Surveying New Ground in Africa

By: Dayo Fasasi

Olubola BabalolaProfessor Olubola Babalola, the first female professor of Quantity Surveying in Africa, sits down with Wazobia Global Times to talk about how she obtained such an honor.

olubola sit down

WGT: How did you find yourself in Quantity Surveying?

Prof.: It’s was by divine intervention, all my life I’d wanted to study Pharmacy. I took the [Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board] JAMB three times; picking Pharmacy as my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices. I only arrived here as God wanted it. At the third JAMB, I received double admission in Micro Biology and Quantity Surveying; losing out on a pharmacy admission.

WGT: Why did you pick Quantity Surveying?

Prof.: I chose Quantity Surveying instead of Micro Biology because it’s a professional course, just like Accounting or Law. I found love in Quantity Surveying. I must admit, I almost went into Accounting because I was the only female in the Quantity Surveying Department at the time.

WGT: How has the steps to greater heights been?

Prof.: It has not been easy, I combined so many things. I became the acting Head of the Department (HOD) in 2007, which was renewed yearly for six years. There was even a time, I was both acting HOD and Vice Dean, which was due to lack of faculty. I was representing the faculty at post graduate board, while at the same time I was the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyor in Oyo State.

WGT: Do you have anyone to appreciate on the new achievement?

Prof.: When my promotion was announced, I dedicate my promotion to everyone that has directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, come in contact with me.  In one way or the other they have added to my achievements.

WGT: As a record breaking Professor, what would you like (generally or professionally) to change in the Nigerian system?

Prof.: Quantity Surveying is not recognized, as it ought to be and this has caused a lot of capital projects to be abandoned in the middle of completion. I would like the Federal Government to recognize the Institute of Quantity Surveying and surveyors generally, the way it is mentioned in the constitution.

WGT: What is your philosophy of life?

Prof.: I see life as being transient.

WGT: Do you have any hobbies?

Prof.: Reading and traveling, I can read anywhere. At night when my roommates would go out to read, I would stay back and read in the room; it didn’t matter whether it was noisy or not.

WGT: Do you have any advice for our readers?

Prof.: My advice to everyone reading this interview, especially the young ones is for them “not to major on minor”. They should acquire skills, keep developing themselves and set their priorities. For older ones, keep mentoring the younger ones and never get tired of teaching them.

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