Zik’s Mausoleum Set For Commissioning 22 Years After

  • Zik’s Mausoleum Set For Commissioning 22 Years After
  • The Muhammadu Bu­hari-led administration has recorded another giant landmark following the com­pletion of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum. The project initi­ated by the federal government twenty-two years ago, was awarded by the late Sani Abacha regime shortly after the death of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Owelle of Onitsha and the first president of Nigeria.

    The project, as it were, was targeted at honouring the first Premier of Eastern Nigeria and founder of the University of Nige­ria, Nsukka (UNN), in recogni­tion of his immense contributions to national development and the country’s independence.

    Located at the heart of Onitsha, commercial city of Anambra state, the mausoleum, regrettably, had suffered series of neglect and abandonment by previous administrations. It also underwent various reviews of the contract sum until it was taken over by the Buhari‘s administra­tion to see to its completion.

    Minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, had during his visit to the state in May, told the contractor to en­sure the completion of the project before the end of October.
    Fashola had expressed dissat­isfaction over the slow pace of work and threatened to revoke the contract, if the contractor failed to deliver on schedule.

    The chairman, Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnae­meka Achebe, had, during the minister’s visit, described as an embarrassment, the delay in the completion of the project after decades. He called for the speedy completion of the mausoleum.
    The project, however, finally came to completion, 22 years after its initial commencement and is ready for commissioning soonest.

    Bouygues Construction Nige­ria Limited (BNL) the firm han­dling the project, assured that work has been completed on the project and ready for handover.

    Speaking to Orient Daily, the project manager of the firm, John Ameh, said the project was actually completed towards the end of September. “We met the minister’s deadline of October ending, but because the client has not taken over, we cannot just lock up the place and leave for security reasons. We wrote on October 11, notifying them to come and take over the proj­ect.
    They are likely to visit this week,” he said.

    Ameh described the mauso­leum as a “land mark project’’ for the people of South-East and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, “it is a project that has spanned so many administra­tions before it was awarded to BNL in 2014 while work started in 2015.

    “This administration was courageous enough to take it to completion and should be com­mended.”
    Also speaking, the site engi­neer Mr. Paul Odigie, said the mausoleum is made up of the main building, administrative block and a residential house.

    “We took over this project in 2013 as the last contractor. We were neither the first or the second. I believe the work started twenty years ago.
    “Actually, we’re through with the project. We’re just waiting for the commissioning which will take place any moment from now,” he said.

    The building is uniquely posi­tioned to serve as a tourist site as the structure has a central tower. There is jubilation and excitement among residents and visitors alike to the commercial city of the state as the mausole­um is now wearing a new look with assorted paintings and art works waiting its formal commis­sioning.

    Residents, particularly indi­genes of the town have continued to express appreciation to the federal government for complet­ing the mausoleum.

    They commended President Muhammadu Buhari for hon­ouring late Azikiwe who champi­oned Nigeria‘s independence and ensured the unity of the country throughout his hay days before his demise in 1996.
    A prominent indigene of Onit­sha, Chinyelugo Osita Anionwu captures the aesthetic outlook and general environment of the project. He said, “The man Zik was a legend. That’s why he wanted a monument that will outlive him. We are happy we have a place where the remains of the first premier of Nigeria rests. It is a hallowed place and mark of nobility.”

    Another resident, Mr. Sylves­ter Anyigbo expressed happiness with the completion of the mon­ument after several delays. “The idea of the place is to serve as a place where the younger gener­ation will learn about personali­ties who worked for this country.
    “I’m happy this job is finally completed but I’ll be happier if the government is making full use of it,” he said.

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