Festus Adebayo
Ahead of the 2023 elections, one of Africa’s largest housing and construction expo, Africa International Housing Show (AIHS) has reiterated its readiness to engage political aspirants and policymakers on the housing agenda.
This follows its resolution to hold a political forum focusing on housing sustainability at the 16th edition of the AIHS event next month.
The convener of the event, Mr. Festus Adebayo, said some notable personalities and experts within and outside Nigeria have been invited to engage political aspirants and policymakers to chart a new path to tackling the nation’s housing gap.
According to him, “agenda setting has formed a cardinal component of public opinion and accurate evaluation of such is important to public policy consideration.
“This is why Nigerians must set the agenda for the politicians seeking elective positions in 2023 and should jettison the traditional campaign of ambitious promises that hardly materialized.
“It’s high time we raised the bar for who should be at our helm of affairs above sentiments and instead, focus on the competence and credibility of the candidates in respect to delivery of affordable and sustainable housing in Nigeria, regardless of their political affiliation, and putting into consideration the multifaceted tribal groups, diverse backgrounds, and numerous religious settings in the country.
“As the next election approaches, it is imperative that we adopt a structural system that would make political leaders accountable to the people for their actions while in office.
“We are concerned with reawakening Nigerians to the importance of electing competent and credible, ‘housing-minded’ leaders who will ensure justice and fairness for all, as well as peace and unity in the nation.
He explained that world renowned housing expert and AIHS board member as well as Director of Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA, Dr. (Mrs) Marja Hoek-Smit, will anchor the session on 2023: Setting agenda for housing at AIHS in July, comes with versed knowledge and experience in housing across the national divide.
“Hoek-Smit’s session will no doubt help to achieve a lot in Nigeria’s housing sector. It will precisely give us a working document serving as a transformative and game-changing action that can be taken both at the states and federal levels to solve the nation’s housing challenge”, he said.
According to him, the selection of Hoek-Smit is premised on her long-term experience in the housing sector, describing her as one of the best brains in the world.
“She has been conducting the Wharton housing programme for more than 15 years. She’s also in the know of what’s happening in the Nigerian housing sector. She’s a respectable personality in the industry who can conveniently tell us who and where we are as it pertains to housing. Her recommendations are top-notch and no nation remains the same if it effectively implements her housing recommendations.
“So, selecting Dr. Hoek-Smit is like our own gift to support Nigeria so that we can actually make a difference as far as housing is concerned in the global sphere. This has worked for some nations of the world, Nigeria’s should not be an exemption.
He said the forum will avail participants and Nigerians at large the opportunity to assess who leads them while also holding their leaders accountable when necessary, based on the promises made in relations to their manifestos.
“This will give us a good way to go into 2023 with clarity of purpose and choices. Housing affects everybody both at the national and state levels. When we fix housing, It’s just like solving all the problems of the country. With housing being fixed, you are fixing the economy, banditry, and other social ills. Most of the problems we are having as a country are grounded in the lack of basic social needs of which housing plays a vital role,”Adebayo added.
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