Asaba – The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday inaugurated the Professor Chike Edozien State Secretariat, Asaba, built by Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
The secretariat complex was named after the Asagba of Asaba and Nigeria’s oldest professor, Obi Prof. Chike Edozien.
According to the Vice President, the new state-of-the-art Central Secretariat Complex built by Governor Okowa, was one of the governor’s legacies of inspirational and visionary leadership in Delta State.
He said governments across the country must recognize the critical role of the civil service in boosting Internally-generated revenue and greater tax efficiency and as such, show commitment to their welfare.
“Optimal public service delivery requires an efficient civil service and it is my hope that the secretariat will help provide enabling environment for greater output by the Delta workers,” he said.
He commended Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for undertaking the project especially at a time there is severe economic crunch.
He said; “Your recognition of the critical role of the public sector is notable because optimal public service delivery requires an efficient public service which will require a work space that is well equipped, conducive and inspirational.
“Public servants require an environment that brings out the best in them and this secretariat complex will provide such environment.
“I congratulate you once again my dear brother, Governor Okowa, for the successful completion of this very important project which is yet another demonstration of what you have shown over the years that with visionary leadership, state governments can do incredible things and this notably will be one of your most worthwhile legacies.”
Osinbajo said that the Asagba of Asaba deserved the honour for having led the community in the last 30 years on the throne of his forefathers.
“This imposing complex clearly meets these requirements. In due course, such buildings become historical monuments.
“The civil service and the people of Delta are today being presented with a state-of-the-art, functional and befitting secretariat complex after so many years. This in itself is worthy of great celebration,’’ he said.
He also stated that the other thing was that Delta “is at the same time immortalising the name of one of Delta State’s and indeed, Nigeria’s great and illustrious sons, His Royal Majesty, Professor Chike Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba.
“Professor Edozien is unarguably Nigeria’s oldest living professor in any discipline and an internationally-renowned Professor of Medicine. But more importantly, he is an outstanding bridge-builder and patriot, as your Excellency confirmed.
“His traditional leadership has ensured that the growth and increasing diversity of Asaba has proceeded without tension and antagonism amongst the people who live in the city.
“Your Excellency, I believe that in naming this building after His Royal Majesty, you are not just celebrating a highly respected and deserving son of Delta, but also signaling the sort of excellence in public service that we wish to see incubated within this building.
“More importantly, you are also saying to a generation that is not even old enough to be employed in the civil service today that integrity, diligence and service to community and country still pay.”
In his address earlier, Governor Okowa commended the Vice President for coming to celebrate the landmark event with Deltans, and said the vice president had aptly demonstrated that he was a true statesman and uncommon leader by always responding whenever the state called on him.
“The Government and good people of Delta State appreciate you today and always; we value your friendship, partnership, and genuine interest in the progress of our state.
“I stand here today feeling very proud of this legacy project. Indeed, I am filled with a great sense of joy, satisfaction, fulfilment, and triumph. It was an arduous journey from the time construction commenced on November 27, 2017, to this momentous occasion.
“As you would expect, constructing an edifice like this would task the ingenuity, resources and patience of any government in the times we live in.
“It was quite demanding and exacting, and there were times we were tempted to throw up our hands in despair, and even questioned the wisdom for embarking on a project of this magnitude.
“The turbulence that has plagued the economy since 2017 was worsened with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing major financial disruptions during the construction process.
“However, we persevered and weathered the storm, fully persuaded of the huge benefits accruable to the state once the structure was completed,” he said.
Okowa added that with the completion of the complex, the state would save hundreds of millions of naira spent annually in renting offices while the coordination and synergy among MDAs would be enhanced, leading to higher morale, better time management, efficiency and greater productivity.
“This sprawling office complex occupies a total floor space of 45, 000 square metres and designed around five clusters with multiple floors, each cluster around a courtyard.
“This concept allows plenty of natural light and ventilation into the offices. All the 27 ministries and their commissioners and permanent secretaries will be housed here, with the entire secretariat interconnected through a system of voice and data networks.
“There are nine seminar/conference rooms, a training room, clinic, creche, banking hall and three restaurants in the building, while the car park has the capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 cars. Electricity supply to the secretariat as with other government buildings is powered by the 8.5 Megawatts Asaba Independent Power Plant.
“This building is named ‘Professor Chike Edozien Secretariat’. Perhaps unknown to many, Professor Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba, is a notable scholar in the field of medicine.
“It is in recognition of his accomplishments in the medical profession and his disposition to peace-building and peaceful coexistence among the different ethnic nationalities of the state that we decided to name this secretariat in his honour,” he said.
Welcoming guests earlier, Commissioner for Special Projects, Chief Henry Sakpra, said the project was conceptualised in 2016 by the Okowa-led administration to provide conducive working environment for the state’s public service.
He said actual work commenced in November, 2017 following completion of contract documentation by the state government and the contracting firm.