Senator Tokunbo Abiru (representing Lagos East Senatorial District), Prof. Kunle Ade Wahab (President, Ikorodu Chamber Of Commerce & Industry), Arc. (Sir) Dipo Ajayi (Architect registration council of Nigeria) and Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh (President, The Nigerian Institute Of Architects) were among the dignitaries at the NIA founders day/memorial lecture of Late Arc. Michael Olutusen Onafowokan.
The lecture and compendium launch which took place at Ikorodu ultra-modern town hall on the 1st of April 2022 was organised to solidify the legacy of Late Arc. Michael Olutusen Onafowokan was appraised as the first Nigerian Architect and planner.
With stakeholders, members of Allied Professions in the Built Environment and Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Building Collapse Guild, NBA, NSE, Surveyors Institute, Town Planning Institute, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Leaders of Religious Organisations, Reverends, Imams, Pastors, the council of Obas and students from the architectural department of Caleb university in attendance, the program was themed: ‘Architecture Legacy, The Challenge Of Sustainability.
In his welcome address, Arc. Victor Uchenna Achime (Chairman, Ikorodu branch, Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects) acknowledged the Late Arc. Michael Onafowokan is his father, boss and launcher.
“He launched me into the world of Architecture after my youth service in 1993. Little did I know that I was making history by coming in contact and serving under Nigerian number one Architect.”
“I am delighted to be the one championing this First Memorial Lecture in his honour. Baba Onofowokan as he was fondly called was born on the 1st of December but we moved the posthumous celebration of his Birthday to the 1st of April to correspond with the day he and his colleagues founded the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) in 1960, 62 years ago. A sixty-year-old institution by all standards is a noble and respectable one.”
“Ikorodu Branch of NIA has packaged a Compendium of Historic and Iconic buildings in Ikorodu aimed at preserving the disappearing heritage of Ikorodu town for posterity. Urbanisation and retro-fitting due to changes in uses of building especially by Investors have continued to eliminate some of the Monuments and Historical building we met here in Ikorodu some twenty years ago.”
“We, therefore, concluded to file some of such remaining buildings in pictures and writing in this first edition for keeps at home and in Libraries. Schools of Architecture should also have them as good readings for History of Architecture.”
“The Compendium will be launched today” Arc. Victor Uchenna added
Whilst celebrating the icon of architecture, Arc. Michael Onafowokan (marking about three decanters de he departed the world as a productive sojourn), the program equally honoured the originality of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) Lagos State and Ikorodu Chapter for always living up to its professional obligations.
According to Keynote speaker, Professor Michael Adebamowo (Former Dean of Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Lagos), Architect Michael Olutusen Onafowokan is not just number one on this table as the first Nigerian Architect, but he was the first on the list of Town Planners been the doyen of both professions.
He continued, “quoting the former National President of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (Dr S.A. Olateru Olagbegi) on August 24 1991, Chief Michael Olutusen Onofowokan was; The 1st African Architect and automatically the 1st Nigerian Architect, the 1st President of Nigerian Institute of Architect; the 1st Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, A Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; A member of the Commonwealth Board of Architectural Education from 1966-1971, A Pioneer Town Planner in Nigeria and Africa.”
“He is accordingly, the 1st President of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, as well as 1st Fellow of the Institute, the 1st government registered Town Planner in Nigeria and a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, London, the President of Ibadan Tennis Club (1957-58 and 1960-1961), the 1st President of the Methodist Boys High School, Lagos and Representative of Nigeria at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (1957-1960)” Prof Michael Adebamowo highlighted in a visually displayed presentation via a projector
Arc. David Majekodunmi (INT’LASSOC) Chairman, NIA Lagos State Chapter, bolting on Architecture Legacy (The Challenge of Sustainability) asserted that the contributions made towards nation-building by Late Pa Onafowokan cannot be overstated and more importantly, should never be forgotten.
He proceeded, “Pa Onafowokan laboured tirelessly and with great tact, intelligence, boldness, and confidence. Working together with other shining stars of Architecture such as the late sages Arc. Oluwole Olumuyiwa, Arc. Frank Nwobuora Mbanefo, Arc. John Seyton MacGregor, Arc. Dan Awani, they founded the Nigerian Institute of Architects and established it as one indivisible and independent association.”
