Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has presented a list of 21 (twenty one) nominees as Commissioners for his new cabinet. The list is made up of 9 returnees out of his 33 former Commissioners, 11 new faces and four women (which represents approximately 19% in the 21 member list).
Governor Uduaghan submitted the list on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, to the State House of Assembly which was summarily reconvened via a letter signed by the Clerk of the Delta state House of Assembly, Mr. Raymond Yavbieri, stating that the rescheduled sitting was to attend to urgent state matters, which in this case was for the purpose of receiving the Commissioner nominees list, thus over-riding the earlier suggested date of July 12, 2011 which had been touted as their resumption date.
The Governor in a cover memo to the Assembly said ‘I will greatly appreciate if early action is taken to place the list before the honourable House for consideration and confirmation to enable me constitute the State Executive Council (exco).
The screening of the Commissioner nominees by the House is expected to commence from Thursday, June 30, 2011. They have been requested to submit 35 copies of their Curriculum Vitae to the office of the Clerk not later than Wednesday, June 29, 2011.
The governor also asked for the House approval to appoint 12 advisers through a motion moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Monday Igbuya and seconded by Patrick Mozea and unanimously adopted by the House.
To say that the names of most of the nominees, especially the new ones, may have taken many Delta watchers by surprise is an understatement.
But the list has once again confirmed what many have long accepted as a very clear indication that the Delta State Governor is keeping his cards, especially in this his second and last tenure as Governor, quite close to his chest.
Recall that Governor Uduaghan had stated categorically at a media chat just before his second term inauguration that he had no laid down principle of selecting those who will form his new cabinet, but was relying on God for direction, adding that a few of those who performed well in the past will definitely come back.
It appears now that both the divine guidance he was seeking and the performance criteria which he had relied on to make his selection have finally jelled and the result is the 21 member list of nominees, which many Delta watchers feel may be a preliminary list as more Commissioners are likely to be appointed before the end of the tenure.
One other point which many Delta watchers also noted before the appointments was that Governor Uduaghan is not afraid to bring in new people into his cabinet and he has confirmed this with more than half of the nominees on the list
THE OLD COMMISSIONERS WHO RETURNED
Dr. Joseph Otumara (Ministry of Health): One of the distinguished senior citizens in the cabinet, he has served judiciously and with considerable merit. Many had expected that he would have been on the Ministerial nominees list, but the fact that he is the governor’s kinsman and most importantly that he is a stabilizing influence with his huge administrative experience and elderly statesman status all indicated that his importance at home could not be forfeited, especially at this time when Governor Uduaghan needs all the good and loyal men he can get.
Chief Paulinus Akpeki. (Orientation and Communication): Ugo, as he is popularly called, is calm, articulate and fearless in his actions and opinions and these have been driven and complemented with a certainty that often unnerves and disorients his opponents. He is surefooted and has displayed a definitive mastery of control and understanding of issues. He is also a perfectionist in the true sense of the word and his strategic focus and direction as the Director General of the Delta PDP Campaign Committee contributed hugely to the successes which both President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Uduaghan achieved in the April 2011elections. He also has a genuinely honest relationship with both his peers, colleagues, associates and even juniors and his camaraderie is as infectious as it is disarming.
Dr. Antonia Ashiedu (Micro Credit): She was arguably the most outstanding public officer and Commissioner in the last Uduaghan administration and can be said to have contributed more than any other Commissioner in that dispensation to the recognition, goodwill and credibility which the Uduaghan administration enjoyed at the state, national and international level in its first term. Her management of the Micro-Credit office was been exemplary and she also achieved tremendous political acceptance across the state. Many had expected that she would be elevated to the Ministerial level as a result of the recognition she brought to Delta state, but it is also possible that the efficient way she managed the Micro-credit office, coupled with the fact that she was only recently elevated to Commissioner may have created the need to keep such a loyal and trusted ally close by at home. This is also in keeping with the 35% appointment for women in the state exco.
Prof. Hope Eghagha. (Ministry of Higher Education): He came into public service (Government) with a sterling track record as an intellectual/Lecturer and a very respected social commentator and proved himself in the Ministry of Higher Education by ensuring that merit and due process were the yardsticks of all his major assignments, including the Scholarship programme. He even crowned his academic excellence by attaining the revered position of Professor, while in service and the fact that he has successfully midwifed the take-off of the Nigerian Open University campuses in Delta is a huge bonus to his administrative credentials. He also cut a niche for himself as an academic and intellectual who knows his onions and not a political academician in office.
Barr. Richard Mofe-Damijo. (Ministry of Culture and Tourism): Regarded as one of the best appointments of the Uduaghan administration in his first term, RMD, who started as Special Adviser and metamorphosed into a full fledged Commissioner, achieved tremendous success and relevance with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. His dynamic and pragmatic vision attracted national and international recognition for the Ministry and Delta state as headlined by the unprecedented tour of the Delta State Council for Arts and Culture to Japan for the Independence Anniversary celebration, the highly successful Delta Talent Quest and Reality programmes and the international partnership to build the Delta Leisure Resorts amongst others. He also affected every segment of the Culture and Literary environment by regular synergies as highlighted with his annual Culture Week celebration and had by his sheer presence and encouragement, packaged Delta state and Asaba as the new location haven and most favoured destination for Nollywood film productions, which has seen the influx of top home movie stars into the state on a regular basis. He has also contributed largely to the new found respect and national recognition which most Delta artistes/musicians have attracted, especially during the political campaign season and he has become quite iconic and symbolic as a member of the constituency which President Goodluck Jonathan has employed to drive his transformation agenda to the Youths.
