DELTA 2015 BIG DUEL:OBUH SPEAKS TO 'WORLD INDUSTRY LEADERS' ON HIS VISION FOR NEW DELTA

Anthony Chuks Obuh, needs little or no introduction in Delta business and political  world, as he is one of the many  gubernatorial aspirant Born to the family of Mr. George Obuh, from Ika south local government area of Delta, state. He served as a Permanent Secretary in Government House, Delta State from 2007-2014. He is a member of Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), Honorary Member of the Institute of Strategic Management and also a Member of the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM). 
He tells Business  people his story,as told to our chief writer, OSAGIE CERUTTI 


*MY LIFE
My life’s journey began on 27th January, 1957, when I was born to the family of Mr. George Obuh, who numbered among the pioneer educationists of Ika Nation in the ore-independenc era. Mr. George Obuh was also a devout Catholic and his career as a teacher took him to many towns in Ikaland, and beyond, with his immediate family always in tow. Being under the Catholic Missionary Service, Pa Obuh was also obliged, along with his teaching duties, to assume minor religious roles in the various towns and villages where he served. This early experience of moving through the various clans of Ika nation and being under the constant influence of missionaries had a lasting effect upon me. It helped to shape me towards the ideals of human fellowship and service which have flowered through the years.
I attended St. John’s II Primary School, Agbor from 1964 – 1969 from where I obtained the First School Leaving Certificate. Thereafter, I proceeded to St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku in 1969 and passed out in 1974 in Division 1 category. Almost immediately, I commenced the Higher School Certificate programme at Government College, Ughelli, but, encouraged by my West African School Certificate Result, I terminated this programme midstream and advanced to the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, from 1975 – 1979, earning a Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours), History/?Political Science. As part of my occupational development, I later attended the University of Ibadan for a Masters degree in Industrial and Labour Relations (1986/1987). Subsequently, and as my career progress necessitated, I also attended many other short-term Managerial and Executive Training Programs both in Nigeria and Overseas. To this day, I have enjoyed and continue to cherish the support of my wife Mrs. Esther Ogor Obuh, an Accountant in the Delta State Civil Service, with whom I have four children – two boys and two girls.

My Philosophy

I have always had a strong aspiration to be involved in Public Service. Right from when I attained the age of personal discretion, I have felt a strong and inseparable tie to my fellow humans irrespective of their place of origin, beliefs, sex or other characteristics?. This is why I have a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances across the State and beyond which I have always maintained with no motive of personal advantage.

MY LIFE IN Public Service

Despite this orientation, and my perspective of public service, politics was not a first career choice for me when I left the University in 1979. My ideal of Public Service did not initially imply political activism. The ideal nourished a persistent urge to be an active participant in the building of our common wealth as a people as opposed to a commitment to an activity or line of service for personal advantage.
During this early phase of my Post-University? years, there was recurrent Military interregnum in the governance of our Country which fuelled widespread doubt as to the possibility of the emergence of a sustained democratic culture. As an effect of this, political aspirations were largely non-existent.
My first employment was as a graduate teacher with the State Education Board, serving in Marymount College, Agbor. This was for a very brief period. Although the job

