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Delta workers move into N17 billion new secretariat complex

By Godwin Ijediogor, South-South Bureau Chief, Asaba
13 December 2021   |   4:05 am
In recognition of the importance of adequate infrastructure and conducive environment to workers’ efficiency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State recently commissioned its ultra-modern, multi-billion naira state secretariat in Asaba.

Newly completed Prof. Chike Edozien Secretariat, Asaba

In recognition of the importance of adequate infrastructure and conducive environment to workers’ efficiency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State recently commissioned its ultra-modern, multi-billion naira state secretariat in Asaba.

At the ceremony, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, eulogised the governor for the gigantic, one-stop project that many hope would ease communication among government ministries and save the government the cost of renting accommodation for ministries, departments and agencies hitherto scattered all over the state capital.

Christened Prof. Chike Edozien Secretariat, after the Asagba of Asaba, the edifice located on Mariam Babangida road, is one of the administration’s legacy projects.

The implication, according to Okowa, is that all state government agencies will have to be relocated to the other two existing secretariats previously occupied by some ministries, with the hope that at the end of the day, government will cease to pay rents for its agencies’ accommodation across the capital city.

Beyond rent and saving cost, he said it is also about functionality of government and governance, saying now that all the ministries are housed in one complex, there will be greater coordination among various ministries, while making it easy for the people to access government services, as against the past, when they had to journey from one end of the state capital to another in search of government services.

Okowa, during an interactive session with journalist last week, disclosed that about N17 billion was spent on construction of the secretariat, while the furnishing was done by Lifemate Furniture Limited for a little over N1.7billion and provision of computers and Internet network, at the cost of below N800 million, among other expenditure on sundry items.

He said: “The secretariat was built with the state government’s funds, whether directly or through loans. But it was not something we could fund directly fully, so we put in some seed money and also issued an ISPO (Irrevocable Standing Payment Order) over a period of five years, starting from 2017, after construction work started in November that year.

“The good news is that the payment is structured to be completed within our tenure; we are not leaving behind any payment to the incoming administration. The payment will be completed next year, we have already paid for four years and have just one year to go.

“The contractors also had some part financing also structured through an ISPO to be completed in February 2023.”

He clarified that the secretariat will operate alongside the earlier constructed by the state government- Olorogun Felix Ibru (named after the first civilian governor of the state).

Consultant architects and project managers of the project are Contemporary Design Associates, while the contractor is North China Construction Nigeria Limited

The one-stop facility, which will house all the 27 ministries, including their commissioners and permanent secretaries, is designed around five clusters, each around a courtyard.

The concept guaranties openness and enables the building to enjoy natural lighting and ventilation in most of the offices, in addition to the artificial lighting and ventilation that is provided. The mechanical ventilation is enhanced by a natural airflow.

The magnificent structure is built on 3.88 hectares (38,800 square metres), while the area of the building is 45,000 square metres. The eight-floors building, apart from housing all the ministries, also has three restaurants, nine seminar/conference rooms and training room, with the main floor housing, in addition to the five clusters of ministries, the main reception, banks, business centre, 26-bed clinic, crèche, restaurants, drivers’ lounge, utility services lounge and functional library within the Ministry of Justice.

Services provided under the building include a water treatment plant, complete with a system of overhead and ground tanks capable of delivering sufficient clean and treated water throughout the premises.

There are two sewage treatment plants capable of treating all human waste generated within the building, which are located at the rear left and right ends of the building, behind the existing old secretariat buildings.

The edifice is equipped with fire hose reel connected to water supply system that ensures seamless and adequate supply of water to the hoses strategically located for ease of deployment in case of fire incidence.

In addition, there are fire extinguishers strategically placed side by side with the hose reels to help in combating fire outbreak. Apart from the hose reel and the extinguishers, the building has a system of dry risers that can be readily deployed by external fire fighters if and when necessary.

There are also electronic fire monitoring systems (fire and smoke detectors) adequately positioned in all spaces to provide immediate alert in case of fire outbreak.

The building is connected to the state’s Independent Power Project (IPP) plant located behind the complex to provide constant power supply to the building. Power from the plant is transmitted via a system of three transformers. All the offices are interconnected via a system of voice and data networks.

Other facilities within the complex are over 1,000 parking spaces, two gate houses at the façade and one gate house at the rear, with vehicular connections to the other existing secretariat building areas.

There are ancillary building located at the rear of the older secretariat, as well as six waste disposal centres.

Chairman of Bastanchury Power Solutions Nigeria Limited, Mr. Chidi Goziem, said the impact of the IPP, with five per cent equity share by the state government and has over 25 kilometres of complementary underground cables to supply power to all the state government assets and facilities in Asaba and currently generating 8.5 megawatts of electricity for Asaba, would rob off on the entire state capital through improved power supply and security, as well as improve the socio-economic lives of the people.

It is envisaged that the secretariat will be managed by a world-class facility manager that will see to its sustainability and the maintenance, according to Mr. Ifeadi Kester, architect and Principal Partner of Contemporary Design Associates.