Perhaps his background has a lot to explain his unprecedented achievements. He is undoubtedly one of the most detribalized Nigerians ever to hold the post of Surveyor General of the Federation. His name is Ebisintei Awudu, and he is one of few Nigerians who can stake a genuine claim to being from the far-north and the far-south. Reason? From his paternal side, he is from Bayelsa, and he is a Borno man from his maternal side.
When he was appointed to this office at the twilight of the Jonathan presidency, ethnic merchants were seriously taken aback. To their luck, the then President got defeated at the election of that year, and the winner was a northerner, in the person of Muhammadu Buhari. To these ethnic jingoistic therefore, it was only a matter of time before the new President give them what they desperately wanted: kicking Awudu out of office.
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But their optimism was the key indicator that they knew nothing about President Buhari, who, throughout his military career, has saved and promoted a countless number of Christian southerners.
So when the matter of Mr. Awudu was brought to the attention of the President, all he asked was whether the man was qualified for the job. He asked for evidence to that effect. As far as President Buhari was concerned, where the new Surveyor-General hails from was not even a matter for consideration. He needed someone who could do the job. And in Mr. Awudu, the President saw a clear round peg in a round hole; a man who is well educated, was surveyor-general of Bayelsa State, a director in the office he is heading, and a member of the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
But these enemies of progress will not allow peace to reign. They keep churning out everything – from the ridiculous to the disgusting – to smear Mr. Awudu all in their desperate quest to shove him aside and get their preferred lackey appointed in his stead. Unfortunately for them, the Surveyor-General is here to work, to make President Buhari and Nigeria proud.
He has no time for such frivolities. Or engage in war with anyone on account of where he comes from. As human, Mr. Awudu definitely has his limitations. But most often his mistakes are of the head, not of the heart. They are therefore forgive-able.
For the Surveyor-General, the achievements of his office automatically translate into the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration because they would have been impossible without budgetary allocations and releases. And without a President who regards the entirety of Nigeria (and not sections of it) as his constituency.
In Nigeria the Office is the nation’s apex authority in surveying and mapping and their related matters. The Surveyor General of the Federation (SGoF) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Office.
The primary responsibility of the Office is the provision of requisite geospatial information needs of the country for sustainable national development, the co-ordination of all Surveying and Mapping and their related activities in the country.
The staff strength of the office as at December, 2018 is 687, with approved establishment staff strength of 1074.
Since the appointment of Mr. Awudu, the Office has been restructured and expanded into thirteen departments comprising ten technical departments, three service departments, nine units, six Zonal Directorates and thirty six state survey offices.
The constitutional roles of OSGoF give rise to the following activities: Establishment of National geodetic Infrastructure including National GIS; and definition of all international and internal boundaries of the country. Other include the provision of all geospatial Information products such as administrative maps, topographical maps, electronic national atlas, gazetteer of geographical place names, road maps and other thematic maps, as well as execution of vital National and Peculiar surveys in collaboration with relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government.
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These peculiar surveys include time-lapse mapping of exploration and exploitation of solid minerals, oil and gas, forestry, other national resources and ecologically impacted areas such as desertification, gully erosion and land degradation.
The office also handles the provision of Magnetic, Gravity, ROW, Geo-hazard and other special surveys for monitoring, guidance and decision making; provision of Cadastral/Legal Surveys of all Federal lands and properties; provision of training, supervision and research in Surveying and Mapping in collaboration with the academic institutions; provision of consultancy services to all Government agencies and Ministries on Surveying and Mapping themes; serving as National Repository of all Geospatial data and information including Metadate, and finally, pooling of Surveyors in the Federal Civil Service.
To achieve the constitutional responsibilities of the office, Surveyor Awudu has evolved some core strategies that has ensured some unprecedented achievements, including, but not limited to the expansion of the Office from six to twelve Technical Departments with the approval of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
At present, the Office has Survey and Mapping Units in eight ministries where it pooled 8 Resident Surveyors. Also, the Schemes of Service for Surveyors, Survey Technologists, Survey Technicians and Craftsman cadres were revised to conform to international best practices of Surveying and Mapping profession. Similarly, craftsman cadres were referred to a standing committee on establishment for further consideration.
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Experience over the years has shown that Surveying and Mapping is the bedrock of any physical development, and hence more investments and additional operational departments are required for the Office to meet her constitutional role for sustainable national development. This is even more apt now following the greater awareness and requests from the various MDAs on the use of geospatial (surveying and mapping) information in their sustainable planning and informed decision making.
The Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation is clearly determined to achieve its mandate in order to contribute its quota towards sustainable national development. The challenges faced by the Office, such as inadequate funding, would, if addressed, greatly enhance the achievements of this objective.
Source: By Mohammed Dahiru