Towards an Environment of Sustainability - 30th Annual Olumide Memorial Lecture in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria, 20-21 November 2012

FIG President made another working visit to Abuja, Nigeria between 20th and 21st November 2012 as part of the lead-up to the 2013 FIG Working Week. During the visit, apart from continuing the discussion with the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors on their preparation, President CheeHai TEO delivered the 30th Annual Olumide Memorial Lecture on 20th November 2012. This lecture series was in honour of the first President of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors and at this year’s lecture, a member of the Olumide Family was again invited and attended. The day’s memorial event concluded with a gala dinner at the venue of the 2013 FIG Working Week, the gala dinner was also aimed at promoting the 2013 FIG Working Week to the surveyors and their guests.

The lecture, titled “Towards an Environment of Sustainability”, recognized that the Profession is in an era of rapid change and understands this complex and interconnected environment the Profession is in. The Profession has its sciences and technologies, its knowledge and practices. The Profession measures, values, estimates, maps, reports, models, analyzes and manages. The Profession is in touch with political, social, environmental and economic realities and in the midst of all these, as professionals, serving people, places and policies with its data, information, knowledge and actions. It was opined that when this overall environment is operating in synergistic and holistic manner, the Profession would find relevance and significance, and a path towards professional and business sustainability.

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On the evening of the same day, FIG President attended the opening segment of the Dialogue on Legitimizing Systematic Land Titling and Registration in Nigeria organized by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLR). The Honorable Ms. A. I. Pepple, CFR, (Hon. Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Nigeria) was present to officiate the dialogue and stressed the importance of this initiative to Nigeria. Alongside her were two distinguished Senators. Prof. Akin L. Mabogunje, former Chair of PTCLR, chaired the occasion and recall the journey that can be dated back to 1903!.

The current Chair of PTCLR, Prof. Peter O. Adeniyi, invited the FIG President to deliver the keynote address at the opening of the dialogue. PTCLR was initiated by the late President of Nigeria who said ‘’We are deeply convinced that for us to develop as a country, we need to awaken the potential of land as a veritable resource for Food Security, Capital, Poverty Reduction, Capital Accumulation, Economic Growth and National Development.’’ (2 April, 2009)

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In the belief that Land still has the capacity to create opportunities that provides dignity and that good land rights infrastructures exist in only 35-50 countries by one estimate, considering that, by another estimate, only three percent of Nigeria has cadastre coverage, FIG President urged participants to consider home-grown appropriate approaches and solutions that may well involve methodologies that are of lesser sophistication and accuracies, information from participatory and volunteered sources, technologies that are mobile and widely available, that may well be distinct from prevailing approaches and practices that are usually rigorous and could be out-dated. Noting the goals of the intended land reform, the FIG President wished the Dialogue success as participants sought consensus and agreements to chart a more feasible path forward and design solutions towards unlocking the potential that’s in the land, towards Nigeria’s national development, economic growth and continued prosperity.

Earlier at the 30th Annual Olumide Memorial Lecture, referring to this Dialogue and the mandate of PTCLR, FIG President urged Nigerian Surveyors to seize the opportunity and to lead by example; to strive and improve professional skills, practices and knowledge and this can be attained by a pragmatic program of continuing education and professional development; to embrace change that advances in technologies has afforded by developing context driven appropriate and affordable approaches; to engage in robust capacity development through engagement with the academia and understanding user needs; and to improve ethical conduct and professional accountability through improvements within their professional domain.

This, it is opined, is necessary to build confidence and trust, to be part of the solution and not the problem, to foster an environment of professional and business sustainability and to demonstrate to both the Government and the public that Surveyors in Nigeria has a new way of conducting its business, towards the betterment of the Nigerian society, environment and economy.

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CheeHai TEO
November 2012

21 December 2012