Dr. (Ide) Tony Nwaka. (Ministry of Education -Basic and Secondary): A dedicated and loyal public officer, Ide Tony Nwaka has enjoyed a rising political profile from Local Government Chairman to Special Adviser and then Commissioner in the Agriculture and Education ministries. He is generally regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the new generation of emerging Anioma political leaders and he has further enhanced his profile tremendously by acquiring a PhD (Doctorate Degree) to beef up his credentials. He is the perfect blend of youth, academic excellence and administrative acumen, which every progressive administration requires.
Chief Frank Omare. (Ministry of Housing): Regarded as one of the main foot soldiers of the Uduaghan administration, Frank Omare’s profile has been rising with the day and his importance to the administration continues to soar with the recognition of handing him greater responsibilities, the latest of which was the central role he played in the Committee that hosted President Jonathan’s campaign rally in Asaba, Delta state. He was quite instrumental in rallying the Ijaws of Warri for both the re-run election and general elections and his elevation at that time as Commissioner, Ministry of Housing was a clear indication of his favoured status in the administration.
Barr. Orezi Jane Esievo: (Special Duties, DESOPADEC): A consummate player in the corridors of power and said to be in the good books of some very senior big wigs in the PDP, she is equally brilliant to boot and has a clear vision of her mission in politics. She has been around and is now on the nominees list yet again.
Benard Okumagba. (Ministry of Economic Planning): Young, brilliant and principled gentleman, Okumagba was largely seen as the X factor candidate, brought in to help re-jig the finance and economic planning portfolio of the state govgernment. He is a thoroughbred technocrat who has acquitted himself well, within the limits of his operational leverage both in Finance and Economic planning and was arguably one of the very few commissioners in Uduaghan’s first term without any scandals in his excellent record.
THE NEW FACES
Funkekeme Solomon: At last Hon. Solomon Funkekeme has made it to the Commissioners list, but it was only to be expected. A lot had been said of the former House of Assemblyman, who practically gave his all to ensure that Governor Uduaghan returned for a second term. He has been an Uduaghan man right from his days in the DTHA and many Delta watchers have claimed that his decision not to contest for any elective position in 2011, was informed by the fact that he wanted to devote his complete time and energies to the re-election of Governor Uduaghan without any distractions. He had taken his disappointments after the first appointments in the new Uduaghan administration like a man and a true loyalist and had been by the Governor’s side in some of his public appearances. He of all people understands the governor better than most, so he is likely to accept whatever he gets, whether he likes it or not.
Barr. Chike Ogeah. He is a quite articulate and a very smooth and convincing operator who headed the Publicity Department of the Uduaghan/PDP Campaign Council, but who has never arguably held any high profile political position before.
Prof. Patrick Muoboghare: He was the Dean, Students Affairs, Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka and a former chairman of ASUU, of the university, before his nomination as Commissioner.
Charles Ajuyah (SAN): He is a Senior Partner with the Thompson Okpoko Law Firm and heads the Maritine Team based in Warri office of the firm. He holds a bachelor of law degree from University of Benin, Edo State in 1987, enrolled as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1988 and also holds a Bachelor of Science in business Administration from Univeristy of Lagos in 1983. He became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in Novermber 2008. He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and Notary Public.
Ben Igbakpa: He was the Deputy Majority leader, Delta State House of Assembly, representing Ethiope West constituency in the last 4th Assembly. He did not return to the House after the April 2011 elections but is now back in government with his nomination as a Commissioner.
Mrs. Betty Efekhoda: She was Special Adviser to Governor Uduaghan on Women Development in the last dispensation, before her nomination as Commissioner.
Gloria Okolugbo: She is the CEO of Restore Initiative, a Non Governmental Organization and had been an aspirant for the April 2011 House of Reps elections in the AMAC/Bwari Federal Constituency in FCT, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). She was one of the very visible civil society figures who advocated for peace in the aftermath of the Delta state Governorship elections.
Kingsley Emu: A major player in the Hospitality Industry in Delta state, he has also been a Banker of very high repute and was, before his nomination as Commissioner, the Director General of the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa Campaign for Senate in the April 2011 elections.
Misan Kubeyinje: A former lawmaker representing Warri North constituency in the state House of Assembly from 2003-2007.
Patrick Ferife: A Pharmacist and alumnus of the University of Benin, he was the Special Project Director (Asaba–Ughelli Road Dualisation Project, Isoko Kwale Section), before his nomination as Commissioner.
Neworld Safugha: He was the state Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Delta state before his nomination as Commissioner.
Ebifa Ijeoma: One of the very new faces that has been nominated as Commissioner
THE FULL LIST
Chief Paulinus Akpeki,
Dr. Joseph Otumara,
Dr. Anthonia Ashiedu,
Prof. Hope Eghagha,
Mrs. Orezi Esievo
Richard Mofe Damijo
Prof. Patrick Muoboghare
Charles Ajuyah (SAN)
Mrs. Betty Efekhoda