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BUSINESS PEOPLE: ‘’We Can Turn-around Nigeria to be African Tiger in World Economy with GIS’’…. Rector, Federal School of Surveying

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FROM DEBO DUROWAIYE, OYO..



Worldwide, surveying is noted for its specialised services for the development of mankind in identifying and measuring distances, determining the size and shape of structures and properties, including navigation, roads and railway development.
In Nigeria, surveying started to be of economic importance towards the end of 19th century, hence the establishment of School of Surveying in 1908, in Oyo town, Oyo State.
The school, which celebrated its centenary in 2009, and is the first of its kind in Africa, South of Sahara, has been pioneering survey education from analogue to digital system as well as embarking on the training of people for professional, diploma and Higher National Diplomas in Geographic Information System (GIS).  
Also, the school, which has entered its second century of existence and reputed to be a centre of excellence in GIS is undergoing tremendous improvements in the areas of infrastructure, staff welfare, internet connectivity, and acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment
These unprecedented achievements would not have come into fruition but for the exemplary leadership style coupled with open door administration of the School’s Rector, Surveyor Mohammed Bello Abubakar.

Abubakar, Ex-Student, Now Rector
Abubakar, who hails from Auchi, Edo State, was a student of the school and later became a lecturer. Thereafter, he was appointed Head of the Department Surveying and Geo- Informatics and promoted to the position of deputy rector.
He was appointed acting rector and finally confirmed as rector.
Abubakar, who studied Surveying and Planning at the University of Ibadan, later proceeded to ITC in Netherlands for further studies.
Impressed by his records of performance, the Federal Government through the Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolememen, recently approved the second and final term of three years for Surveyor Abubakar as rector of the institution.
In a letter vide Ref No S 51/T/144 dated 7th of June, 2013 and signed by Surveyor-General of the Federation, and Chairman, Governing Council of the School, Surveyor Professor P. C. Nwilo, the renewal of Abubakar’s appointment takes effect from 11th of August, 2013.
Through GIS, the School Produce Master plan for Oyo Metropolis,

Speaking in an interview with WESTERN POST, the rector said the school could turn around the country to be African Tiger and one of the leading world economies in the world with Geographic Information System [GIS].
Explaining the importance of geo-informatics in national development, Abubakar said, “data concerning human population distribution are critical development information,” adding that, “most countries engage in ten-yearly censuses to establish not only the rate at which their population has been growing but also changes in its spatial distribution both regionally and between urban and rural areas. This latter set of changes are only been captured through census data that are disaggregated and preferably geographically referenced.’’
In advanced countries, therefore, he pointed out that “censuses provide the information for survey and mapping agencies to re-define the boundaries of electoral districts, voting wards, school districts, health management districts and catchment areas for various service delivery activities. The analysis of such geographically referenced census data can also be used to calculate the population at risk, often with little or no advance warning in respect of many pathologies affecting the people in the country.”
The rector argued that one of the critical factors in the pervasive poverty of the country, as of most other African countries, is their failure to provide themselves with necessary cadastral data and information to validate the property rights of their people and enhance their productive capacity.
‘’It is the absence of this level of spatial data that has been hampering the emergence of a broad-based development in the country and which the present administration is determined to initiate in the country. The cadastral survey of any country is a demanding, onerous and long-term programme of determined activities. It is a re-discovery and appreciation of the land resources of a particular country, as it facilitates the identification of every settlement and promotes a sense of inclusiveness of all groups and individuals within the country.’’
Abubakar further hinted that presently the school’s 40 soft-wares, high grade laptops, over 200 computers and two 35 KVA generators to power its Geographic Information System [GIS], in addition to two 500KVA industrial generators being used by the entire institution.
‘’Through the GIS, the school has been able to produce a master plan for Oyo metropolis, which is the first of its kind in the history of the ancient town. This project will soon be presented to Governor Abiola Ajimobi. We have also been able to make appreciable impacts along major streets in Oyo, Iseyin and other notable towns.
On his focus for the second term in office, Abubakar informed that his administration with the support of the Federal Government had been re-defining the school’s objectives and goals beyond topographic mapping and ad-hoc cadastral surveys.
According to him, ‘’we will not relent in our commitment towards engaging in comprehensive cadastral survey in order to garner and provide more detailed spatial and geo-referenced information both of the physical and the human geography  of the country. We will equally join in harnessing our enormous opportunities that could accrue from making such information available to the governments, the international community, the private sector and the generality of the Nigerian population.’’
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