Restructuring public service in Delta’s secretariat

The complex is designed to reduce paperwork in most official dealings as all offices will be able to share information through Information Communication Technology facility that will be deployed in the building.

Within three months of the creation of Delta in 1991, the first secretariat complex popularly referred to as ‘Works’, was hurriedly put in place by the then military administrator, Group Captain Luke Ochulor, in Asaba, the capital.

The complex barely accommodated the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the army of public servants relocated from Benin City, the capital of defunct Bendel State, where Delta was carved out from.

Many public offices, including the Government House and Deputy Governor’s quarters, operated in rented apartments, but successive governments headed by late Felix Ibru, Group Captain Ibrahim Kefas (retd), Brig-Gen. Bassey Asuquo (retd), late Col. John Dungs, Navy Captain Walter Feghabor (retd), Chief James Ibori and Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, who all administered the state between 1994 and 2015, saw to the construction of some office buildings in Asaba to complement the State Secretariat now known as Olorogun Felix Ibru Secretariat, built by the Federal Government to support the new state.

During the period, a Government House was built and the secretariat was extended, but some public establishments remained in rented buildings, a situation that continued to encumber effective delivery of services by MDAs.

Recognizing this deficit and determined to change the narrative, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on assumption of office as governor in 2015, conceived the idea of a modern secretariat that will accommodate all MDAs – an integrated complex with the objective of providing an environment conducive for work by public servants in the state under one roof. To the governor, it is only such complex that would provide the public service in the state the tonic needed for seamless discharge of its responsibility in the well-articulated governance pattern of his administration.

The contract for the project was awarded in December, 2016 to North China Construction Nigeria Limited, a Chinese company said to be a grade `A’ firm classified in the same category as Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, but mobilization to site was in November, 2017, and work began pronto.

Three years on, the project, which has developed from obscurity to an imposing and audacious edifice, occupies about 65,000 square metres space along Mariam Babangida Way in Asaba, between Olorogun Felix Ibru Secretariat and its Annex. Its ground floor alone approximates two standard football fields.

Aside being an integrated complex designed to house all MDAs, construction of the secretariat is aimed at reducing wastages and cost of governance as it will save the huge funds currently being spent by government on rent for some MDAs. The savings, of course, will be deployed by the government, to other purposes to boost the state’s economy, flowing from its track of prudent fiscal management.

Interestingly, the project is being funded under Contractor-Financed model, which means that the contractor is using its resources to build the secretariat, while the state will repay under an arrangement agreed by both parties. Adopting this method of funding the project is pragmatic as it gives the state government leverage to deploy freed funds to other needs.
According to Mr. Henry Sakpra, Commissioner for Special Duties, in charge of the secretariat project, the complex has the capacity to accommodate no less than 27 ministries, agencies, departments and parastatals; it has five clusters – A to E.

“Clusters A and B have four floors; clusters D and E have four floors while cluster C which is the middle structure has seven floors. Two floors on each cluster has a courtyard and will house a ministry, with each floor having elevators and staircases,” he explained.

Sakpra disclosed that raft approach in modern building was deployed for the foundation of the structure and it measured up to 2.7 metres in depth, representing about two times the height of an average man.
He said, “the raft approach will guarantee the sturdiness and integrity of the building as well as guard against any breach or possible collapse.

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