Inaugural Speech of Mrs. Mercy Torkwase Iyorter

President

INAUGURAL SPEECH OF MRS. MERCY TORKWASE IYORTYER
THE 23RD PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF QUANTITY SURVEYORS
AT EKO 2015 ON THE 21ST NOVEMBER 2015

Protocol
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this historic event. I specially want to welcome our dignitaries, foreign guests, special guests, allied professionals and our sponsors.

Today, God and history has been kind to me as I have just been sworn in as the 23rd President of this great Institute. The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors has been in existence for 46 years and has produced 22 Male Presidents. I feel highly humbled and honored to stand before you all as the first Female President NIQS has produced. Today history has been made and I am grateful to God for making me a woman of history. However, it is not I who has written this history tonight but you my dear colleagues!

The message our great Institute is sending out to Nigeria and the rest of the world is that it is gender sensitive and progressive. This is a good stand point for the Institute as it journeys on.

I remain grateful to God, to you my colleagues and to the Past Presidents who flew the Institute’s flag. May I therefore humbly call on us all to acknowledge all our past 22 Presidents by rising to our feet and applauding them for their vision and for keeping our Institute alive.

I am particularly thankful to my immediate predecessor Mallam Murtala M. Aliyu, the Mutawallen Gombe, for the role he played in supporting me to succeed him as the President of the Institute. We have collectively changed the narrative and made history that will remain forever. He is an epitome of a highly intelligent, patient and visionary leader. He has left behind footprints in the sand for me and others after me to follow.

May I congratulate some of my colleagues who have just been elected into various positions into the National Executive Council. I look forward to working with you as a formidable team.

To my fellow colleagues, this inaugural event is not only meant for us to dine and wine but to bear witness to the enduring strength of our Institute and the services we swore an oath to render to the society. In coming together, we reaffirm our commitment and service to our stakeholders. We must recall at all times that what binds us as distinguished professionals is not the pride in the membership but the glory the profession carries. What makes us exceptional is “Total Cost and Procurement Managers of Construction Projects and to the Institute’s Strategic Action Plan.

Today, we are renewing the vision we have lived with in our 46 years of existence and we are re-affirming our commitment to work unequivocally towards the vision. In our journey so far, we have been tested by numerous challenges but through it all, we have never relinquished our focus and commitment nor have we succumbed to the forces that tended to pull us down. Our success to this time has proved our resilience.

My dear colleagues, our possibilities are limitless, for we have all it takes to break through boundaries because we believe that our prosperity rests upon our shoulders. We must remember, tonight is a celebration of our insistence on hard work and collective responsibility, and this must be constant in our commitment and character. Now, more than ever, we must work collectively as one indivisible professional body and one people. Together, we can determine that, a Nigeria with competent skills in Total Cost and Procurement Management of Capital Projects is possible.

We believe that our obligations as Quantity Surveyors are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity of the Nigerian Nation. We understand the task ahead of us to meet up with these obligations. It is not enough to say we are the Construction Cost Experts. Do we have the capacity to render these services in a manner that adds not only value to our clients’ projects but also execute them so obviously that they would find us indispensable? With the advent of globalization concept, the world we live and operate in is now knowledge driven. What we know and the value we add are the significant factors that drive the demand and service we offer to our clients. Our ability to stand out in the services we provide determines our success among our competitors. In line with the CHANGE mantra of the Buhari Administration, the diversification of the economy and provision of infrastructure will be private sector driven. Hence, there is strong indication of robust opportunities for the built-environment and specifically for construction cost experts; especially in infrastructure development projects with an increase in private finance of such projects. Thus we must build the expertise to compete in the emerging market.

As a people, we must therefore, harness new ideas and technology to remake our profession and serve the society better. We will respond to the threats and challenges confronting our profession appropriately as they unfold in a timely manner. Indeed, our journey will not be complete until we make the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors to achieve Global Best Practice and Standards. With the awareness that this journey will not end after my two-year tenure, we must continuously strive to choose visionary leaders that will sustain and build on past achievements.

