•Stresses the importance of infrastructure building as an important driver of economic and national development
•"So we are now looking to you the Builders to help us to build to last", says Minister
Jul 18, 2017 - The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Tuesday inaugurated the Board of the sixth Council of the Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) in Abuja with a charge on professional builders in the country to endeavour to build infrastructure that would last.
In his brief remarks during the ceremony, Fashola noted that given the importance of infrastructure building as one of the time-tested and proven ways of driving economic and national development, the need to have qualified professionals to build the nation's infrastructure could not be over-emphasized.
The Minister, while stressing the importance of the Council, told the members, "We are inaugurating this Council at a time of some momentous responsibility that our nation has to deal with. We have an economy that we need to recover; we have an infrastructure that we need to build. We all know that infrastructure building is one of the time-tested and proven ways of driving economic development in addition to national development".
Noting that the size and capacity of any nation or community was "oftentimes related and relatable to the quality of its infrastructure and quality of the lifestyle of its people", the Minister urged them to imbibe "the fullest possible meaning" of the title they bear adding that the title conferred on them an enormous responsibility.
"If you certify people or if you approve or accredit people to take that responsibility and whatever they then build collapses, ask yourselves, are you builders; because, for me, builders really build to last. And, therefore, you have, perhaps, a responsibility that is higher because of the times than it ought ordinarily to be", he told the members.
Fashola, who noted that the nation was passing through unusual times, pointed out that the period called for "unusual men and women of character" to actually earn the sobriquet and title, "Builder", adding, "At different times of the nation's needs, it always has the manpower and the professional cadre that it calls upon".
"So in times of war we have called upon our soldiers and they have responded admirably in the last two years; in times of health epidemic, we have called upon our doctors and if the Ebola incident is anything to go by, they have all responded admirably", he said.
Other professionals that have responded admirably during this period, Fashola said, include the Teachers with a record of about 59 per cent credit in English and Mathematics in the current West African Examination Council results and the nation's economic managers who, according to him, are slowly but gradually driving inflation rate backwards and in the right direction. "So we are now looking to you the Builders to help us to build to last", the Minister declared.
Still stressing the importance of the Board, Fashola, who disclosed that the Revised National Building Code would soon be presented to the public, said the document would address "some of the challenges that we have to deal with" adding that government would need the Board members to enforce the Code.
"It is a document we will ask you to help us enforce; to help us ensure that the builders you certify are not only familiar with it but they imbibe it as a way of life. And if there is anything to be gained from that, it is also to focus on the quality of materials, the standard of the materials that we use as we go forward in our nation-building effort", the Minister said.
He said the enforcement was crucial given the lessons that could now be learnt from Europe; "incidents that have affected human lives and that have been very costly in terms of loss of life and property arising from materials that were used to build", adding that he would speak more to what Nigeria had done as a country when that document was finally unveiled.
Giving a brief history of the Council, Fashola, who noted that the 15-member Board was created by law, added that that it provides for two persons to be represented and nominated from the Ministry, four persons to represent states in rotation, five persons to be elected by the Institute of Building, three persons to represent the Academia, the universities and institutions of higher learning including Colleges of Technology and Polytechnics that offer courses relating to the approved qualification.
"The fifth Council ended its tenure of service on the 27th of February and this Council has been determined by notices and letters issued to various organizations to nominate persons, conduct elections and take all the steps necessary as provided in the Enabling Law to nominate members", he said adding that the current Board had evolved "by a process that complies with the spirit and letters of the Law".
The Minister said Government had tried to ensure some semblance of equity in some of the nominations adding that by the time the number was put together, it would be seen that "within the framework of the law, we have done the best that we can to ensure that there is some balance".
Again charging the members to earn the title, Builders, in the real sense of the practical impact that it now made on the society, Fashola declared, "You have earned it by scholarship. We ask you now to earn it by utilization and ensuring that you regulate existing professionals, certify incoming professionals who would help Nigeria to build to last".
In his acceptance remarks, Chairman of the Council, Professor Kabiru Bala, expressed delight and appreciation to the Government for making substantial Budgetary provision for the Council in this year's budget pledging that the Board would do its utmost to meet the challenges posed by their responsibility and not betray the trust reposed on them by the Government.
Responding to the issue of building collapse raised earlier by the Minister, the Chairman said so far there had been no registered CORBON member that had directly involved in building collapse adding that the ones that were collapsing were as a result of inadequate monitoring by registered professionals.
Also present at the occasion were the Minister of State, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, Permanent Secretary Works and Housing, Mr. Muhammed Bukar, Director/HOD, Public Buildings and Housing Department, Mrs Salma Yusuf Mohammed, other Directors and Special Advisers in the Ministry as well as the Vice Chairman and other members of the Board from both public and private sectors as well as the Academia.