Every step of his way for continued existence, man comes inexorably face-to-face with dilemma that he has to resolve one way or another. Man’s dilemma comes more forcefully in his quest for relevance.
In this, man is left with several choices as reflected in Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs which, according to Oghenovo Charles Majoroh, includes self-actualisation, esteem, love, belonging and safety.
Majoroh believes that, in the affairs of man, whatever he does has to be relevant to his circumstances or the journey he is embarking upon at that time.
Speaking at the 5th Distinguished Lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) with the theme, ‘A Dilemma of Relevance’, Majoroh, a former president of the institute, provided insights into the interplay of dilemma and relevance and the role of man (the architect) in-between.
“Whereas relevance is ascertaining the valid relationship between two objects, dilemma is an unavoidable call to make a choice between two options both of which are not necessarily happy ones, but have been brought about because of the relevance of certain prior actions and choices,” he explained.
Dilemma, according to him, goes beyond professions in the built environment, explaining that the architect, for instance, is a professional caught in the web of dilemmas posed by conduct, ethics and technology as reflected in the world wide web (www).
“As architects, we belong to a cadre called professionals and a professional can be defined as a person belonging to a select group whose occupation involves special learning with skills and sworn, at the pain of sanction, to respect its code of conduct and ethics while maintaining a minimum level of integrity and competence,” he observed.
This professional is in dilemma, being faced with the www where there is democratization of designs and the ease of knowledge derived from the www which has tended to reduce the necessary rigour attendant on the search for facts, data and comparative weightings.
He is worried that modern society is now creating machines and not human dwellings which will affect the society’s mental health down the line. “Times are afoot when we shall begin to see people behave like machines lacking in morals and empathy as derived from the ghettos we are building for ourselves in the urban housing dilemma experienced today,” he stressed..
To deal with this dilemma and remain relevant, Majoroh counseled that the architect should be a true professional which, according to him, means having studied, practiced and enmeshed oneself so much in a particular aspect of human endeavour that one can be considered to be a specialist in that area.
“You guard and guide that cadre such that nobody calls himself that except he/she has acquired a modicum of that level of expertise and experience and therefore rub shoulders with you on, at least, the same level. You establish a minimum standard below which nobody can seat at the same table with you and dine with you and call him/herself your equal,” he advised.
He was of the view that any professional body that does not have the ability to guard and guide that level and continually raise the bar will cause people below its level to meet up with it and then it loses its relevance in terms of its ability to provide, procure and show its expertise/training to society.
“To enable man in the field of architecture and the built environment deal with the dilemmas brought about by earthly rigours, we must produce professionals who have creative spirit, a sense of humour and patience, ability to work long hours at a stretch, and abundant initiative and discipline,” he said.