By Norbert Chiazor
Power is like quick silver. It vanishes in fleeting crescendo. Evaporating within the shortness of time and tomorrow. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa understanding the transience of human circumstance has contemplated a dream that would outlive his tenure. Far ahead into interminable future.
At the heart of Asaba, the Delta state capital, the Okowa administration is building the biggest secretariat in the Niger Delta. Located at the Maryam Babangida road opened recently into a four-lane drive by Okowa, rises a mega edifice.
The secretariat is a sprawling spectacle of Olympian architecture rolling up to seven stairs at the peak, kissing the skyline of Asaba in amazing elegance. The dimension is breath taking, sitting on 65,000 square metres space. It stretches over two standard football pitches.
Awarded in December 2016 to an international firm with civil engineering reputation, North China Construction conglomerate, the multi billion Naira secretariat complex is now on the final stage of completion. It is designed in five clusters to house 27 ministries, departments and agencies of government as well as bank, clinic and crèche.
The vision of Okowa is that commissioners, permanent secretaries, directors and other civil servants would work under one giant roof to deliver government business in seamless liaison. An initiative unprecedented in history.
With entrenched drawbacks like civil service bureaucracy, lethargy of most public officers, inept work culture and nondescript atmosphere, the expansive ultra modern secretariat will inspire the rank and file of Delta Labour force.
Civil servants on statutory duty have a lot to gain and give in a cozy environment. The new secretariat would offer them the appetite to serve. Then good governance would be guaranteed for the people of Delta.
There is also the happy optimism that the new secretariat with its one- stop accommodation stand to boost the economic profile of the state by cutting off wastage of huge funds often spent on rent by so many government establishments in the state capital. The key advantage is savings for other critical projects and programmes of the state government.
The landmark particularly decorates Asaba in magnificence and urbanization. A public relations milestone and symbol of popular prestige for one of the most important states in the south south geo political zone.
Government attention is understandable. Saba is a state capital. It deserves a befitting status.
Hopes are high that the secretariat would be opened in 2020 baring the menace of the coronavirus global pandemic. But the state government is unrelenting as the project handlers are on site, toiling day and night.
Governor Okowa recently toured the secretariat in an upbeat mood, where he remarked: “I am happy that soon, there will be more efficiency in service-delivery as all the MDAs will be in one location” to enhance “functionality, discipline and shared engagement”
The Commissioner for Special Duties in charge of the secretariat project, Mr Henry Sakpra explained that the complex is named “intelligence building” thanks to a comprehensive installation of Information and Communication Technology.
Sakpra stated that the smart secretariat envisioned by the Okowa regime would help to execute “government business in record time with the proximity of offices.”
Coming at a time of uncertain economic climate, the massive project underscores the audacity of the initiator and the capacity for fiscal discipline.
For a governor enamoured with social impact and legacy of service, Kowa deserves pat on the back from all quarters. The grandeur and high standards of the building would make it stand evergreen like Samuel Ogbemudia ‘s iconic “perm house” in old Bendel.
With the gigantic Delta secretariat, Okowa has etched his name in timeless value.