NIGERIA AT 61: THE JOURNEY TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY
Although, Nigeria moved up 15 spots on the Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index from position 83, the challenges in housing and sustainable development in Nigeria are enormous. The extremely limited access to mortgage continues to prey on Nigerian lives, while housing struggles to match up with population growth. The limited quantity of long-term housing development loans has impeded on the nation realising the full materialisation of the real estate sector.
This has yet to break the spirit of a people who have endured more than just limited sustainable housing. Nigerians are as sustainable as they are resilient. Just as sustainable development has been defined in the Brundtland report as development which meets our current needs without hindering the ability of future generations to meet theirs, resilience is basically all decisions made to tackle the challenges that hinder such developments. However, it is no longer news that sustainable housing has been one of the crucial needs that Nigerians have found difficult to access.
It takes a peculiar kind of people to experience irregularities and still emerge optimistic and resourceful especially when these irregularities touch on one of their most basic needs.
Although, our architecture today has aligned itself with global standards, it can only remain so unfortunately, as long as sustainable policies are formed. Therefore, celebrating 61 years of independence should not be draped in Nigerians weakly clawing for makeshift options of shelter but for the cream they deserve: sustainable housing –– which is still very within our reach and quite possible to realise.
Happy 61st Independence, Nigeria!
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
BILAAD REALTY LTD.
EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE
More than just 61 years but for hundreds of years, Nigerians have creatively made decisions in the most challenging of times to deal with the elusive essential of sustainable real estate. This was notably present in the Hausa Pre-Colonial architecture of mud, stones and grasses which helped shield the Northern people from the scorching winds from the Sahara. Also evident in Igbo architecture in the same period were cave-inspired tight encasements of pitched roofing with priority given to warmth and wind aversion. The Yorubas prioritized termite-resistance which they found in bamboo rafters in the same era.
Although the modern history of housing provisions in Nigeria has been a dramatic one, Nigerians endured the journey and are now presently looking forward to the possibilities of housing solutions with closer proximity to their need for sustainability.
Formulation of good policies and seeing to their implementation; development of new building materials as well as improvement in the efficiency of local building materials have been proposed by Obianyo et al. (2001), as solutions to actualizing mainstay sustainable housing. These could be the modern version of Nigerians yet again manifesting resilience or at least a variety of it in protecting sustainable living. The solutions prescribed are centered on the practice of research which is only necessary for viable outcomes.
Research and Housing Policies
Agbola and Alabi (2000) defined policy as a plan of action, a statement of aim and ideas. Housing policy is thus a guideline provided by government which is aimed at meeting the housing need and demand of the people through research and a set of appropriate strategies including fiscal, institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks (Agbola, 1998).
Therefore, results of research in the real estate sector can be used in policy making to aid the advancement of the Nigerian housing and urban development sector, and creating a repository for storing research findings will make it easy for policy makers to access information to be used for formulating well informed policies for sustainable housing and urban development.
Development of Functional Designs
The efforts of the government in its approach to achieving the goal of the National Housing Policy and its institutional framework has continuously proven futile. Therefore, it has become very necessary to carry out incisive research to develop new functional designs for housing and urban infrastructure for providing adequate housing and urban infrastructure in Nigeria.
Reinforcing the Efficiency of Local Materials
Research is also beneficial to optimizing already existing local materials. Applying research findings aimed at improving the strength, durability and efficiency of local materials will enable them to compete favorably with foreign ones.
Although these solutions are yet to be effective, the real estate sector in Nigeria is ever expanding as was evident in demand rising by double digit figures in 2019. According to Nigeria Property Centre, enquiries of listings increased by 72% that year.
Bilaad Realty, like the nation continue to brave the storm in the mission to building sustainable cities. 61 years, and more before then, have been ample time for all our memorable challenges to heat this land into solid rock and like in the words of Gordon Hinckley, “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation”.