By Emmanuel Addeh
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja ll has advocated for more attention to survey and geo-informatics as part of efforts to stimulate activities in the country and unlock the riches and potential of land resources in Nigeria.
The traditional ruler, who spoke when the Surveyor General of the Federation (SGoF) led by Mr Taiwo Adeniran, paid him a visit in his palace at Ile-Ife, Osun State, stated that with renewed efforts in that direction, the value of land in many areas in the country would increase.
Adeniran, the first representative of Nigeria on the governing council of the African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information, Science and Technology (AFRIGIST), was accompanied on the visit by the chairman of the council, Mallam Mohamodou Keita, AFRIGIST Executive Director, Dr. Akingbade Olusola and other council members.
Ogunwusi stated that AFRIGIST reflects Pan-Africanism and expressed hope that more African countries would join the current eight countries running the affairs of AFRIGIST, formerly known as Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Surveys (RECTAS).
A statement by Mr. Michael Abu, Head, Press and Public Relations, in the office of the Surveyor-General, said the royal father observed that the SGoF had been passionate about the surveying and mapping profession, noting that the country needed people with such passion to deliver dividends.
In his comments, Adeniran said a lot of capital was hidden in land and that only surveying and mapping would help to unlock the riches and potentials of the land.
“Though, geo-spatial data is not an end in itself, it remains an indispensable tool for leaders to make good decisions for planning, execution and achievement of any policies and programmes especially of physical development.
“The best mapped countries in the world are the most developed. It is our duty to ensure the provision of requisite geospatial data to make intervention easy and we must put in our best as surveyors,” he added.
He promised that the council would look into the challenges of development of member countries and Africa at large to advise the authorities on how to promote good governance and development.
In his remarks, Keita noted that the AFRIGIST which is under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) was being managed by Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Nigeria, the host.
Meanwhile, the council has called on African leaders to be fully committed to the utilisation of maps and surveying products.
Executive Director of AFRIGIST, Dr. Akingbade Olusola, who spoke during a visit to Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), expressed appreciation to the school for accommodating the institute.
He also disclosed that the 51st council in its meeting would be taking crucial decisions which would impact positively on issues of land and space management.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede noted that the challenges Nigeria are enormous and require the products of surveying to tackle.