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Transition to a Better Urban Future and the Challenge “One-City” Development

Caesar Enwefah



Thursday, June 30, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 15
National Union of Tenants
Equitable urban futures
NE 195


At the World Urban Forum, the National Union of Tenants of Nigeria will, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs, host a networking-event to underline the inter-connectivity between “decentralized development” and “sustainable cities” and how the former can be used to achieve the later in the transition to a better urban future. The title of the event is chosen to underscore the significance of development spread as a “sine qua non” in sustainable cities attainment and how it can be used as an intervention tool for reversal of rapid urbanization, being a basic challenge of “one-city” development policy. The policy, which entails total direction of state’s resources towards capital city development without consideration for rural centers, is a trend that intensifies rural-urban migration and the resulting dense population pressure on urban basic infrastructure. Affordable housing deficit, for example, is an indicator of dense population pressure on urban housing infrastructure and is among factors that impede urban social cohesion. Whenever the deficit occurs, it exacerbates slum-formation and its impact on the forms, functioning, efficiency and fortunes of cities and makes cities unwelcoming in terms of the propensity of slums to induce and abet crime, violence and other social vices in cities. Although, the SDG Target which specifies a holistic approach to inclusive cities attainment has been progressive, the impact has been obliterated by the increasing rural-urban migration, to an extent that cities now host over one-third of the global population migrating to the cities to explore the bright lights of the cities. Unless pragmatic action is taken, as a matter of priority, to bridge the rural-urban divide by decentralizing the SDG to make rural centers inclusive, over two-thirds of the global population may push to the cities by 2030 and, where the migration trend persists, the global urban population may hit over 70 percent of humanity by 2050. The SDG decentralization, if adopted and scaled over, will reduce by at-least 60 percent the rural-urban migration and the resulting population load on urban basic infrastructure. It will, as well, reduce by same percentage the slum-formation trend. Apart from making basic infrastructure affordable and sufficiently available in cities, it will also create myriad investment prospect in the rural centers and open the windows of opportunity for rural input to urban economy by turning of rural assets into urban economic drivers. To underline the innovation in the creation of Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as a policy-tool for development spread in the Niger-Delta region, the Honorable Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs will address the networking event participants on how the innovation in the creation of the Commission has positively impacted on the people of the region, particularly the urban population, and how the impact has been sustained and transited to scale.


Designed to address the challenge of achieving a better urban future in rapidly urbanizing cities, the networking-event acknowledges the prevailing rural-urban migration resulting in dense population pressure on urban basic infrastructure and is to explore, therefore, an innovative solution to the challenge by driving deep into the event’s title and creating broad inputs from contemporary experiences built on priority for rural communities in the basic infrastructure delivery. It will as well emphasize the need to develop concrete benchmarks and predictable processes that ensure an absolute inclusion of the vulnerable, particularly the poorest, in the new emerging urban infrastructure deliverable. Noting the input of “rural-urban divide” to “urban population growth” with the latter being a factor that mitigates cities inclusion, the event will market an innovation that identifies with development spread by which urban fabrics are integrated into rural headquarters and by so doing upgrade the headquarters to centers of excellence and cities-alternative for rural people. The event will also create awareness of affordable housing as an essential key to locking the transfixing presence of slums and canvass a policy by which the gap between the demand and supply of affordable housing is bridged. This policy, if infused with slum-upgrading, will produce a road-map to cities inclusion.

Session speakers

Mr. Godwin Akpabio (tbc)
Honorable Minister
Federal Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs
Mr. Jean Pierre Elong M’bassi (tbc)
United Cities & Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA)
Mr. Babatunde Fashola (tbc)
Hon. Minister
Federal Ministry of Housing
Ms. Aisha Ahmed Dahiru (tbc)
Chair, Senate Committee on SDG
Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Ms. Susan Parnell (tbc)
African Centre for Cities (University of Cape Town)