Let me use this opportunity to highlight and commend some of the major achievements of the outgoing National Executive Council led by the Immediate Past President Mallam Murtala Aliyu. Notable among the achievements are: stabilization of the Institute for peaceful coexistence among the members which has brought the unity of the NIQS alive, the establishment the QS Academy which will commence admission in January 2016, production of the Fourth Edition of “Building and Engineering Standard Method of Measurement” (BESMM4), Second Amendment of the NIQS 2004 Constitution, enhanced membership drive, adoption of rotational principle within the States Chapters of the Institute for hosting Nation Activities across the six geo-political zones, enhanced interface with the political class and as I take over the mantle of leadership as the 23rd President of the Institute for the next two years, I will channel my energy towards ensuring that I fulfill my vision which is to make our Profession more relevant and indispensable to the Construction Industry and to our Society.

My fellow colleagues, my action plans in achieving my Vision for our Institute will be tailored along a Seven Pronged Approach:
1. CAPACITY BUILDING FOR MEMBERS

  • Organize training on the New BESSM4 for all members.
  • Develop or work in partnership with development partners on a QS Software that will incorporate BESSM4 Quantity Take off as our Standard Method of Measurement.
  • Support and strengthen the QS Academy to update our existing skills and to offer specialized training in new frontiers.

2. EXPAND FRONTIERS OF OPPORTUNITIES

  • Gather relevant intelligence information that will make us proactive in seeking opportunities for our members.
  • Reach out to relevant Government Agencies, Organized Private Sector and International Organizations to seek for collaboration in government activities at all levels.
  • Set out a “Lobby Committee” of the Institute to pursue our interests.
  • Invest in focused researches on new businesses and new frontiers for Quantity Surveyors in order to determine existing market opportunities as a basis to Improve Professional Services.

3. COMMENCE DEVELOPMENT OF NIQS HEAD OFFICE PROJECT
The Institute is currently facing challenges of office accommodation in Abuja. This is an eye opener and we must grab the opportunity presented by this challenge to commence the construction of our new Head Office Building in Abuja.

4. EFFECTIVE AND STRATEGIC MARKETING OF THE PROFESSION TO ENHANCE VISIBILITY
To date the awareness and understanding of Quantity Surveying services remain at low ebb in the public arena. Personal marketing is made difficult by lack of awareness and understanding. The Institute has a responsibility to increase this awareness. As a council, we shall:

  • Make media to key into our programs and events.
  • Respond and participate in Government policies that affect construction and impinge on our services.
  • Network with National & International Organizations to expand partnership and collaborations.

5. COLLABORATE WITH QSRBN
We will collaborate with the Board on review of curricula at University and Polytechnic levels to ensure that curricula do not lag behind Construction Industry needs.

6. STRENGTHENING THE NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
The Secretariat will be restructured and re-engineered with a view to providing effective and efficient services to our members.

7. MEMBERSHIP AND PARTICIPATORY GROWTH
Chapters are the most important organ of the Institute and we will continue to make them play greater roles in achieving the Institute’s national objectives, membership and participatory growth.

Distinguished colleagues, the Oath I have sworn to before you and God today, is to our profession and to our country. And God helping me, I will faithfully execute the promises. But we must remember, my Oath is not so different from the commitment we must collectively make to achieve our fundamental objectives aspirations. And so with our collective effort, support and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us make the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors a leading example in Africa.

I want to thank the members of my family, my loving and supportive husband, understanding children and grand children for the unique sacrifices they have made and will continue to make as I commit myself to serve the Institute as her President.

I want to end this speech by impacting this message on my colleagues – We must all work hard at making our profession relevant to the Construction Industry and to our Society. For we can go a lot further together, than we can alone!

Long live the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Thank you all and God bless.
Mrs. Mercy Torkwase Iyortyer, FNIQS
President Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors