Having Well-Planned Streets Will Be A Dream Come True
Who is Surveyor Yomi Bobadoye?
I was born in Orin Ekiti to a polygamus family of the Late Chief T.A. Bobadoye the Baba Ijo of St. James Catholic Church and the Alaran of Orin-Ekiti. I was almost a spoilt child, my mother was actually younger than some of my brothers and sisters.
Could you give us a peek into your background (family, education)?
I started school at an early age and completed my primary and secondary modern school at age 14. I experienced a major set back due to the death of one of my brothers who was a rising star in the community.
Fortunately for me Late Bisi Aina who was my uncle stepped in 1967 and I continued my education at MacJob Grammar School, Abeokuta. When my uncle left for Canada his own immediate elder brother became responsible for my education and then sent me to Hope Grammar School Ilesha where I finished in 1971.
In 1972 I sat for employment examination at the Federal Survey Department of the then Federal Ministry of Works. I was successful and sent straight to Federal School of Surveying, Oyo from the basic course to advanced course parts I & II which I graduated in 1977.
In 1981, I was admitted to the University of Lagos for a Bachelor's degree in Surveying at the Faculty of Engineering and graduated in 1983. I sat for the surveyors' licensing examination and passed in 1986 which made me a licensed surveyor.
What was is like when you were growing up?
Growing up was a lot of fun, life was much easier at the home front. Our polygamous home was paradise. The women were very kind to all the children irrespective of whom your mother was. We ate from whose pot was ready, ours was a typical African society where everybody was his brothers keeper.
Why did you choose a career in Land Surveying?
In 1959, the Western Regional Government established an Agricultural settlement in Orin-Ekiti. Surveyors were the forerunners of the project, their straight, long survey lines caught my attention and their dedication to duty attracted me.
However it was late Prof. Peter Okunrotifa of ABU, Zaria during one of his visits to Lagos sent me to a friend Surveyor J.O. Daramola, FNIS at the Federal Survey's Department. At my first visit I was invited for examination which I took, passed and was employed and sent straight to Survey School.
Where did you work after qualifying as a Land Surveyor prior to starting your own company?
My working career started at the Federal Survey Department, Lagos as a Survey Assistant, from there I rose to Technical Officer. In 1978 when I was to get married, I joined the service of Kwara State College of Technology now Kwara Polytechnic.
Life at Federal Surveys Department was very interesting and there was dedication and genuine service. The standard of service left by the colonial masters was maintained during those periods. Each office had a daily dairy which was faithfully maintained. In one word a surveyor then was upright in all things and so were our assistants. Worthy of note were our drivers, they took their jobs seriously and were ready to die for their boss, and they were upright.
Our salaries were small but it was adequate to meet our needs and our field allowance was coming in due time. For surveyors at the time money was not the problem but where to spend it.
Then when a survey party leaves on the 3rd of a month they don't get back until the 31st of that month. We had no form of communication so those of us who are married were nicknamed ”end of the month husbands.”
Could you give us an insight into the background of your company? When was it started and who are the promoters?
We started our firm, Topland Associates a firm of consultants and licensed surveyors in October 1989. We owe Chief Barr. Tejumola Adeyemi a world of gratitude for accommodating us in our first year of operation and facilities to make our start-up easy.
In 1990, I also met Engr. Funsho Makanjuola who is a good friend through one of my students who was working with the Nigerian Sugar Company, Bacita. We worked on various projects for the company in areas of site acquisition survey, provision of height for erosion and flood control. We also worked for NIYAMCO a sister company.
I would say Nigeria Sugar Company has been our best client so far. Since inception we have also worked for the likes of the Federal Ministry of Works, Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Authority, Town Planning and Development Authority of Kwara State, University of Ilorin, Al-Hikmah University, Anglican Diocese of Ilorin, Catholic Diocese of Ilorin, UMCA to mention a few. We also consult for private organizations and individuals as well.
We are also pioneer members of the Association of Private Practising Surveyors of Nigeria (APPSN). This is an association of private practitioners and also partner and associate of several planning groups and companies. Presently I am the National Vice-President of the association. In recognition of my efforts to the institution I was awarded the fellowship of the institution in 1999.
How do you rate the practise of land surveying and the challenges of practitioners in Kwara State?
The practise of surveying in Kwara state has not improved much. In fact we are still selling surveying to people. We have adequate legislative for planning and surveying in the state but it's sad that these legislations are not being enforced. That is why G.R.A. seems to be the only planned area.
The surveyor as a spatial Data Manager Operates within a special environment whether on land, air, the sea or beneath the ground in case of tunnels. Therefore spatial data collected by a surveyor is required for the planning and development of the environment. Societies where the surveyors' data are used for planning don't experience all the problems associated with poor planning; like urban slum, traffic chaos, erosion to mention a few.
What changes have occurred in the professional practice and how would you rate the impact of new technology on the industry?
New technology has changed the practise of surveying as the instruments used are now digital and the collection of data, storage and presentation has become more efficient. Now data retrieval has become even more easier than the past. We used to use chains and venier theodolite, followed by optical and electro-optical instruments and now we have gone fully digital.
What is your advice to the younger generation in general and young professionals in particular?
I would advise the new generation surveyors to imbibe the basic principles of surveying and also make sure there are no mistakes and also remain focused on their goals. I will also advise they think scientifically and subject everything they do to test before accepting as the best option.
What are your future projections?
We are praying that by being able to work with other professionals we may leave behind an environmentally friendly society where everything works, with our towns and cities well planned. It will be a dream come through for our streets to look like Ahmadu Bello Way in Ilorin and our estates like Adewole Estate.
Keep on keeping on! »
Jackie Appiah »