When Rivers State won the rights to host the 17th edition of the National Sports Festival, NSF in 2009, it nursed the dream to stage the biennial fiesta in a one stadium complex, where all the events would hold within the same environment.
According to authorities then, it would serve to give the fiesta the compactness of the Olympics, enhance the integration of the Nigerian youths and take the spirit of the game and athletes to a very good level.
Also, the dream of a one venue sports festival with ultra modem world class facilities tallied with the vision of Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, for a new Port Harcourt City replete with first class infrastructure.
Furthermore, the need for a befitting sports facility that will provide the opportunity for sporting activities and recreation for the new Port Harcourt City, known as the Greater Port Harcourt City combined to influence the choice of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium complex between the Igwurita, Aluu, Omagwa axis of the Greater Port Harcourt City.
A virgin land in Igwuruta was the choice for the Garden City Sports Complex. The facility is positioned on a 42-hectre piece of land within Rivers State’s new mega city, Greater Port Harcourt.
The sports arena comprises a 25 thousand seating capacity Stadium which is going to be the second largest fully covered main bowl in Nigeria when completed. Being constructed by Deux Nig Ltd, the stadium was proposed to be used for the opening ceremony but will not be used because project is still under construction.
The five thousand seating capacity natural grass football arena with eight synthetic track lanes, that will boost most of the field events such as the track and field sports was also built by Deux .
Deux handled the construction of the entire playing surfaces project such as the lawn tennis (2), volley ball (2), basket ball (2), hand ball (2), hockey (2), squash (4) indoor sports hall and a 50, 25, and 10 metre shooting range all built according to international regulations and standard has an average seating capacity of 800 on each court.
The arena has four Olympic size pools, two 50 by 25 metres swimming pools and two 15 by 25 metrres diving pools built according to international Olympic standard. The pools are built by Veltrop Nig Ltd and Vast Int.
Explaining the working of the pools, VAST International Nig. Manager, Mr Obiora Okoya, said there are three components of the pool; the Swimming Pool, the Balance Standard and the Technical Room.
The 10 lane swimming pool described as one of the best in Africa, contains the water were athletes can compete. The pool is surrounded by gutters with pipe connections underground into the Balance Standard.
A view of the underground Balance Stand is in the technical room, the Balance Stand, absorbs water from the pool to avoid overflow of pool water irrespective of the number of people in the pool at the same time. Through the underground pipes in the gutters surrounding the pool, pool water is transferred into the balance standard to maintain the stability of the pool water.
The Technical Room is the heart of the pool. Automatically aided by the pipes and tanks, the plant has the capability to automatically transfer water either from overflow or normal filtration process in Balance Tank to the Fibre Glass Filtration Tanks in the technical room.
Inside the filtration tanks, there are three compartments of filters. The smallest filter is at the top with a medium one and larger one at the bottom. Once water from balance tank gets into the filtration tank, the sand inside the tank holds back the dirt at each compartment before moving the water to another compartment of tanks and valves back to the pool clean and sparkling.
The process repeats itself over once electricity is supplied. The facility also has the capacity to ensure chemical treatment by automatically giving right dosage of chlorine, ph balance + and ph-.
The swimming pool site gallery seating about 1200 people also has compartments for team rooms, referee changing rooms and clinic.
The Garden City Sports Complex also boost of a mini standard clinic to provide immediate medical services for athletes and officials. Administration block, Stadium Manager Quarters, security maintenance quarters and four public toilets around the centre comprised of eight toilets.
The facility is built by COSPEC who only came on board in March 2011 because of the inability of previous contractor to deliver the project before the start of the festival.
The road construction around the centre is being handled by CICO Deux Nig Ltd handling major projects on the site is directed by Dr Walter Olatunde a Medical Doctor turned Engineer who brings in the softness of medical practice to the turf surface of engineering under the burning sun as most of the other contractors testified of Deux understanding and good relationship.
Deux have carried out major works in different part of the Nation before taking on the Garden City Sports Complex project.
Despite their experiences and proof of professional competence, the terrain proved challenging for Deux like all other contractors also complained of the terrain of consistent rain. According to Dr Walter, the consistent rain, flood and marshy ground slowed the project.
Deux has the highest number of employees including permanent and casual staff at a range of about three thousand persons. Expressing excitement to be a part of the Garden City Games 2011 and the light and opportunity the project has brought to the Igwuruta community and its surrounding.
VAST Intrn. Nig and VEL TROP Nig Ltd built the pools, each company on one swimming pool and diving pool on the same spec. VAST International Nig CENT ARC “Design Associate is the Consulting firm to Rivers State Government. The site Engineer is Engr. Isa Mohammed. The full work began in 2009 because of previous movement from two other sites allocated to the project.
The rainy terrain was emphasized as a major constraint to work progress. However, in about one year of work progress, the consultant affirmed the State Government, Ministry of Sports and the contractors, were up and doing to put in their best to deliver the project before the beginning of the National Sports Festival.
