Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Wired to the Hilt - Inside Akpabio's New Governor's Office

Only those in government, and the few who have business with government (relative to the rest of the population) would know that apart from the new Government House built by the Akpabio administration in Uyo, the state capital, a brand new governor's office was being added to the landscape.

Well, governors are to have offices, if only to have space from where they can conveniently discharge the obligations of their office. Any office can serve that purpose, except that information and communications technology makes much difference in whatever we have to do these days.

And so it was that last Saturday of last month, President Goodluck Jonathan was in Uyo on a one-day working visit to commission the new Governor's office, and lay the foundation stone for a new stadium, also in Uyo. In his speech at the commissioning ceremony, Governor Akpabio told President Jonathan that the new "Governor's Office was conceived to meet the demands of an ever_changing world.

It is not only ICT compliant, it has all the facilities needed for e_governance and contemporary governance. It replaces a building we met at the inception of this administration, which lacked space for visitors and facilities for the administrative controls needed in today's world."

Conferencing facilities

The building lived up to the descriptions and enthusiasm of the governor. The office comprises the governor's personal office, a conference room, courtesy call room, lounge, multimedia studio, and an executive council chamber equipped with video conferencing facilities. Other facilities in the building include a cafeteria, waiting rooms, gallery, offices and press room.

What makes the building exotic is the use of ICT to control ingress and egress into the various room and offices there. For instance, to enter some offices, a visitor's biometrics must precede him, otherwise, he may not be able to gain entrance. Also, the council chambers, where the governor meets his cabinet, is another showpiece of ICT. As exco members take their seats, their video-conferencing facilities power on automatically; with the biometrics of each member.

Aniekan Umanah, Akwa Ibom's Information Commissioner explained that if a commissioner, for any reason, drops out of the exco, system in fron of his seat would have to be re-programmed before his replacement can use it.

Earlier on Friday, speaking with newsmen in Uyo, Governor Akpabio said that the old office"was an old structure, even before my administration. So there was need for a massive renovation and expansion of the structure of the state, which is a call point for visitors and investors. Therefore, the governor's office is ICT compliant, reflecting the personality of an Akwa Ibom child, which is a massive infrastructural turn_around in the last six years."

Commissioning the ofice, President Jonathan said that the exco chambers in the Presidential Villa is analogue.

"I have to commend you for the work on the chambers; it is quite good. Even at the centre we are trying to change our own, it is manual and it's now that we are trying to change it to what you have done in Akwa Ibom State. I am indeed happy to be associated with this beautiful project and hereby commissioned this office complex for the use of Governor Akpabio and subsequent Governors who will be privileged by the grace of God and Akwa Ibom people to govern this great state."

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