President’s office, residence, Council Chamber wear new coats of paint
Buhari’s successor to determine furniture as SGF panel handles renovation
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.
Saturday PUNCH observed on Friday 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.
In August 2017, Buhari, who resumed duties after a 103-day medical vacation abroad, operated from his official residence until the completion of the renovation of his office.
Shehu, had said the President’s office needed renovation because of its devastation by rodents during Buhari’s long period of absence, adding that rodents had caused a lot of damage to the furniture and air conditioning units.
His predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, had in May 2015 relocated to the Glass House in the sprawling Aso Presidential Villa to allow for its renovation prior to Buhari’s swearing in.
Shortly after the announcement of that year’s presidential election result, Jonathan and his wife, Patience, had moved their personal belongings out of the official residence to their Otuoke, Bayelsa State residence.
Just like his predecessors, Tinubu is expected to have input in the furniture that will be installed in his official residence and office as well as the paint colours, which will be done to his taste, but the minor repairs will be done on some parts of the house, while cleaning and repainting of the entire residence with white paint will be done.
In the 2023 Appropriation Act, a total of N148,168,464,339 was allocated for the Presidency. Out of this, N14,808,479,660 was allocated to the State House headquarters, a sum of N3,441,177,028 was budgeted for State House operation of the President, while N1,555, 447, 054 was allocated on the State House operations for the Vice-President.
A total of N10,108,606,550 was budgeted for projects in the State House headquarters from which a sum of N19, 382, 375 was allocated for the purchase of sporting equipment for the State House Sports Club, while N14, 773, 412 was budgeted for procurement of equipment for the central gymnasium renovation.