Engr. Isa said Rivers people especially people of Igwuruta and surrounding communities have acquired much skills through the project, stating that many workers who did not have a good knowledge of the their peculiar skills have not only improved on the job but have upgraded their skills to international standard working level because all the projects are of international standard while others have learnt project management and administration.
The Garden City Sports Complex completion empowered about five thousand permanent and casual workers.
Apparently, the choice of the name of the Complex was an effort to celebrate and recognize one of the illustrious sons of the state, Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka, MON, JP, a football administrator, an ex-international, who excelled in the national team, the Green Eagles in the 1970s and 80s.
By the name, it is expected that youths of the state and beyond, seeing Amiesikaka as a role model will be motivated to use the facility to develop and exploit their talent.
Having identified the site, it was handed over to the contractors, Deux Project, for the realization of the impressive facilities that are billed to host most of the 17th NSF events.
According to the Project Director of Deux Projects, Dr. Walter Olatunde, the site which was identified and chosen because it aligned with the master plan of the Greater Port Harcourt City was handed over to the company in April, 2010.
However, the site was not ready for work until June same year when Deux Project mobilised to site.
It has been a project that tasked the technical ability and ingenuity of the contractors as they tried to over come the challenges posed by the terrain.
“The terrain has been very very challenging”, said Dr Olatunde. “The condition of the soil was very difficult to deal with. It was a virgin land, fertile for planting and not solid or ideal for heavy construction work. Water and soil mixed to make the place muddy and difficult for us”, he explained of the major challenges they faced trying to deliver the stadium complex on time.
Also, the weather condition in the state, especially, the rains were a natural phenomenon that the contractors found difficult to deal with.
But special construction skills, suited to the weather and terrain of the area made it possible for them to make progress within the time.
“Though it has been very challenging; we have coped very well to make progress as you can see”. Said the Project Director.
“We employed special skills and machinery to cope with and over come the challenges, that is why you are seeing the impressive results barely one year after”.
“We are expecting that all the facilities will be ready this weekend before Rivers State hosts the nation. We have worked day and night to endure the completion of the projects.
“We have the capacity to ensure that the facilities for the games are ready. The facilities are world class and we want to showcase the site”.
“All the facilities are ready except the mainbowl which cannot be ready for the festival, the work to be done there is beyond the time line for the festival, said the Director.
Consequently, athletes are assured of the use of world class swimming pools, basketball courts, handball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, hockey pitch, tracks for athletics and terraces for spectators.
Indeed, the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium complex is a statement in infrastructure development which will certainly bring fresh developmental angles to the state.
Rivers’ll Ensure Safe, Secure Environment For Economic Growth -Wike .
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for the economic prosperity of citizens.
He said the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Operation Sting and the revitalised C4i security outfits were set up to help provide security to stimulate growth and prosperity of all in Rivers State.
The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, at the 2021 Conference/Annual General meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Rivers State chapter, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“This administration has embarked on aggressive infrastructural development and a very deliberate urban renewal efforts around the capital to attract local and foreign investors to stimulate our economy.
“We have also opened up local governments through quality road networks. Upgrade of various social and recreational facilities in various local government areas,” he said.
He commended the state chapter of the NIPR for the choice of the theme of the conference: “Nigeria’s Security Situation: A Factor in Reputation and National Development”, adding that stakeholders must begin to act in a very different, drastic and positive strategy to remedy the already battered reputation of Nigeria.
He urged the NIPR to use its expertise and experience to thrive to galvanise and stimulate the populace and government at various levels for the resuscitation of citizens sense of pride and responsibility of whatever was left of the nation’s image and reputation.
“All hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers to call on government at all levels to begin to act in ways and manner that will help to revive the battered image of this country,” he added.
Welcoming guests and participants to the conference, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who is also the state chairman of NIPR, commended the cordial relationship existing between the institute and the state government under the leadership of Governor Wike who is a honorary fellow of the institute.
“Governor Wike has been very supportive of all the activities of the Institute. That is what you also get from a visionary leader who has changed the landscape of Rivers State with infrastructure, with various developmental projects that touch the lives of the ordinary man,” he said.
Nsirim said the state chapter of NIPR was proud to associate with Governor Wike for the giant strides he has recorded and would continue to record until the end of his tenure in 2023.
“As a chapter that is responsive to the development of Nigeria, we have chosen the theme for this year’s conference as our own way of contributing to the national discourse,” he said.
He said the conference would produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse and urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation.
“It is expected that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security and national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” he said.
In his speech, the President and Chairman of Governing Council of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, emphasised on the need for all Nigerians to collaborate to fight insecurity currently confronting the country’s economic and political stability.
He welcomed the theme of the conference, saying that it was coming at the time the institute had gotten sufficient worry about national security, peace and economic development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Ike Neliaku, chronicled the increasing violent crimes that had claimed thousands of lives in the various parts of Nigeria, and submitted that the rising insecurity situation in the country had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation.
He said the worrisome development would have concomitant consequence on individual and national development.
Chairman of the conference, Chief Felix Otuwarikpo, said the conference was put together to dissect the current carnage affecting the Nigerian nation.
