Appalled by the planning conundrum, which has bedeviled many cities, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has been asked to lead the struggle of redeeming the nation’s town planning regulations.
The call was predicated on the constant conflict between planners and policy makers, which had put the struggle of rescuing town planning at risk.
Planners were thus called upon to get more involved in the process of policy making to tackle issues like uncertain data, public and community resistance to enforcement and limited police support, federal agency-state conflict, elite impunity, migration and growth of informal settlements, limited access to land, land titling, costs and delays to applicants
They are asked to engage the relevant public institutions or by calling for public hearing at the House of Assembly in relation to any pressing urban planning issues on which they have a position.
The call was the fall-out of the 2018 annual general meeting of the Lagos branch of NITP, themed: “Nexus of Emerging Democracy & Dynamic Status of Urban Planning $ Development in Nigeria: The Lagos Megacity Experience”.
The guest lecturer was Mr. Fola Arthur -Worrey, a former commissioner of Lands in Nigeria and solicitor –general of the state.
Arthur -Worrey, stressed that Nigeria has lost much of its institutional memory and its major procedure guide because of constant restructuring of governing units and institutions as well as abrupt changes in leadership.
The major challenge, he said, has been how to adopt a fresh consensus about in what manner and under what circumstances often-disruptive state powers such as urban planning should be exercised.
According to him, Nigeria’s organizing principle seems to be one of crisis management, that is managing the fallout of things not properly done or fall out of the default position of the general Nigerian citizenry with significant financial, developmental and social costs attached to this attitude
He noted that Megacities like Lagos is further challenged by formulaic approaches to town planning, policy inconsistency or outright abandonment, and limited role of the private professional town planner in the process.
To manage the disruptive dynamics and demands for urban planning and physical development in Nigeria, especially with the amount of work to be done with the limited resources, the citizens, he said would have to be convinced of the general benefits of the process, thereby rejecting self –help, while government and its institutions would have to be creative consistent and vastly enhance its ability to prove the benefits and be much more vigilant, firm and efficient in its regulatory and enforcement processes.
He therefore urged planners as one of the potent weapons of ensuring the quality of life to have a rethink by redesigning the setting and not always about demolishing buildings.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, urged planners to be in the core of government activities as the state is gradually grinding to a halt.
Represented by the Dean, Faculty of Transport and Environment, Prof Samuel Odewunmi, he stressed the need for the enforcement of planning laws, saying it is the only way out of the current planning puzzle.
National president of NITP, Luka Achi, in his address read by the Second National Vice -president, Toyin Ayinde noted the important of leadership in attaining sustainable environment.
He urged planners to utilize the leadership recruitment process to get responsive and responsible leaders, as ignorant leadership will ultimately spell doom for the organization.
Also a member of the Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC), Moses Ogunleye tasked the practitioners on integrity and pledged to support quality service.