The former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Arc. Victor Attah has expressed his resolve to support the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA). He stated this when the group led by its chairman, Arc. Abimbola Oke, paid him a courtesy visit at his home in Uyo, recently.
Arc. Abimbola Oke, while addressing the ex-governor, who happens to be a fellow and a past president of NIA at the national level, disclosed several challenges faced by professional architects in the state stressing that the available jobs have been taken over by quacks.
“Architects are not faring well in the state, not because there is no jobs, but because the jobs have been taken over by quacks. Architectural practice has become an all comers’ affairs.
“Our profession has over the years suffered incursions and encroachments in the hands of quacks and this has continued without check”, the chairman stressed.
Arc. Oke further said that the institute would ensure that architectural drawings meant to be submitted for approval are actually produced by architects not quacks. He also revealed the intention of the chapter to make requests for the employment of architects into the Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) as well as Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company (APICO).
The ex-governor was also informed that land allocated to the NIA during his tenure had been taken over by the state government for the Ibom Tropicana and Entertainment project without reallocation.
“Your Excellency, government, during your tenure as governor allocated a piece of land to the Nigerian Institute of Architects Akwa Ibom State Chapter, but the said land has been taken over by the Ibom Tropicana and Entertainment Project without reallocation. We want to request for the said land to enable us build a befitting secretariat for the chapter.” Oke said.
In his response, Obong Attah expressed his willingness to support the chapter in all its endeavours. He said, “Anything that you feel I can use my goodwill and influence to secure for you, I can assure you of my support”
The former governor also promised to approach the state government for the reallocation of land for the chapter. He then told the architects that it is high time to allow professionalism to flourish in the state if not the issue of building collapse will continue.
Speaking exclusively to The Sensor, Obong Victor Attah stated the need to involve state-based architects in the bid to up infrastructural development projects in the state, “I think we can conceive projects a lot more carefully and execute them more particularly, and we can only do that by involving the local architects.
“I was sorry to hear them lamenting the fact that the state government is not involving local architects in the development of the state. If you don’t involve them, where then would they go to get jobs? Who would then involve them?
“I think we need to do a lot more, and I want to see UCCDA and APICO populated with architects and town planners. Look at this estate (Shelter Afrique), it is something lamentable. We left open spaces for recreation; somebody came and curried all, sold and distributed them to friends and sons. That should not happen if we had professionals administering lands. I think we really need to go back to professionals doing a professional job.” Attah said.