Building Collapse: Uniform Building Code For Nigeria An Anathema, Needs To Be Modified – Sowore

In Breaking News, Politics
Omoyele Sowore, AAC presidential Candidate in the 2023 general elections addressing the 62nd AGM of the Nigerian Institute of Architects at the Calabar International Convention Center

By Jonathan Ugbal

The Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, in the 2023 general elections, Omoyele Sowore on Friday, in Calabar the Cross River State capital, described as an anathema, the decision to have a uniform national building code for the entire country.

Sowore who stated this while addressing attendees at the 62nd Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, NIA, hinged his position on the fact that there is a difference in the way buildings are constructed across the country.

“I lived in the US for twenty years. You can’t dig a hole in front of your house without a permit from the local government. What is the federal government doing with the building code? Because the way you build your houses in the Niger Delta is different from the way you build in Kano. So let the local government handle the building code,” Sowore said.

Nigeria has been plagued with an increasing rate of building collapse in the country. And, the candidate who talked about issues affecting Architects especially as it relates to the implementation of designs, blamed corruption and the fact that incompetent builders are often brought in to implement the designs of Architects as the leading cause of building collapse in Nigeria.

“As you discuss here, about your work, it is nagging and mostly lamentations that the country of your dream that you have always wanted to build, you haven’t been able to build it. And those of you who tried to build something in Nigeria, when you look back at those structures that you designed because of bad leaders, bad maintenance culture, and corruption, you might even be forced to deny that you are the one who participated in building those structures.

“How do you design a building which is the work of an Architect and when it is time for it to be given out for construction, the worst builder is contracted to do it? Just like our refineries – we had four refineries and when they wanted to start destroying it, they were using vulcanizers to repair refineries, and then you are wondering why you don’t have refineries? it is the same thing that happened to those of you who are in this profession that you have designed and done your best for Nigeria to become El Dorado, but the Nigeria of today that you have is not the one you designed,” Sowore said.

However, he urged them to be inspired by the fact that, “some of the greatest buildings in the world, Nigerians have participated in designing them,” even though bad leadership has meant they can’t do that in Nigeria, a problem he said will need a different approach in solving from what is currently being done.

“If we are going to build or rebuild Nigeria, first and foremost you need Architects before we start dealing with builders, real estate people, and then politicians. The problem is we are building Nigeria not with Architects but with politicians, and that is why you see the country the way it is today.

On the exit of professionals, he averred that: “Every other country that is developing rapidly in the world, really wants Nigerians to come to their country. But every other leader that has been running Nigeria including the ones now, doesn’t want Nigerians to be in Nigeria anymore. The reason I say so is that you cant have professionals that don’t give advice or when they give advice, you don’t accept them and you want your country to be okay.”

Furthermore, he queried the rationale behind appointments. “The minister for State health is a lawyer. Is it possible that there is no doctor enough in Nigeria to be a minister of state for health? Or a Pharmacist?,” Sowore queried, adding; “I will be surprised to find out that our minister of housing if there is still a ministry of housing is an Architect… he is a lawyer! That shows to you that the President of Nigeria is also not a professional who should be handling any Country in the world and we are getting to that point where we must decide that people who are not fit, particularly in this coming elections, people who are not fit to run a WhatsApp group is not accidentally made the president of Nigeria in 2023.”

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