Absence of dedicated city level administration in Nigeria and weak urban planning are threatening democratic governance and sustained economic growth.
The position was made by Professor Adamu Ahmed, guest speaker at the 2022 Town Planners Day celebration of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, FCT Chapter under the theme Strengthening Sustainable Urban Governance in the FCT.
According to him, “negative externalities of liberal democracy are most pronounced in Nigeria’s poorly governed cities, where the combination of economic inequalities, demographic change and dehumanising urban conditions, are creating growing resentment and a decline in optimism about politics and western styled democracy”.
Acknowledging the recent creation of metropolitan management authorities in Kaduna State as very welcoming, Professor Ahmed acknowledged the efforts of Governor Nasir el-Rufai for his leading role in raising the bar with innovative policies for urban management, stressing that it is the path to ensure Nigeria takes full benefit of the opportunities in urbanisation.
He further noted that the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council being the first city level management agency established in the Country in 2004, needs to take the next step in consolidating gains, by strengthening inter agency coordination and civil society partnerships, in ensuring that the development trajectory of the Federal Capital City is more efficiently managed.
He called for urgency in mainstreaming cities into national planning, something he says must be the priority of parties and candidates in the 2023 elections.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of the Chapter, TPL Mustapha Mubidiyu noted that transforming cities into sustainable living spaces depends on effective urban planning and governance, urging stakeholders in the built environment to braze up to new challenges of managing Abuja’s rapid growth amidst scarce resources.
In his message to the event, the National President of the NITP, TPL Olutoyin Ayinde noted that refusal to recognise physical planning as the bedrock of sustainable development needs to be reversed by all tiers of government, to ensure that the opportunities in urbanization are effectively harnessed.