“As an institute, we will leverage on the conference to proffer solutions to the security challenges affecting the nation,” he said.
The conference also featured the presentation of awards for good public relations and community development to some distinguished members and organisations.
Church Of Nigeria Honours Wike, Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu, Others
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has bestowed awards for exemplary leadership qualities in a challenging economy and dedication in the service of God and humanity on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Ogun State Governor, Adedapo Abiodun.
Also honoured is the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Emmanuel Abayomi, with an award for quality and equitable healthcare delivery.
The awardees were honoured at the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, at the Diocese of Lagos, Archbishop Adebola and Oluranti Ademowo Resource Centre, Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who conferred the awards on the recipients, said the political leaders were considered for the award for their outstanding role, courageous leadership, and standing firm in defense of Nigerians against insecurity, provision of basic infrastructure to the citizenry and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the congregation on the state of the nation and the role of the church, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, admonished the leadership of the church to encourage its members to be part of the governance process in the country.
The governor noted that a situation whereby Christians leave governance for politicians alone is no longer obtainable.
According to Wike, the effect of bad leadership will also affect the church if they remain passive to the issue of governance.
“You must be part of choosing leadership. Don’t say you have no role, you have a role. When you don’t participate, bad leaders will emerge and when bad leadership emerges, you are part of it.
“You must encourage your people to be part of leadership. I didn’t go to any school to study leadership.
“So, nobody should say that as a Christian you cannot be a governor, no. The head of SUBEB in my state is a priest and you can see the leadership he has given to that agency today. You will feel proud about it. That used to be the most corrupt agency, but today it is headed by a priest and you can see the difference.”
Wike decried the inherent injustice that has characterised the Nigerian State, and urged the church to speak against socio-political issues adversely affecting the progress of the country.
“We say we are all one Nigeria. We went to World Bank to borrow money to do specific projects. One of the states that make up Nigeria I hear is Rivers State. And I also know in paying this money back to World Bank, money that comes from the resources of my state will be used in paying back this money. But my state was denied to have projects from that loan.”
The Rivers State governor said a situation where states depend on the Federal Government to survive can no longer be tenable, and insisted that states must be allowed to collect revenues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) to enable them improve the welfare of their people.
“You have gone to take loan and I am one of those states that will pay back those loan and you deny me to benefit from the projects that that money will be used for. I have no problem with that.
“Allow me the one (VAT) the Constitution says I am entitled to, let me collect that one and develop my state.”
He regretted that some governors in Nigeria have refused to think out of the box on how to boost economic activities in their states.
“There is flood in my state, it requires N200millon, I will go to Abuja to beg. Even as a governor, I will knee down before a DG of an agency of government. You will knee down for a director just because of N300million. That is the status of some of the governors of some states.”
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the church for its support, and announced the waiver of N2billion for land acquired by the Church of Nigeria in Lagos State.
The governor stated that Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through difficult times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and used the occasion to canvass for mass vaccination of the citizens.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, while speaking on the theme of the conference: “Abiding in Christ: God’s Panacea in an Unstable World”, lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a land flowing with tears and blood because of the impact of terror, banditry, herdsman attacks on communities and kidnapping.
He said a situation in which communities that are predominantly Christians are targeted one after another in some parts of Kaduna State and North-Central of Nigeria was unacceptable.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to brand the bandits and herders attackers as terrorists and let them be treated as such.”
The Primate urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity 2023 general election offer to exercise their right to choose new leaders.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the free fall in the value of the country’s currency because of the attendant impact on the store of value and confidence of investors.
Rivers Begins Process To Check Flooding
The Rivers State Government has said that it was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim, therefore, called on those living and doing business in the state to play their part in line with the programme that would be executed by government to address the problem of flooding.
He frowned at the situation where residents of Port Harcourt had turned the drainage systems into refuse bins, and warned that “that is not what it should be.
“The present administration under Governor Nyesom Wike is desirous to make Rivers State a destination of choice and that is why the government has embarked on massive infrastructural development in line with its urban renewal programme.
“So, what is expected of those living and doing business in Rivers State now, is to co-operate with government to ensure that the urban renewal programme and the plan by government to make this state a destination of choice is realised,” he said.
He noted that the state government could not do it alone as it required the support of corporate organisations, civil society groups, religious organisations and the media to enlighten their publics on the need to behave as responsible citizens.
He called on the media to embark on massive enlightenment programmes along the line of the roles of citizens in checking flooding in the state.
“We believe that if the citizens cooperate with government, as government is out to ensure that everyone living and doing business in the state does so in a healthy environment, we believe that in the next few days or weeks we will find a solution to this (flooding),” he said.
Nsirim also announced the names of entrants selected for the essay competition on the title, “Our State Our Responsibility” introduced under the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign of the ministry launched at the beginning of this month.
He said those shortlisted were expected to be at the conference room of the ministry by 11am on Monday, September 27, 2021, for a physical test to ascertain their original ownership.
Those shortlisted are: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck and Ziga Paago.
By: Beemene Taneh
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