Worried about the high spate of issues bedevilling the built environment in Nigeria and the need for standardisation of industry practice, the International Facility Managers Association (IFMA), Nigeria Chapter, has called for collaboration amongst stakeholders in the Construction Industry to create a better living environment for Nigerians.
The President of IFMA Nigeria, ESV Olalekan Akinwumi, made the call at the fourth Facility Management Advocacy Day which was held in Lagos themed: “Sustaining the Multi-Disciplinary Role of Facility Management: Harnessing the Prospect of Synergy in the Built Environment.”
Akinwumi explained that IFMA organises the Advocacy Day discourse every year to bring together professionals in the built environment to bridge the existing knowledge gap in the sector for a more sustainable industry compliant with best practices worldwide.
He stated that IFMA, being an umbrella body for industry practitioners, is also fostering professional synergy, which will, in the long run, result in sustainable environments, better life expectancy, and progress for all and sundry.
Akinwumi said, “There are many gaps within the professionals in the Built environment, and Facility Management is like the umbrella of all the professionals in this space. This edition is a clarion call for every professional to work together seamlessly in the built environment. Its ripple effect would save our souls, resources and ensure that we live in a safe environment.”
In his keynote address, the Special Guest of Honour and former Minister for Works, HE Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, spoke on the political will to enforce deliberations on the Government’s part and the stakeholders’ willingness to follow through with the recommendations reached.
Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, represented by Engr Femi Akinyelure, urged stakeholders present to go the extra mile in educating the private sector to get on board the project, which, if sustained, would save the Nigerian economy astronomically.
“The political will is crucial, and in this case, the Government is leading the pack and has also created an enabling environment for this sector to thrive. It is therefore pertinent to continue to encourage the private sector with the understanding that most of the assets in the built environment are owned by the private sector to key into this rapidly expanding sector of the economy.”
Giving his Goodwill message, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government on Works, Dr Adekunle Olayinka, opined that the state government will provide the necessary infrastructural assistance to the Association to thrive.
Olayinka, represented by Builder Mrs. Adenike Said, urged all states of the federation to key into the dream of IFMA to put a permanent end to the challenge of building collapse and its attendant loss of lives and properties.
“IFMA has shown the spirit of excellence in finding solutions to sustainability and maintenance issues necessitated by the population of the state and its attendant questions of transportation, infrastructure, and technology to meet growing needs across the country, especially in Lagos State. I charge the Association to leverage the opportunities of the strategic position of Lagos as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Speaking at the plenary, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh canvassed the need for professionals to perform optimally to protect the life and durability needs of the end user, stressing that with resources being relatively scarce, it behooves stakeholders to ensure that end users get value for their money.
On his part, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), QS Shonubi Olayemi, charged professionals to uphold the ethics of their trade in line with the most superior standard of their chosen fields for a more robust and quality-compliant output. He said: “If we are concerned about this for pecuniary gain, then we are not giving ultimate value to the end user.”
Also speaking at the event, Engr Olayinka Ebiti, the representative of the National President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil said, “Our collective strength lies in unity, and by fostering collaboration, we pave the way for innovative solutions, sustainable development, and a resilient built environment.”
ESV Gbenga Ismail, Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) Lagos State representative of the National President, ESV Johnbull Amayaevbo, also noted that, “The need for synergy within the built environment is particularly important in Nigeria, where we are facing a number of challenges, including rapid urbanization, climate change, and infrastructure deficit. To address these challenges, we need to adopt a holistic approach to urban planning and development. This means that we need to break down the silos between different disciplines and work together to create solutions that meet the needs of all stakeholders.”
The goal of the annual Advocacy Day is to entrench standardisation in the built industry, bridge the existing knowledge gaps, encourage training and capacity building, provide advisory on best facility management practices, and lead in the campaign on the need to embrace facility management in the country.