Govts Must Involve Town Planners In Projects For Sustainability – Ogun Commissioner

Daud Olatunji

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in Ogun State, Tunji Odunlami, has emphasized the crucial role of town planners in government initiatives to ensure the creation of sustainable human living environments conducive to living, working, and raising families.

 Odunlami made these remarks on Wednesday during the 25th edition of the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Program (MCPDP) of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP) held in Abeokuta.

Odunlami  submitted that for governments’ projects to be sustainable, professional town planners must be involved.

He however stressed the  need for town planners to exhibit diligence, competence, and transparency to establish themselves as true professionals.

He said  “Town planners must prove themselves through their diligence, competence, and faithfulness.”

He  stressed the importance of professionalism in both the private and public sectors.

The Commissioner provided insights into Ogun State’s commitment to urban planning, citing the Ogun State Urban Regional Plan initiated in 2005, which is set to expire next year.

 He revealed that the current administration has developed master plans for several economic development clusters, reinforcing the state’s dedication to best practices in town planning.

 In response to allegations that  governments  do  not fully utilise  the expertise of town planners, Odunlami clarified that the government actively employs a significant number of town planners in both public service and through private sector engagements. 

He said “It would be wrong to generalize that town planners are not being fully utilized,” he remarked, emphasising that since the inception of Governor Dapo Abiodun’s administration, the state has consistently engaged town planning consultants for various developmental projects.

Addressing concerns raised at a recent town hall meeting, Odunlami acknowledged that some might feel private consultants are underused but insisted that this perception might be based on individual experiences and does not reflect the broader reality. 

“The largest number of town planners in Nigeria are employed by various governments,” he noted, highlighting the critical role of town planners in the functional and sustainable development of towns, cities, and rural areas.

Odunlami also commented on the theme of the training program, saying, “The theme for this training programme could not have come at a better time than now as it speaks to the subject matter of the rapid changes happening every day around us and the challenges of developing effective adaptation mechanisms.”

He emphasized the importance of adopting new practices, leveraging new technologies, running efficient offices, developing top competencies, and engaging in collaboration to derive maximum compensation from their enterprise. 

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” he remarked, highlighting the importance of strategic planning in urban development.

The National President of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nathaniel Atebije, also spoke during the event, urging planners to adapt to the significant shifts in the country’s economic and regulatory environment. 

He stressed the need for planners to unlearn and relearn new strategies to survive these changes. Atebije explained that embracing new technological tools, strategies, and insights is essential for effectively navigating and fostering change within the profession.

“Change management is a critical discipline in our rapidly transforming world. It demands understanding, adaptation, and a proactive attitude towards emerging challenges and opportunities,” Atebije stated. 

He emphasized that securing appropriate fees for services rendered is vital for the sustainability and growth of the profession, calling for standards that ensure fairness, transparency, and value in all professional engagements.

In his remarks, Isyaku Kura, President of the Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC), advocated  fair compensation that reflects the expertise, responsibilities, and impact of town planners.

 He maintained that by building capacity for change management and advocating  fair compensation, members can empower themselves to shape a brighter future


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