Okebukola Advocates System Approach to Achieving Sustainability in Built Environment


Funmi Ogundare

A former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola, has called for a system approach to solving human resource problems particularly in the education sector so as to ensure sustainability in the built environment.

Okebukola, who made the call recently at the 90th birthday symposium of Chief Ezekiel Iyi Omisiore with the theme, ‘Sustainability in the Built Environment: The Nigerian Perspective’, held recently at the Yoruba Tennis Club, Lagos, said students must be exposed to practical experience in the field which would lead to positive output.

“We have a lot of ground to cover in solving the problems in the built environment; we need to consider the inputs, process and outcomes of students and teachers alike in the engineering and architecture programmes. For the students, we need to look at their reading culture and equipping them for better values, teachers’ welfare and training, as well as curriculum must also be looked into.”

In his paper, ‘Education as Cornerstone of Sustainability in a Built Environment and Nation Building’, he recalled a survey that was conducted in 2014 on students passing out of secondary school, saying that practical skills, knowledge and discipline were shallow.

“At that period, the academic calendar was unstable and teachers were poorly prepared for the students they want to teach.”

Okebukola eulogised the celebrant, saying that he is one of the earliest product of the system who contributed to nation building and the country’s built environment through the knowledge, skills and values obtained through education.

“What was education like in his days and what is it like today as we celebrate his birthday? This gap analysis will be the basis for prescribing solution to challenges facing the education sector as a pathway to ensuring better delivery of education and a restoration of the glory days of the sector.”

He said such restoration would significantly impact the future of Nigeria as a nation and the quality of the built environment.

“No nation striving for accelerated development does so without huge investment in education. There is a compelling body of research concluding that education is the main plank for socio-economic and political development which impact directly and indirectly on the built environment.”

He suggested that the celebrant could institute an award for the best student in engineering in selected universities to keep his name in perpetuity, as well as donate a building to mark his 100th birthday.

The former Vice-Chancellor, Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Ebonyi State, Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, described the built environment as that which replicates the human environment in a nearly static and non-stochastic fashion, adding that it is designed for efficiency.

In his paper, ‘Rome was not Built in a Day: An Engineer’s Perspective to Nation Building’, he said “engineering makes living worthwhile; engineering searches for ways and means of ensuring that life is more abundant. As monuments need maintenance to keep them in functional and efficient state so also are nations.”