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Dr. Mrs. Marja Hoek-Smit, World Renowned Housing Expert and AIHS Board Member, and Director of Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA to anchor 2023: Setting agenda for housing session at AIHS in July

Dr. Mrs. Marja Hoek-Smit, World Renowned Housing Expert and AIHS Board Member, and Director of Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA to anchor 2023: Setting agenda for housing session at AIHS in July

One of the famous housing experts in the world and Africa International Housing Show’ (AIHS) Board Member, Dr Hoek-Smit Marja will July engage political aspirants and policy makers in the country at the 16th AIHS while also mapping out agenda for the housing sector ahead of the 2023 elections.

This follows the AIHS board’s resolution to hold a political forum focusing on housing sustainability at the 16th AIHS coming up on 25th to 28th July 2022.

Speaking during an exclusive interview in Abuja on Friday, the convener of the event, Mr. Festus Adebayo said that the selection of Marja, who is also the Director of the International Housing Finance Program Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, United States of America, is premised on her long-term experience in the housing sector, describing her as one of the best brains in the world.

“She has been conducting the Wharton housing programme for more than fifteen years. This is a programme that a lot of people attend from different parts of the world. She’s also in the know of what’s happening in the Nigerian housing sector. She’s a respectable personality in the industry who can conveniently tell us who and where we are as it pertains to housing. Her recommendations are top-notch and no nation remains the same if it effectively implements her housing recommendations. So, selecting Dr. Marja is like our own gift to support Nigeria so that we can actually make a difference as far as housing is concerned in the global sphere. This has worked for some nations of the world, Nigeria’s should not be an exemption.

He added that her presence at the event would not only be to set housing agenda but also provide feasible frameworks to actualize the agenda.

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“Hoek-Smit’s session will no doubt help to achieve a lot in Nigeria’s housing sector. It will precisely give us a working document serving as a transformative and game-changing action that can be taken both at the states and federal levels to solve the nation’s housing challenge”, he said.

Adebayo reiterated that a quiet number of other speakers and housing experts within and outside Nigeria have been invited to participate in the political forum to chart a new path to tackling the nation’s housing gap.

According to him, “Agenda setting has formed a cardinal component of public opinion and accurate evaluation of such is important to public policy consideration. This is why Nigerians must set agenda for the politicians seeking elective positions in 2023 and should jettison the traditional campaign of ambitious promises that hardly materialized.

“It’s high time we raised the bar for who should be at our helm of affairs above sentiments and instead, focus on the competence and credibility of the candidates in respect to delivery of affordable and sustainable housing in Nigeria, regardless of their political affiliation, and putting into consideration the multifaceted tribal groups, diverse backgrounds, and numerous religious settings in the country.

“As the next election approaches, it is imperative that we adopt a structural system that would make political leaders accountable to the people for their actions while in office.

“We are concerned with reawakening Nigerians to the importance of electing competent and credible, ‘housing-minded’ leaders who will ensure justice and fairness for all, as well as peace and unity in the nation.

Speaking further, he said the forum will avail participants and Nigerians at large the opportunity to assess who leads them while also holding their leaders accountable when necessary, based on the promises made in relations to their manifestos.

“This will give us a good way to go into 2023 with clarity of purpose and choices. Housing affects everybody both at the national and state levels. When we fix housing, It’s just like solving all the problems of the country. With housing being fixed, you are fixing the economy, banditry, and other social ills. Most of the problems we are having as a country are grounded in the lack of basic social needs of which housing plays a vital role”, Adebayo noted.

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