Stakeholders in town planning have identified physical planning as an instrument for promoting investor-friendly cities and towns.
The stakeholders also opined that physical planning has the potentials to sustain the economy of a State like Abia, if the Government can channel resources towards achieving a decent, aesthetic and viable city that can attract people from other States.
At the 2022 Stakeholders’ Luncheon on Thursday, with the theme “Abia of Our Dream; Physical Planning Perspective”, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Abia State Chapter, held at GIA event Centre Aba, the Stakeholders stated that corruption has acted as an impediment in achieving a decent city in the state, adding that people disobey the order of Town Planners and build indiscriminately, which distorts the aesthetics of the city.
In a joint publication by the Abia Past President of Nigerian Institute of Town Planner, Town Planner Lekwa Ezutah and Town Planner, Dr. Chijioke Odimuko, presented by Tpl Ezutah, he said a well planned human settlement among other things is characterized by a well laid-out towns and cities with basic infrastructure, stressing that such cities and towns must be safe, healthy, affordable among others.
Tpl Ezutah hinted that a clear understanding of the function and role of physical planning in development is a catalyst for economic development, informing that this clear understanding will equally provide a framework that will assist Abia State Government to transform vision into reality utilising space as a key resource to achieve development.
He also stressed the need for Abia State Government to establish and maintain a robust physical planning system like the basic laws and regulations, institutions such as State planning and local planning authorities, pointing out that these institutions if well utilized, will ensure the Abia everyone dreams of.
Tpl Ezutah, who pointed out that physical planning which will guarantee economic development requires adequate and timely funding, stated that physical planning development for a city like Aba, is an investment which can be better described as a medium-to-long-term plan.
He called on the government to develop the political will, exercise necessary discipline and resist impunity in plan implementation while calling on influential people not to use their positions and connections to sidetrack planning rules and regulations.
Earlier in his opening remark, the former Commissioner for information and now Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said absence of planning is responsible for most of the problems ravaging the world.
He stated that part of the problem Ariaria International market is facing today, is that it is located in a low land, adding that the building and approval of high buildings have contributed in worsening the problem of Ariaria.
Chief Okiyi informed that part of the problem of Ariaria has been solved since the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu embarked on re-modelling of Aba while charging stakeholders to take their work seriously, insisting that nobody can do well without planning.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Tpl Ikechi Aaron, said as Town Planners, they owe the current and future generations enormous task of ensuring habitable cities and towns, urging members of the profession to shun unhealthy rivalry but focus on delivering the duties they owe the society.
Addressing newsmen, the Chairman Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Abia State Chapter, Tpl Stephen Chukwudi Nwazue, appreciated the Abia State Government for getting it right, stating that the State Government earlier pledged to achieve the Master plan for the state.
He said the government is already doing a lot in that regard, informing that officials from UN Habitat in charge of better habitable environment are already working hard to ensure that the Abia Master plan is developed appropriately while pleading that the next Abia State Governor, will sustain the efforts of the present administration in this regard.
Also speaking with newsmen, the Chairman, 2022 Stakeholders Luncheon Committee, Tpl Ekechi Zokuba, said information is key in achieving the Abia everyone dreams of, calling on the press to educate the masses on the need to partner in their efforts to achieve a decent and habitable environment.
Contributing, the 2023 Governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Abia State and former Vice Chancellor, Abia State University, Uturu, Prof. Uche Ikonne, said Abia needs enough cities going forward, assuring that if he emerges Governor, he will partner with Town Planners to ensure that there will be decent towns and cities that will accommodate all Abians.
Correspondent reports that stakeholders in Urban and Regional Planning as well as professionals from other fields of various professions were present at the 2022 luncheon.
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