By Grace Akpan
It is a cynosure of all eyes, the tallest architectural masterpiece in the South/South region of Nigeria, the most ICT compliant intelligence structure, the 21 storey smart office complex, located in the central business district of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, set to host any known corporate organization or world-class company in the Nigeria Oil and Gas industry.
With the Tower as high as 108.8 meters, the 21 storey Five Star business accommodation occupies a construction area of 18, 639.50 meters square on a massive site area of 48,200.00 meters square, making room for a 500 capacity car park.
The visionary Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, burning with the desire to attract huge volumes of Foreign Direct Investments, FDI, to Akwa Ibom and catapult the state into an investment hub of Nigeria, undertook the 21 storey building, flagship of his government, as a major catalyst in his envisioned economic renaissance.
For years, Akwa Ibom suffered from a dearth of international standard office accommodations for world-class corporate organizations as well as International Oil Companies, IOCs, some of which operate in the state but with operational base and headquarters in other cities, a situation which deprived the state of huge internally generated revenues, IGR.
As a leader committed to the overall development of the state in all sectors, Governor Emmanuel saw the turn-key high rise office building as a bait for the oil companies which hitherto laid claims to lack of suitable business accommodations as the major hindrance to the relocation of their headquarters and operational base to Akwa Ibom State.
This much may have accounted to the near lack of presence of any substantial Federal establishment in the oil and gas sector in Akwa Ibom State since creation over 33 years ago. As the hen that lays the golden egg, Akwa Ibom, the largest oil-producing state in Nigeria contributing a large chunk of revenue to the Federation account from its crude oil, could not boast of a single oil depot, an office of the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR or the head office of any of the oil companies exploiting the State’s rich oil reserves.
Coming with all the attractions and safety mechanism expected of a smart building anywhere in the world, the 21 storey building is a dream comes true in the sustainable infrastructural drive of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration. The project which kicked off on 17th January, 2018 with a two-year work term is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, precisely on 17th December, 2020.
The Megaproject handled by a Turkish construction company, VKS, is a magical architectural design on land, the first of its kind in Nigeria which ongoing work is providing direct and indirect job opportunities to the people of Akwa Ibom State and which on completion will not only generate employment – skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled, to the teeming youths of the state but will contribute to the area development as well as house oil and gas companies and serve as a ready haven for investors.
The Tower which has added aesthetics to the landscape of Akwa Ibom will run with 24 hours power supply and contains all necessary facilities and equipment of a smart building including 4 elevators, 2 emergency exit, fire protection sensors and aviation wing. The ground floor is designed to accommodate banks and canteens while the mechanical floor controls sewage and takes care of waste disposal.
From the second to the twentieth-floor seamless office accommodations are provided to end-users while the twenty-one floor is a terrace where guests, tourists and investors can stand to have a glimpse of the beautiful landscape of the capital city.
It is worthy of mention that, the smart building has access control with such components like the card reader, biometric control keypads, central stand-alone server workstation, electric lock hardware cabling for doors, boom barrier for cars, automated cards, automated turnstiles, fire-protected doors and time attendance readers.
For the fire system, the tower boasts of: fire electric pumps, diesel pump backup, Fire extinguisher hose real, technical rooms E30 cabling for S90 fire, protection sprinkler system, intelligent smoke detectors and fire alarm panel connected to the CCTV room. The state-of-the-art communication gadgets of the intelligence building are in place with all accessories of a public address system including the speaker, combine audio+media via SMS for evacuation, control station, UPS and amplifiers.
Other unique features of the superimposing edifice are the Led lighting, Touch screen control KNX occupancy and motion sensors, Digitally addressed lighting interface(DALI), network switch for the outdoor lighting motion sensor, Solar fitted nano type facade panel to power facade light at night as well as Perimeter fence light.
Quite expected of a Five Star business environment, the 21 storey smart building makes room for video conferencing, thus putting in place necessary cameras and efficiently managed workstation. With a chiller system of chilled water sensor, infrared toilet system, automated facade sprinklers and cleaner and automated Rain gage.
With Humidity and temperature sensors in all the floors, the smart office complex stamps out itself as truly an intelligence building with no comparison in the south/south region of Nigeria.
Already, Governor Udom Emmanuel has put up Akwa Ibom as first among equal in all sectors such as Agriculture, Aviation, Healthcare, Education, Human capital development, Power, entrepreneurial development and even in the current fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
It is notable that with the very friendly government policies, so many investors have been attracted to Akwa Ibom while some others such as ExxonMobil and Black Rhino have gone ahead to register their intent to share in the opulence of the 21 storey commercial business accommodation.
And so, with a peaceful environment, coupled with warm and friendly people, rich cultural heritage, internationally-acclaimed cuisines, abundant natural endowments and resources, megaprojects, including the 21 storey smart building, it can only be concluded that, Akwa Ibom is ready and set to host world businesses.
Grace Akpan writes from the Ministry of Information, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State