The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday in Asaba, said that integrity, diligence and service to the community and the country remained the way to go. The Vice President spoke on Monday while inaugurating the multi-billion Naira Delta secretariat named after the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien, and the state’s 8.5 MW Independent Power Project (IPP).

He noted that the Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa-led government had demonstrated courage in building infrastructure which had ensured peace, unity and development despite financial challenges facing the entire country. He said that the civil servants, who constituted the engine room of government policy execution, deserved a better and befitting work environment to deliver effective service.

The Vice President, who described the Asagba as a renowned professor, said it was a well-deserving legacy for a professor of medicine who had made great contributions to the country. This inauguration is historic because the seat of the civil service anywhere in the world is usually one of the major monuments enshrining not just power but the splendour of the authority.

“This imposing complex clearly meets this requirement, in due course, such building becomes historical monument and the commissioning of this secretariat is special in at least two different ways. The civil service and the people of Delta are today being presented with the state of the art, functional and befitting secretariat complex after many years and this is worthy of celebration.

“The state government at the same time is immortalising the name of one other statesman and indeed Nigeria`s most illustrious son, HRM, Prof. Chike Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba. He happens to be Nigeria’s oldest living professor in any discipline and an internationally renowned professor of medicine,” he said.

Osinbajo described the Asagba of Asaba as a bridge builder and a patriot who had ensured that the people and residents of Asaba were secure and live in peace. He prayed that the edifice would be a symbol of unity and distinction which represented the personality that it was named after. Earlier, Okowa, who expressed joy at the coming of the Vice President, described him as a true statesman and an uncommon leader.

“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,” he said. He noted that the project was a dream come true, adding that it was not challenged by the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) but paucity of funds which almost made the government to give up on the project.

“The turbulence that has faced the economy since 2017, was worse with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic causing major financial disruption of the construction process but we persevered. He noted that the edifice, which occupied 45,000 square meters, would house all the state ministries thereby saving money that would have been spent on rents by the government.

“All the 27 ministries, the commissioners and permanent secretaries are housed in this secretariat with the entire secretariat interconnected through a system of voice and data network,” he said. The Commissioner for Special Projects, Mr Henry Sakpra, said the project was conceptualised in 2016 but construction commenced on Nov. 27, 2017, by North China Construction Group.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Governor of Bayelsa and the Deputy Governor of Edo were among the dignitaries that graced the event.

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