was satisfying as a Public Office, I later switched to the Bendel State Civil Service when I was offered the position of Administrative Officer. With an academic background in the humanities, I felt that the Administrative Service would offer considerable scope in governance activities by which to acquire experience in leadership. So, I joined the Administrative service in 1982 and served for 32 years. As expected, the exposure I got in the Administrative Service was considerable.
My natural disposition for service as an ideal flowered during my service years. My superiors who observed my consistent commitment to the general good vested me with higher responsibilitie?s and trust such that I began holding very sensitive positions quite early in my career.
In 1993, while yet a Principal Administrative Officer, I was made to function as Director of Personnel in the Governor’s Office. In this capacity, I was involved in co-coordinating? the careers of the Senior Management Group of the entire Public Service including processing the appointment of the junior staff of the Governor’s Office which subsumed a large number of departments at the time. These duties afforded me a profound understanding of the machinery of Government, its strengths and weaknesses. Rising through the grades, I held many other Directorial positions in various Ministries and Parastatals which included:
Director, Loans and Investments, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning;
Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning;
Acting Chairman, Bendel Insurance Company Limited;
Acting Chairman, UIDC;
Alternate Director, PAMOL Nig. Limited;
Director, Public Service Matters, Office of the Head of Service;
General Manager, Delta Transport Service Limited.
Member, Think-Tank for Policy on Climate Change and Green Economy
Commendations
I like to note here as a mark of gratitude that many individuals and corporate bodies appreciated my stewardship as a Public Servant for its unremitting orientation towards the common good. Usually, such an orientation is not without sacrifices but the commendations were re-assuring and encouraging. They served to indicate that my application was a just and reasonable effort that should be sustained even if one’s personal ease is thereby brought under severe strain. Among the commendations were:
Award for Humanitarian Service by Rotary Club Asaba Central District 9140
Fellow, Institute of Public Administration of Nigeria (IPAN)
Member, Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM)
Honorary Member, Institute of Strategic Management
Member, Institute of Personnel Management (IPM)
Vocational Service Award in Recognition of Laudable Contributions towards upliftment of mankind in the society by Rotary Club of Asaba, East District 9104
Delta State Peoples Network “Award for Merit and Excellence”
Leadership Ambassador Award by Nigeria Peace Magazine
Distinguished Delta Youth Merit Award by National Youth Council of Nigeria, Delta State chapter
Humanitarian Service Award by Rotary Club of Asaba, East District 9104
MERIT Award by Catholic Men Organisation-As?aba Region
Nigeria Media Nite-Out Recognition as Trustee:
Award of outstanding Permanent Secretary of the Year (Performance)
Vocational Service Award in Recognition of your contributions to the administrative growth and development of the entire State by the Rotary Club of Agbor
Award of Excellence by National Association of Delta Students (NADESSTU OAU, IFE, (Chapter)
Award of Excellence by Delta Entertainment
Millennium Excellence Award �?’Integrity-in-?Service” by Frontine News
Leadership Ambassador Award �?’Distinguished? for Administrative Excellence” by Nigeria Peace Magazine
Achiever’s Award by Delta State Coaches Association
Blazer Award of Excellence (for Contributions to Educational Course and Leadership Role in the Civil Service) by Divine Children School, Ibusa
Exposure to the Political Class
However, the defining phase of my career, which is well connected with my current political thrust, began with my stewardship as Director, Office of the SSG under Engr. J.B. Erhuero, JP, mni who was Secretary to the Government of His Excellency, Governor James Ibori. In this position, I was the Head of the Secretariat of that office, there being no Permanent Secretary in the Office of the SSG at the time. I was thus exposed to the Political Leadership and Political Structures in place for the governance of the State.
Though a civil servant, in serving the needs of the Political Class and coping with the exigencies occasioned by the workings of the existing political arrangements, I had the unique privilege to contribute directly to the Political and Economic development of the State. Engr. Erhuero JP, mni had graciously vested me with so much trust and authority which enabled me to achieve so much result and to the pleasure and satisfaction of the generality of Deltans. Without being immodest, I daresay that I kept his trust with accountability and gratitude. The work was very tasking as we could be in the Office for as late as 11.00pm and yet obliged to report early to the Office the following day.
I was looking forward to a break from this consuming schedule when Engr. Erhuero retired. But to my surprise he had, unknown to me, recommended me to His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, CON, who succeeded him as Secretary to the State Government. It was with Governor Uduaghan as SSG that I attained the rank of Permanent Secretary. Serving at this higher level meant more expectations from my boss, the entire Public Service, and the State at large. I was deployed to the Directorate of Government House and Protocol when Governor Uduaghan commenced his stewardship as Governor of Delta State.
Unlike Engr. Erhuero who was a core Civil Servant for the greater part of his Public Service Career, Governor Uduaghan came to the position of SSG with a long history of Political activism behind him. Therefore, as would be expected, his orientation as SSG was slightly different. Both men are highly focused as strong achievers but there was this eagerness on the part of Governor Uduaghan that always kept his staff on edge for results. The pace and intensity of work, which had challenged me and my team under Engr. Erhuero, were greatly heightened under Governor Uduaghan.

MY PLANS FOR Partnership for Development
The party hierarchy took note of the profundity of my empathy with the Agenda of the Administration and I was gradually admitted to greater levels of trust and responsibility.? I was drawn into strategy building discussion sessions which brainstormed for the least-cost approaches by which to prosecute the Administration’?s programs. In my contributions to these discussions, I availed the groups of my deep understanding of the workings of the State bureaucracy and the developmental challenges which, my long Civil Service career had made possible. It is not necessary that I mention all the details of these involvements but, as an instance, I remain to this day, an associate of the think-thank for the Policy on Climate Change and Green economy for the State.
The Present Administration and our Collective Tomorrow
There is no doubt that the State, through the Administration,? has achieved a great deal in the last seven years as reflected by the rich harvest of projects in all sectors. I feel a personal sense of joy about this both as a Deltan and as a key member of the Administration.? But many of the policies and Programmes are still unfolding and having served in the team which articulated these Policies and Programmes, I consider myself uniquely placed to sustain and extend them for greatest possible impact.

My Aspirations and Plan   for Delta


I look forward to a Delta State that continues on the progressive march of the present Administration.? I offer myself to serve the State with a promise to run an inclusive and responsive Government, building upon the very strong foundation already laid. These traits of responsiveness and inclusiveness have been characteristic of me and were especially notable during my stewardship as a Senior Civil Servant of many years. Without sounding immodest, I daresay that responsive policy formulation and management to meet exigencies and long-term well-being of our dear State has been my forte in the past 32 years. I promise to run an Administration that will bring about the sustenance, extension, development and diversification? of the many policies and programmes for economic transformation which have been firmly planted in many Sectors. My deep inside knowledge of these policies is an advantage that I want all Deltans to particularly note. I, therefore, offer myself as a friend, brother and confidant that can be trusted with the common good of all Deltans as one United Family.

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