The International Event Centre, Akure, was on Monday officially opened to the public amid disappointment by guests, who waited for several hours in vain for Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Mr. Osinbajo was billed to commission the event centre, also known as The Dome, as part of the valedictory activities of the outgoing administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
The commissioning was first scheduled for Friday, February 17, but was postponed after several hours of waiting because Mr. Osinbajo could not attend due to what officials termed “bad weather.”
Monday’s waiting by guests was worse, as people started arriving the venue as early as 11 a.m. for an event scheduled for 1 p.m. But there was no sign of the Acting President until 5 p.m. when Governor Mimiko decided on conducting the commissioning himself.
There were indications the governor was bent on having the projects commissioned by Mr. Osinbajo, hence the initial decision to wait for him.
A response by Mr. Osinbajo’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, to a text message sent by PREMIUM TIMES at about 3 p.m. suggested that the Akure event was listed on the vice president’s schedule, but the pilots considered the weather un-navigable.
“On his schedule, but pilot says weather conditions still not good up till now,” Mr. Akande said.
The spokesperson later confirmed his principal missed the event due to bad weather.
“Weather conditions again prevent Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo’s scheduled visit to Akure today. Sincere apologies to the government and people f Ondo State,” Mr. Akande wrote on his twitter handle.
Governor Mimiko, on learning Mr. Osinbajo would not be present, commenced the commissioning of the project.
He arrived at the venue of the event at about 5 p.m. to kick-start the ceremony.
The Dome is an edifice with the a capacity for 5000 sitting audience in the main hall and another 3000 capacity available at the foyer and three domes.
The project, conceived in 2010, was initially estimated to cost N1.5 billion.
Although opponents of the Mimiko administration had raised questions about the propriety and cost of the project, the government has yet to come out clear as to the actual amount spent in putting the facility in place.
After commissioning the centre, Mr. Mimiko said the edifice fulfils the dream of his administration in being the first choice event centre in the country.
He said the centre had hosted some key events recently, but with the commissioning, it will now be open to the public.