*VP adds, “this Administration has invested significantly in infrastructure for sustainable growth”

In planning for Nigeria’s infrastructure and building sustainable cities for the future, architects and other relevant professionals should among other factors, consider the underprivileged in the society, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

“I urge you to see infrastructure planning as an opportunity to create a physical environment conducive for social mobility,” the VP stated in his remarks at the ongoing National Integrated Masterplan Conference organized by the Nigerian Institute of Architects. The conference is themed ‘Creating Sustainable World-Class Cities in Nigeria.’

Speaking on the need to have an infrastructure plan that takes care of all strata of society, Prof Osinbajo said “it is important that you all as professionals keep the underprivileged members of society in mind as you plan the country’s infrastructure.

“In building our cities, we must deliberately ensure that the benefits of becoming world-class cities accrue not only to wealthy individuals but across all strata of society.

“A city cannot be considered world-class if it lacks a vibrant economy driven by qualitative infrastructure, functional social services and efficient urban governance that optimally deliver public goods,” he added.

Making reference to the present administration’s efforts in social housing and other welfare programmes, the VP noted that the investments “demonstrate our consciousness of the inadequacies that cities across the world face.”

According to him, “the Federal Government has invested significantly in Infrastructure. Over the past seven years, we have ensured that the capital expenditure for infrastructure projects is prioritised in the budget. We have embarked upon new projects as well as overseen the completion of ongoing projects.

“Our investments in rail, highways, fibre optics, digital penetration, energy pipelines, electricity transmission and distribution lines and renewable energy, are not just about meeting today’s demands, they are the infrastructural arteries that will link tomorrow’s cities and give them the capacity for sustainable growth.”

Prof. Osinbajo also spoke about the N15 trillion Infrastructure Corporation (InfraCorp Nigeria), the National Development Plan, as well as the master plan for infrastructure development, urging improved private sector participation in their implementation. 

Speaking further on urban planning and social integration, the VP said “sustainable urban planning must involve planning for the clean energy needs of large numbers of people, from renewable energy for homes and work spaces, to providing infrastructure for clean cooking.”

He added that “the case for sustainable cities is obvious. They can invigorate regional economies and catalyze growth on a regional scale. The positive multiplier effects are inestimable – and the benefits are not just economic.”

Continuing, Prof Osinbajo said “new frontiers of opportunity for social engineering with a view to strengthening social cohesion are opened up. 

“The opportunity to shape the living spaces of millions of people from diverse backgrounds clustering in new cosmopolitan precincts is an exciting one. It is a task that we must embrace with a good measure of strategic intentionality and imagination.”

Underscoring the significance of partnership in developing Nigeria’s infrastructure, the VP noted that “if there is synergy between all the professionals in this sector, we will see even greater returns on our collective investments in the sector.

“It is refreshing to see this collaboration between all the professional associations in the built environment, and the pledge to take ownership of the National Integrated Infrastructure Development Master Plan and the National Development Plan. 

“This is what partnership is about – the Government creates an enabling environment through policy, and the private sector operationalizes the policy goals through its investments,” he added.

The event was attended by officials from both States and Federal Governments and there were presentations by experts and professionals from the private sector.

Goodwill messages by the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu; Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, underscored the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in infrastructure planning.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity

Office of the Vice President

6th October, 2022