Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has directed the contractor handling the construction of Och’Idoma’s Palace to complete work on the project before next year’s general election.
Governor Ortom gave the directive Wednesday, December 21st, 2022 after inspecting ongoing work on the project in Otukpo.
In a chat with journalists after the inspection, the Governor expressed satisfaction with the quality of work but frowned at the slow pace of work.
“I’m impressed with the quality of work done so far but not happy with the slow pace of the project.”
He said that he came to inspect firsthand and know the challenges delaying the work and to further give instructions and to further support and facilitate the work so that the project could be completed before the elections next year.
According to the Governor, “My intention was to commission this project this year, but it is no longer possible. I have told the contractor this project must be inaugurated before the elections.
“This is a project that is dear to my heart and His Royal Majesty and family cannot continue to stay in the temporary palace. I have directed the contractor to work round the clock to ensure that we meet up with the time.”
The Governor emphasised that funding will be addressed, saying “I believe that before the general election, the project should be commissioned because this is one of our legacy projects having done a similar project for the Tiv nation, we must do the same for the Idoma nation so that the cycle will go round.”
In his remarks, the Och’Idoma, His Royal Majesty, Elaigwu Odogbo Obagaji John who was on hand with his wife and other traditional rulers to inspect the project described the edifice as “a wonderful project initiated by the Governor” and expressed delight that work was going on very well on the project but at a slow pace.
He expressed optimism that with the promise given by the Governor and the assurances by the contractor that by January 20th, 2023 all things being equal he will deliver the project. “I believe he is going to do it,” Och’Idoma stated.
The Managing Director, Intra Engineering and Turnkey Limited, Engr. Agaba Ikwue explained that the delay in the execution was because the project started with one phase but along the line, the Governor expanded the scope of the project.
He said, despite paucity of funds, “The Governor has demonstrated sincere commitment in funding the project” and assured that within four weeks from today, the project will be fully delivered.
The Governor earlier held a closed-door meeting with the Idoma Area Traditional Council where issues bordering on insecurity, particularly in Benue South Senatorial District and ways to adequately tackle it were discussed.
The Governor also used the visit to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the deplorable state of the Makurdi-Otukpo-Enugu Road.
He noted that the federal road was one of the major access points connecting the northern region to the southern part of the country and there was a need for the Federal Government to intervene on the situation of the road to ease the burden of commuters.
Governor Ortom was accompanied by the PDP Deputy Governorship candidate, Sir John Ngbede, Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Chief Ekpe Ogbu as well as the Special Adviser on Security Matters, Lt. Col. Paul Hemba (rtd), Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barr. Kenneth Achabo and Special Adviser on Special Duties, Joseph Odaudu among others.