By Florence Ugbem
Construction and renovation work is to commence immediately at the Och’Idoma’s palace, following the final approval of the architectural design by His Royal Majesty, Agabaidu Dr Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, Och’Idoma IV and the Idoma Area Traditional Council (IATC).
Benue State Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu, who led the project engineer and other top government officials to the Och’Idoma palace, explained that efforts renovate the palace earlier, was unsuccessful as the royal father was indisposed, and away from the state, when they came to the palace to get his input.
He explained that the initial design, which was first done in 2018, had to be modified to reflect present architectural realities, stating that it has several facilities that fit the palace of the status of the paramount ruler of the Idoma nation.
The engineer handling the project, Engr Agaba Ikwue, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Intra Engineering and Turnkey Ltd, explained that the edifice consists of the main palace, an administrative building, a staff quarters, and a clinic, with facilities such as gym, library, and a museum included.
The Och’Idoma, Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, in his remark, commended the Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu and Governor Samuel Ortom for the project, which he said is heartwarming. He also praised Engr Abounu for his passion and interest in the execution of the project, and assured the contractor of his support and that of the Idoma Area Traditional Council as they commence work on it.
Present at the Och’Idoma’s palace at the event include the First Class Chiefs of Apa/Agatu Intermediate Traditional council, Chief Baba Odangla and Otukpo/Ohimini Intermediate Traditional council, Chief Emmanuel Okochi, the Oche k’ Apa, Chief John Antenyi, the Ada Ohimini, Chief John Ochai, and the Ada Okpokwu, Chief James Okefe among other traditional rulers.