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AN EXAMINATION OF MAINTENANCE OF CULTURE EMPLOYED IN URBAN STRUCTURE, CALABAR
Background of the study
Public physical infrastructure constitutes a high share of the country's investment and is managed and controlled by the state for public consumptions. It varies from road, railways, harbors, recreational centers, and others. Baldwin and Dixon (2008), divided infrastructure into three groups: machinery and equipment, buildings, engineering structures. These infrastructures are called the public infrastructure since it creates benefits for a large number of users. According to San SI (2012), public infrastructure such as building and other facilities are to be satisfied social and administrative needs as a means to the fulfillment of economic responsibilities of the general public. Better quality and quantity of infrastructure can directly raise the productivity of human, physical capital and hence growth through many channels (Agénor and Moreno 2006 ).
Infrastructures frequently devalue with time so appropriate continuance management needs to be conducted regularly to keep it to the original state. According to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO), operations and maintenance expenditures are generally needed to provide required service for infrastructures to serve its purpose and also needed to enhance the existing infrastructures from deteriorating (Congressional Budget Office 2007). Maintaining existing infrastructures though comes with a cost but it‟s a prudent investment that saves cost than erecting new ones. Infrastructure maintenance in advanced countries is not really impressing, however, there seems to be a vast difference in the maintenance and consequently the economic life of infrastructures projects in developing countries (Matthew Dornan, 2012). In the US, 57% of total spending on infrastructure in 2014 has been towards the operation and maintenance of existing infrastructure assets and this has been rising by about 6% since 2014 (Congress 2014).
Over the years, there have been improvements in public infrastructure maintenance through heavy investments but most developing countries still bear the brunt of insufficient infrastructure access, quality, and reliability due to improper maintenance. Nahimah (2008), as cited by (Kumar and Kumar 2018) conducted a research on the state of Nigerian Aviation Industry, opined that the flaws in the Nigerian Aviation sector were ascribed to lack of maintenance culture and the training of expertise engineers. The author further argued that acquiring aircraft is not as relevant to the industry as good maintenance of the existing ones, adding that a well-maintained aging aircraft is as good as a poorly maintained new aircraft. The condition of infrastructure is very much related to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations (Lee, Wang et al. 2018). From this, it is clear that proper maintenance and management of public infrastructure are very keen on ensuring its lifespan to serve its main purpose. Efobi and Anierobi (2014) further explained that the practice of maintaining prevailing public infrastructures have been abandon to the building of new infrastructures in developing countries. Most developing countries are only interested in erecting new structures to the total neglect of placing measures in place to sustain the existing ones. Inadequate maintenance in developing countries has resulted in rapidly increasing deterioration of public infrastructures to prevent it from serving its purpose.
The Government of Nigeria is currently engulfed with enormous challenges in infrastructure improvement which are proving to be a constraint on growth and development. Though the country is doing well economically, there stay serious shortfalls with the provision of infrastructure and maintenance of the present ones. This can be attributed to the negative attitude of stakeholders in the direction of rehabilitation and maintenance of its constructions and facilities. In fact, the country is facing a heavy infrastructural deficit and apparently poor maintenance of existing public property (Nkrumah et al 2017). The Nigerian community is failing to restore the actual functioning of an asset to prolong its lifespan and the maintenance of infrastructure has to with drawing up foolproof maintenance programme, instituting schedule of inspection, establishing schedule of work, supervision of maintenance of work and preparation of schedule of dilapidation (de la Fuente, González -Prida et al. 2018). There is no refuting the fact, the spirit of sustainability and maintenance culture among developing countries is very atrocious which Nigeria is no exception. This bad attitude is obvious not only amongst those exercising authorities or political powers, however, the ordinary man on the street. It‟s very disgusting upon entering some premises in the country to see that repair and maintenance are absent in the minds of those in charge of the infrastructure.
The Nigeria public infrastructures such as stadia, are sickening and have led to plug of the death trap. These are attributed to the problem of over-centralization of maintenance decisions. The channels through which decisions are made are very cumbersome which delays the maintenance practices. Also, there is inadequate fund and delays in the release of funds have contributed significantly to the present state of public infrastructures.(Agbenorku 2018) A number of newspapers, political leaders and the citizens have lamented over the state of misery of the public infrastructure but the zeal to execute is very slow. This is quite clear that the issue of poor maintenance culture in Nigeria has enjoyed debate but without the necessary actions. However, most studies have been done on the maintenance practices in Nigeria and Africa at large but there is no substantial extent of research addressing the problem of public infrastructure management and how to improve the maintenance practices of public infrastructure. This study, however, aims to unravel the infrastructure maintenance practices being hired in public infrastructures that can be improved.