“Some leading stakeholders in the built environment have decried the seeming neglect of the housing sector by the Federal Government.”-Independent
Those who spoke with INDEPENDENT hinged their submission on the non-challant disposition of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola on the developmental growth of the housing sector even as they frowned at the Federal Government’s policy on the provision of mass housing for the masses.
They posited, that since Fashola became the minister of Poer, Works and Housing, he has shown less passion for the housing sector, adding that this development has no doubt, affected the growth of the sub sector of the construction industry.
A former President of Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) Chucks Omeife said that since he was appointed minister in charge of three portfolios, Fashola has focused his attention on the power sector and to an extent, the works aspect of his mandate.
His words ‘’Let me be frank with you, I don’t envy Fashola at all because the three ministries that were assigned to him to oversee are very crucial with each of them requiring absolute concentration. It is quite impossible for him to apply his energy on delivering on his mandate without subjecting one or two of the ministries to neglect’’.
Omeife pointed out, that he does not doubt his capacity to perform against the backdrop of what he did when he was Governor of Lagos State but was quick to point out, that it is no gainsaying the fact that he has not been able to do much as far as the issue of housing is concerned.
According to him, it would not be out of place to relive him of one or two of his current portfolios.
Sharing the sentiments of Omeife, a real estate developer Gbadebo Akinsanya said that as a realtor, he feels pained that the present administration has not been able to address the issue of housing the way it ought to.
Akinsanya noted that this might not be unconnected with the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to assign three major portfolios to an individual.
According to him, the yawning gap in the housing sector, calls for serious attention by any government that is desirous of meeting the huge housing deficit in the built environment.
He regretted that more than two years in the tenure of the present government, it was yet to address the issue of housing shortfall with all the seriousness that it deserves.
According to him, it is not too late in the life of the present administration for the President to effect a cabinet reshuffle and get a professional in the construction industry to man the housing ministry.
His words ‘’Fashola is not super human hence the need to relieve him of the housing ministry. I say this because as a realtor I know what it takes to provide housing for the citizenry. He should be allowed to focus on the power sector and see how far he can deliver about 5000 Mega Watts of electricity for the country’’.
In his submission, a former President of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) Olushola Atilola said that in as much as he believes in Fashola’s capability, letting go of one of the ministries would not be a bad idea.
He was quick to add, that housing on his own, is enough challenge for an individual Minister to handle not to talk of adding two other major ministries like Works and Power to it.
He, however, commended the recent appointment of a Minister of State to oversee the works arm in the ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
According to him, much still needed to be done by President Buhari within the time left in the life of his administration by putting round pegs in round holes.
Atilola noted that housing should be given top priority because it is germane to any developmental growth of any nation.
A Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) Mr. Akin Olawore said that the Buhari administration should not toy with the issue of housing, as it is very germane to any polity.
According to him, Fashola has been trying in delivering on the mandate given to him by President Buhari but was quick to point out, that the issue of housing should be given more attention.
Olawore noted that a professional should be appointed to man the housing ministry hinting of the need to separate it from the present arrangement.
The Principal partner of Akin Olawore and company said that he does not believe in apportioning blame but would canvass for the president to take housing out of the current arrangement and allow a core professional to run the ministry.