja, the Pres­i­dent of the Nige­rian So­ci­ety of En­gi­neers (NSE) Mr Ade­mola Olorun­femi lamented the poor in­fras­truc­ture base in the coun­try say­ing gov­ern­ment must in­vest heav­ily in both hu­man and ma­te­rial resources for in­fras­truc­ture to im­prove.

Olu­run­femi who noted that “in­fras­truc­ture is the cap­i­tal stock that pro­pels the pro­vi­sion of pub­lic goods and ser­vices in an econ­omy” said Nige­ria is cur­rently at a piv­otal mo­ment in terms of main­tain­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing its in­fras­truc­ture stock.

He said, “Many of our roads, bridges, wa­ter sys­tems, and our na­tional elec­tric­ity grid which were put into place sev­eral decades ago are sim­ply over­whelmed or worn out.

The NSE pres­i­dent said, “The Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness Re­port for 2014-2015 by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum ranked Nige­ria 133 out of a to­tal of 144 coun­tries with a score of 2.7 from a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 im­plies ex­tremely un­der­de­vel­oped and 7 im­plies ex­ten­sive and ef­fi­cient by in­ter­na­tional stan­dards) in an as­sess­ment of the qual­ity of Over­all In­fras­truc­ture we had a rank­ing of 125 with a score

Rail­way, a ma­jor means of trans­port is hardly avail­able to Nige­ri­ans

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