Delta State: VP Osinbajo inaugurates Prof. Edozien Secretariat
Cyril Okonkwo, Asaba
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Monday inaugurated the Prof. Chike Edozien Secretariat and the 8.5 megawatts Independent Power Plant in Asaba, Delta State.
The secretariat is named after the traditional ruler of Asaba and internationally recognized Professor of Medicine, Prof. Chike Edozien.
Sitting on 45,000 square meters of land in the heart of Asaba, the Chike Edozien Secretariat would house the 27 ministries in Delta State, their commissioners, permanent secretaries as well as all staff of the ministries.
The secretariat is designed around five clusters with multiple floors and has nine seminars and conference rooms.
Other facilities at the secretariat include a well-furnished clinic, a crèche, one banking hall, three restaurants and a parking lot for about 1,000 cars.
Vice President said that the inauguration of the Chike Edozien Secretariat was “Historic because the seat of the civil service of any of government anywhere in the world is usually one of the monuments enshrining, not just the power, but also the splendour and authority of government.”
According to the Vice President of Osinbajo, the event is special in two ways.
“First the civil service and the people of Delta State are today being presented with a state of the art, functional and befitting secretariat complex after many years. This in itself is worthy of celebration.
“The other is that the state is at the same time immortalizing the name of one of Delta State’s and indeed Nigeria’s most illustrious sons, His Royal Majesty, Prof. Chike Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba, Nigeria’s oldest living professor in any discipline and an internationally renowned professor of medicine, but more importantly an outstanding bridge builder and patriot.
“His majesty has played and continued to play an important role as a symbol of unity in the state and during his 30-year reign so far, the city of Asaba has changed dramatically becoming the capital of the newly-created Delta State in 1991 and has attracted people from far and wide that have come to seek their fortunes here.
“His traditional leadership has ensured that the growth and increasing diversity of Asaba have proceeded without tension and antagonism among all the people who live here.”
Osinbajo noted that naming the secretariat after the 97-year monarch was not just to celebrate the highly celebrated professor of medicine, but also to signal the sort of excellence in public that is hoped to be incubated in the building.
Vice President Osinbajo expressed hope that the secretariat would be a symbol of unity and distinction in keeping with the name of the eminent professor, after whom the building was named.
He said the building would speak to generations to come “That integrity, diligence and service to country and community still pay.”
Optimal Service Delivery
Vice President Osinbajo stated that optimal service delivery requires an efficient public service.
“Such public service requires training, capacity building but also work spaces that are well-equipped, conducive and inspirational.
“Public servants require environments that bring out the best in them and this secretariat complex will provide such an environment.”
Commending Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for completing the project, the vice president said that it showed that with visionary leadership, a state governor can do incredible things.
He noted that Governor Okowa was able to provide funding for the secretariat “despite dwindling revenue receipts and severe resource constraints across all levels of government in our country.
“Also your recognition of the critical role of the public sector is notable; whether we are talking of the need for more internally generated revenue and greater tax efficiency, the compensation for resource deficit or the management of a public health crisis such as the pandemic or even the drive or even the drive for more internally-generated revenue, it is the capacity of the public sector that is invariably at issue.”
In his remarks, Governor Okowa said that the Chike Edozien Secretariat would enable Delta State to save millions of naira that the government was spending on rents annually.
“Co-ordination and synergy among ministries, departments and agencies would be enhanced, leading to higher morale, better time management, efficiency and greater productivity,” Okowa stated.
Earlier on Monday, Prof. Osinbajo inaugurated the Asaba Independent Power Plant built to enhance power supply in the state.
He described the 8.5megawatts plant, with 25 kilometres of transmission lines as a major breakthrough for the power sector in Nigeria.
VP Osinbajo Visits Prof. Chike Edozien
Vice President was at the palace of the Asagba of Asaba to pay homage to the 97-year old traditional ruler of the Delta State capital, Prof. Chike Edozien.
At the palace of the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Osinbajo informed the monarch that he came to Asaba to inaugurate the projects and to bring him greetings from President Muhammed Buhari.
He said he was excited that the new secretariat was named after the monarch in recognition of the role he has played in the development of Nigeria.
“We think that very many of those who have built this nation without necessarily being in political office ought to be recognized.
“So, we were so excited, even the president himself, when we heard that the state of the art edifice built by the government of Delta State, ably led by my dear brother, Dr. Okowa, is going to be named after a Nigerian who has established himself outside this nation and within the nation, not only as renowned professor of medicine, an internationally renowned professor of medicine, but more as a bridge builder, a patriot.
“And we are all excited that at last recognition, immortalization of the name of such a person is being done by the Delta State government.
“For this, we are really, not only extremely grateful to God, but we also want to thank His Excellency for doing the right thing.
“I have seen the plan of the secretariat; it has been shown to me before now, but I haven’t had an opportunity of looking at it. But we are told that it is possibly one of the very best this nation has ever seen.”
Prof. Osinbajo commended the monarch for the efforts he has made in bridge building, bringing people together in Asaba, which became a capital city in 1991 when Delta State was created and attracted people from various parts of Nigeria.
He attributed the developments in Asaba to the open-mindedness of the Asagba of Asaba “to ensure that all people were treated fairly wherever they come from.”
He added that Delta State “has drawn from your wealth of experience, from your broad-mindedness, open-mindedness and we are able to see a state that is doing so well and especially this city of Asaba doing so well and being one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria today.”
In his response, the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Edozien noted that it was the second time that Vice President Osinbajo was visiting his palace and expressed his gratitude to him for the courtesy call.
He called for greater roles for traditional rulers in the government of Nigeria.
The Asagba of Asaba also appealed to the federal government to establish a university in Asaba.
He said that he made the “request for university due to the circumstances we are asking for compensation for what happened during the civil war.
“All these have been documented through the Oputa Panel and other media, including the book ‘Blood on the Niger by Emma Okocha. It is a special request.
“Gen. Gowon was here; we mentioned that and he asked for our forgiveness for that event; I responded that on behalf of the Asaba Community the federal government was forgiven.
“But considering the vast damage that was done to this community we needed a little compensation and the demand was for a federal university,” he stated.
Vice President Osinbajo was accompanied on the visit by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, his Bayelsa State counterpart, Duoye Diri, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu among other political office holders.