“Pa Michael Onafowokan was not just an Architect but was also a Town Planner and was deeply rooted in Land Surveying, Civil Engineering, and Quantity Surveying, which prepared him for the multiple roles he played in the practice of Architecture in Nigeria. As one of the Chief Architects and Builders, he was instrumental in laying the foundation for the nation destined to be the leader of Africa and a model for the black race”
“Sustainable Architecture is the use of design strategies to reduce the negative impact on the built environment. However, sustainability is not only related to environmental issues. It is also related to social equity and economic development”
“However, the main challenge of sustainability is still strongly correlated with the preservation of a communal environment for future generations. When it comes to sustainability at least in the literal sense, we do not need data to demonstrate the performance of older buildings: their continued existence already proves that they hat, been sustained over time” Arc. David Majekodunmi surmised
In his remarks, Senator Tokunbo Abiru urged the current theoretical/historical section of architectural education to be localised i.e. the study othe f history of Nigerian Architecture, (beyond the existing traditional architecture) should be infused into the system to prepare the trainees for the reality of the ground.
“Architectural works can be preserved by publication or by other means, setting-up of foundations and the building-up of galleries in existing museums or new ones”
“The potentials of each architect should be put into optimal use when discovered, the need for continuity of architectural practice should be a bonding for every architectural office as a strategy should be evolved to suit the practices.” Tokunbo Abiru asserted
Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh, President & Chairman-in-Council extolled the virtues of the Late Arc. Michael Olutusen Onafowokan and his leadership approach.
“Exactly sixty-two years ago several patriotic Nigerian graduates of architecture, who had their training in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, came together to birth the Institute on the 1st of April 1960. The event had the then Prime Minister of the soon to be independent Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa not only attending but performing the inauguration.”
“Arc. Onafowokan or Pa Onafowokan as he was fondly called, became the 1st President of the Institute and from that humble beginning, the Institute has grown in leaps and bounds to have vibrant chapters in all 36 states of the Federation and the FCT in addition to two branches of the Lagos state chapter.”
“Across the 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT, activities are going on simultaneously to sensitise the public about the unique role architecture plays in shaping our cities, showcasing our identity as a people and defining our civilization.”
“As custodians of the art of building and urban design, we must use the opportunity of moments like this to appraise our role in defining how accessible the product of our trade is to the average Nigerian within the context of sustainability, energy efficiency and affordability.”
“I congratulate the Lagos State Chapter and the Ikorodu branch in particular for this bold initiative of initiating the Arc. Michael Onafowokan memorial lecture. It goes to buttress the importance of spreading our tentacles to the grassroots without which today’s event may not have come to fruition.” Arc. Eyin Ben-Eboh added
Prof Adedeji Daramola (Professor of Architecture and Consultant to UN-HABITAT, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Caleb University, Imota) in his remarks scored Pa Michael Onafowokan a shining light, A tenacious leader, who did everything possible to ensure the construction of the road which today is the most celebrated BRT route in Lagos Megacity.
He continued, “Travelling the Ikorodu road every morning on my way to Caleb University fetch me into remembrance of the crucial efforts of Arc. Onafowokan and his team mapping and navigating the 13 odd miles of snake-infested jungle between Yaba and Ikorodu“
“Pa Onafowokan was an icon that illuminated the architectural terrain in Nigeria after a dogged training in the United Kingdom. A complete environmental designer that combined architectural knowledge with urban planning skills to engineering precision that brought the cradle of city planning ie modern Nigeria. His interpersonal relationship with the British colleagues, commissioner or the colony at the Works department brought tremendous success to the first infrastructural revolution in Lagos city in the 1960s.”
“Arc Papa Michael Onafowokan left an unforgettable mark in the field of architecture, planning and engineering in Nigeria and indeed, Lagos state specifically. The continuous existence of Papa Onafowokan’s architectural outfit (Onafowokan Cityscape Group OCG) more than three decades after his demise, gives credence to the depth and width of knowledge developed and impartation to his mentees whilst he was on earth.“
“Caleb University currently runs a very formidable school of architecture at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. With the recent 2022, accreditation approval from the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, we are poised to continue with the legacy of our progenitor and role model, Papa Michael Olutusen Onafowokan (OON), the first president of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON)” Prof Adedeji Daramola asserted
Arc. Michael Olutusen Onafowokan, the first Nigerian Architect and Planner was born on the 1st of December 1912 and died on the 25th of July 1991.