Construction works have begun for the building of the first students’ hostel at the College of Education in Warri, Delta State, after forty years of existence.
The project is being executed by an indigenous firm, Ingowet Services Limited under a Public/Private Partnership, PPP.
The hostel which is a one suspended floor story building reinforced concrete framed structure, when completed will comprise of 120 rooms and 480-bed spaces with common room, porter lounge, shops and conveniences attached.
Ingowet is the private partner in the collaborative infrastructure delivery process while College of Education Warri, under the Delta State Ministry of Higher Education, is the public partner.
Two members of the Delta State House of Assembly, Honorables Ferguson Onwo and Augustine Uroye, the Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare, the Orosuen of Okere-Urhobo Warri Kingdom, Okumagba II and other selected dignitaries performed the official foundation laying ceremony for the hostel project which held at the College premises in Warri.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hon. Ferguson Onwo who is the Chairman, House Committee on Housing and Women Affairs Development, expressed deep appreciation to the management and governing council of the College of Education Warri for the initiative, noting that globally the funding of education is not something that is left in the hands of government alone.
The Lawmaker who represents Isoko South 2 Constituency, emphasized the need for any educational institution in the state that see an investor who wants to invest in it to try as much as possible to encourage such investor.
“This is a novel idea. It is the first time this is happening in the academic community in Delta State hence the need for management and the governing council to ensure that the project is brought to fruition so that the students and management can benefit directly from it,” Ferguson noted.
The Member Representing Warri South 1 Constituency, Hon Austin Uroye also expressed joy over the partnership for the hostel project which he noted requires courage and trust considering the difficult time economically.
“The profitability aspect of the project is secondary but the succor the project will provide to the students and the College community is the paramount thing. So I must commend Ingowet Services Limited and the management of College of Education Warri for the Partnership”, Uroye stated.
Corroborating the views of the Lawmakers, the Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare, restated the commitment of the Okowa’s led administration to attracting development in all sectors of the state economy including Education.
Prof Muoboghare promised the collaboration of the ministry particularly in the areas of technical support and monitoring at ensuring the early completion of the hostel project.
Earlier, the Chairman, Governing Council, College of Education Warri, Mr Thomas Olisaemeke Abanum, said the hostel project is among the three development pillars outlined by the council when they came on board a year ago.
Abanum stated “This is not a state government project but rather an arrangement based on Build, Operate and Transfer between the College and an Investment Development Partner.
“I wish to appreciate the state government led by our amiable Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for providing the enabling environment for the school management and governing council to think and work outside the box”.
“I want to also thank our development partner, Ingowet Services Limited for keeping to the terms of the MOU and mobilizing to site as promised and agreed upon” Abanum said.
The Provost of the College, Professor Mary Edema in her remarks said, “INGOWET is today laying the foundation for the first hostel in the over 40 years of the College existence.
“The investor is to source for the funds to build the hostel which we hope will be completed in 12 – 18 months, and the College is to help run the hostel with them to recover their investment over the next 25 – 30 years and then it will revert to the College. Unless there is a stable environment for this to work, it will have a far-reaching effect on further investments in the College”.
Continuing “Warri is an expensive city both in terms of accommodation and cost of living and this has adversely affected the ability of the College to attract students from other areas of the country for its NCE and Degree programmes. To help solve this problem, the College, two years ago rented a building in Edjeba where it was able to provide accommodation for about 100 students, which was a small start but one that helped us to assure parents and guardians that their children/wards will have no accommodation problem if they come to Warri. With this 100-room hostel, we have taken a giant leap forward,” Prof Edema stated.
The Provost disclosed that as part of ensuring a hitch-free execution of the project, she had appealed to Royal Fathers of the host kingdoms to prevail on their subjects to make interference in the building project minimal so as not to unduly raise the cost and forced it to an abandoned project.
In his address, the Project Manager for Ingowet Services Limited, Clement Aduze noted that “Public/Private Partnership PPP, is a global concept in infrastructure delivery because government alone cannot provide the required infrastructure for the citizens.
He said “The design and layout of the hostel building make it stand out as a masterpiece, well-conceived and depicted and when constructed, will meet the need of the students in terms of aesthetics, function and fitness for purpose and value for money.
“It is intended that this building will be constructed with a very high standard of workmanship and specification in order to reduce to a considerable degree, the total running and maintenance cost of the building over its projected life span.
“Ingowet Services Limited places this project as one of our priority project hence the construction of this modern hostel building is on a fast track to enable both parties put the project to use as soon as possible in order to achieve the aim and objectives of this collaborative infrastructure delivery,” Aduze explained.
The high point of the ceremony was the foundation laying of the hostel project by the top government functionaries.