Ahead of the swearing-in of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29, the State House Management has begun renovating and refurbishing sections of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
It was observed that the concrete perimeter fence encompassing the President’s office, official residence, the Council Chamber, press gallery, as well as other administrative offices were being overlaid with new white and green paints.
One of our correspondents observed on Thursday the delivery of new furniture to the green room adjoining the Council Chamber.
Months earlier, the management had carried out a routine upgrade of card readers and installed barricades in areas, which were once freeways.
A senior State House official, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said the maintenance was part of the tasks carried out by the Presidential Transition Council chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
On February 14, 2023, the Federal Government inaugurated the 22-member Presidential Transition Council ahead of the handover to the incoming government.
The committee comprises Cabinet Affairs, General Service Affairs, Economic and Political Affairs, Office of the SGF and State House permanent secretaries, as well as the National Security Adviser, among others.
In April, the President-elect nominated 14 more persons to join the transition council.
The official said, “The changes and upgrades we are doing are part of broader maintenance works. Some are routine, while others, like the painting, are done when the Villa is to host a new occupant.
“These follow the directives of the transition committee, which the SGF is in charge of. The card readers have since been changed. Those are just routine maintenance done when the old ones have passed their active life.
“Repainting is required because, over the years, the State House wildlife accommodates monkeys that roam free and stain these white walls. The bats we have here also deposit their droppings on the walls.”
Asked for the total amount earmarked for the works, the official said, “We don’t go outside the budget allocated to the State House, but the transition committee is shouldering any special cost.”
Since 2016, N3.05bn has been earmarked for “maintenance services” at the State House. These include maintenance of office furniture, office buildings and residential quarters, among others.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who took to his Twitter page on Friday, posted a photo where a man was seen painting the external wall of the Villa with white and green paints.
He noted that the painting was being done in order to welcome the incoming President.
Shehu wrote under the picture, “Painter at work. Villa wearing a new look for the incoming President.”
In June 2015, Buhari finally moved into the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, almost three weeks after his inauguration.
He could not move into his official residence immediately after inauguration because renovation works were still going on at the Villa.
Before moving into Aso Rock, Buhari had shuttled between the Defence House in Maitama and his personal residence in the Asokoro district.