15 May 2017 | Martin Read and Jamie Harris
"Back in 2007, people didn't know what FM was," explains Wale Odufalu. "They asked me if I worked in loans and finance, as what I was doing was seen to be connected to financial investments."
It's better recognised as a profession now - but the talent pool remains shallow, with technical training taking a back seat.
FMs in Nigeria are required to focus on different priorities to those in the UK. Power, for example, can be up to 50 per cent of all building costs, and the spotlight is on maintenance projects.
Most FM work is done in-house, with Odufalu reporting the outsourced services market as only in its infancy.
Most manufacturing, government, schools and university sites operate FM services in-house with the majority of FM outsourcing opportunities lying in the three commercial hubs of Lagos, capital city Abuja, and Port Harcourt.
"Wholly outsourced FM is strong in the oil and gas market, as well as the multi-national organisations who already have this as part of their global operating strategy. The telecoms industry is beginning to take note, too."
A key problem, says Odufalu, is that inculcating a maintenance culture has been a long-term challenge. With an increase in infrastructure investment comes an increase in FM being embedded in build and operate projects, she explains. "And this is something that a well-positioned FM organisation can take advantage of."
The country has been through a period of recession and corruption, both of which have affected the maintenance of the country's infrastructure.
"Bad roads, collapsed bridges - we even had the international airport in Abuja closed for repairs to the runway for six weeks. That's work that should have been done 15 years ago" says Obileye.
Speaking from South Sudan, he advises that certain African countries are more receptive to the term "facilities management" than others.
"In Rwanda, for example, they don't use this phrase. They they see what we call FM as indistinct from property management. Similarly in Ethiopia, FM is just not the phrase they typically use.
North Africa is ahead of West Africa in terms of maintenance, says Obileye, while closer to home organisations in his native Nigeria are beginning to appreciate the need to for professionals with the experience and expertise to look after the built environment.
We're broadcasting live at 12 noon BST on World FM Day, Wednesday 17 May. You'll be able to hear audio interviews with some of the international correspondents mentioned above, as we capture a snapshot of FM across the globe in 2017, as well as live discussion on the issues and themes that have arisen. Tune in here.