Surveyor Akinloye Oyegbola Is the former President of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) and presently, the President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN). In this Interview with the Publisher, Nigerian NewsDirect, Dr. Samuel Ibiyemi, he spoke on the vision and objectives of APBN and also commented on the State of governance in Nigeria. According to him, insecurity and corruption are two major issues demanding premium attention. He however averred that while the former would derail the Country, if not attended to, thus making it difficult for the economy and virtually everything to function, Nigerians for the latter, are not really ready to fight corruption. Excerpts:
What is APBN all about?
For APBN, we have government recognition as members of the organised public sector and since the recognition, the body has been making advocacy and sensitisation on likeminded issues among professional bodies. As for now, it has thirty (30) foremost professional bodies. APBN has a council and also a board. The council is the executive members and the board comprises of all council members, the incumbent Presidents of the 30 professional bodies, as well as the Chairmen and Secretaries of State chapters. We usually come together every three months to hold meetings and after our meetings we have our press conference.
Why was APBN actually formed?
Well, that takes us to the aim. Now, the aim is to seek for the advancement of professionalism and professional bodies in Nigeria which seeks to confer valuable professional advantages and uphold professional responsibilities with member bodies; and to encourage them to support work importance. The objective is to foster peace and togetherness among member bodies and to enhance their service to communities; to encourage research and advancement of professionalism to disseminate results to industries and academic institutions. We have to influence opinion leaders to establish and get interested in matters that would enhance professionalism in the Country. One major area is to resolve conflict when they arise between/among member bodies and to enhance our status in the Country. You know immediately you call yourself a professional, that means you are earning your living under a particular ambit. Average local professionals do need to have the challenge which should come through adequate patronage that will actually engender that much needed development. It is when you challenge someone that he does things he has not done before. So, we believe that one day we will be able to raise the bar on what we have started because right now, we have not started and this is not to say that Professionals are not practising as individuals.
Apart from sanctions and incentives from various bodies, do you instill discipline to erring members?
The professional bodies themselves are bodies of the individual professionals. APBN has member bodies as it’s members; for instance, bodies like Nigerian Institution Of Surveyors, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Medical Association of Nigeria constitute the Body as members.
What do these bodies stand to gain?
At anytime group of persons come together and socialise, there can always be advantages but the extent to which they go is what we will be asking. One comes with networking. In the case of networking, you will now have to compare notes on what brought you together.
How do you foster patronage?
I took over last year. On our own, we are trying to facilitate this collaboration and cooperation with government officials to be able to have synergy that is needed to know what our problems and hindrances are, so we can work together and see how we can move the Country to the next level. For instance, in the last board meeting, I was able to invite the Director General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) to our meeting and he addressed us on the Executive order five and our members who are majorly Presidents of professional bodies were able to make their inputs and in the next meeting, I will try to bring another Director General under Science and Technology.
Are you concerned about corruption In Nigeria?
You know, I use to talk about corruption before but at a time I sat down and analysed it, I discovered that Nigerians themselves are not really ready to fight corruption; they just pay lip service to it either in leadership or the followership because each individual even in his own cubicle is corrupt. We have to fight it from inside but that is not to say that the people we have given leadership of the Country haven’t been part of it. They have to take the lead to succeed and Nigerians must be supportive. Why we have problem is because we don’t have deterrents. We don’t reprimand; we only pay lip services. So, if we want to get it right, when we elect or appoint a leader, the leader has to see to full compliance to establish laws or norms. When this is done, it will go a long way. When there is discipline in the society, you don’t have much to uphold but on the other hand, if you are good at upholding and making people adhere to the norms, you will eventually participate in making someone uphold discipline.
You have talked about collaboration and we have the Nigeria Content Act but some of these indigenous and local content expression is not coming forth in the technology sector, as the Association of Professional Bodies, what role are you playing in this regard?
From time to time, there are areas they invite us. As the recognised members of the organised private sector, we were invited and I went to represent my President and we were able to see from what they gave us. There are still much work ongoing and if you don’t get there, you won’t know what is going on. So, I really appreciate the Representatives and to a reasonable extent, if you want to lie and you are able to lie before people like us, you have tried. I want to believe if only the leadership can take more further steps to uphold all these laws and values, things would be better for us. That is the truth and I have examples from where we were invited. We always look out for public hearings.
How do you see Governance In Nigeria?
Well, it is evolving because there is still long ways to go, but one major area we need to address is insecurity. if we allow it to continue like this, it will derail us as a Country. Insecurity makes it difficult for the economy and virtually everything to function.