The Built environment experts have called for an upgrade of town planning laws in line with global best practices. Town planners and other professionals in the building and construction industry made the call at the maiden edition of the Femi Olomola Annual Lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Lagos State Chapter.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State, Rotimi Ogunleye, stated that there was a global discussion on the need for a paradigm shift to reinvent traditional urban planning from mere control and regulation of development of towns and cities.
According to him, urban planning must incorporate the diverse views in planning decisions, consider the dynamic character of the urban areas and thereby create a new form of urbanism for all and sundry.
He said, “Stakeholders must be engaged in the development of plans and secure financial outlays for the implementation of selected priority projects.
“Let me reiterate that inclusive urban development model, particularly in Nigeria, can only be systematic, as it is rooted in a couple of principles that cannot be achieved overnight. Each of these principles has its own positives and negatives, and often depends on the subsisting regulatory and institutional framework.”
Ogunleye, who was represented by Mrs Philomena Adenuga, said the theme of the lecture, ‘Inclusive urban development in Nigeria: Issues, challenges and opportunities’, was strategic and apt, as it was bound to provoke a deeper understanding of the model and its positive implications in tackling city challenges and improving citizens’ quality of life.
A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oye Ibidapo-Obe, who delivered the lecture, stated that as population shifts from the rural to the urban areas, with the growth rate of urban dwellers increasing by 4.3 per cent per annum, there was a need for increased focus on infrastructure.
According to him, other areas that must be addressed for the country to achieve inclusive urban development are transportation, sanitation and waste management, slum upgrade and proper management of unplanned cities.
The President, NITP, Mr Luka Achi, said Olomola believed strongly that being admitted into the professional association of town planners was a step towards a good living.
He stated that the late president of the institute achieved outstanding results in his life time, among which was crafting the Land Use Planning Analysis Report with the aim of putting food on the tables of planners.
Born in 1951, Olomola, a renowned town planner, passed on while in office as president of the NITP in 2016.
The Chairman, NITP, Lagos State Chapter, Mr Kunle Salami, described Olomola as an icon, a visionary leader and dogged fighter for professional excellence.