Dr. Igodo Offers Panaceas For Nation Building, Relives Prof. Azaiki’s Services

Dr. Igodo Offers Panaceas For Nation Building, Relives Prof. Azaiki's Services

Dr. Igodo Offers Panaceas For Nation Building, Relives Prof. Azaiki’s Services


Etete Enideneze writes in this report, Dr. Igodo Offers Panaceas For Nation Building, Relives Prof. Azaiki’s Services


Retired Head of Service of the Bayelsa State Civil Service, Dr. (Mrs.) Josephine Igodo, mini, has stressed the need for self-development to enhance personal growth and wellbeing of society.

Dr. (Mrs.) Igodo advocated this in view of economic and development problems plaguing contemporary Nigerian society, as ocassioned by declining culture of hardwork and inadequate leadership will towards national harmony and nation building.

The former bureaucrat spoke in a lecture she delivered in honour of Prof. Steve Azaiki, OON, during a surprise-birthday celebration organised by mentees and associates of the honouree, evening of last Sunday, while he was unavoidably absent.

In the lecture titled, Prof. Steve Azaiki’s Impact on Nation Building, which took place in Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Conference Hall at Azaiki Public Library, Amarata-Epie in Yenagoa City, Dr. Igodo noted that Bayelsans and Nigerians were talented and hard working.

She said more efforts were however required, especially, on the part of the young ones, to realise personal and collective aspirations. In this regard, she pointed out that government and political leaders equally have a duty to provide enabling environment for resourceful citizens to thrive in their chosen endeavours.

The guest lecturer also called for prioritization of merrit and impact-based reward systems in order to encourage excellence in private and public sector management. She stated that doing so would motivate resourceful citizens to effectively contribute to national development.

Narrating the celebrant’s life story, Dr. Igodo, stated that Azaiki’s meteoric rise to national and global reckoning, was the outcome of excellent performance from early stages of his educational pursuuts, which earned him Federal Government’s oversea scholarship to Kiev Ukraine in the then USSR in 1980. She stated that the scholarship opportunity, coupled with dedication, bolstered Prof. Azaiki’s academic height, and public service career, adding that the scholar presently holds PhD in Agricultural Science, PhD in Public Administration, Doctor of Science (DSc), besides other qualifications.

According to her, for decades now, Prof. Azaiki has held himself out for public service, since after a stint as a teacher at his alma mater, Bishop Dimieari Grammar School (BDGS) after obtaining Grade One in WASC in 1979, and years later as director in Federal Civil Service, on return from oversea, with his first PhD in Agricultural Science in 1991. The ex-head of service recalled that, Azaiki as a young PhD holder was at age 30, appointed pioneer Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Bayelsa State, in 1997 during the military era and later as Secretary to Government in the late DSP Alamieyeseigha administration.

She further stated that through these pioneering positions, and subsequently as Pro-chancellor of Niger Delta University, besides many committees and honourary advisory positions to different governors in the state, Azaiki contributed to physical and human capital development, notably foreign language training, scholarship and bursary programmes.

At the national level, she narrated that Azaiki was a director in the Federal Ministry of Labour and productivity as well as state coordinator of the the National Directorate of Employment in Oyo State and later Rivers State. According to her, Azaiki played key roles in birthing the agency’s skills acquisition programmes, besides settlement of the Finima youth crisis during take off of the NLNG in Bonny, a feat that earned him national accolades.

Dr. Igodo Offers Panaceas For Nation Building, Relives Prof. Azaiki's Services

Dr. (Mrs.) Igodo further narrated the celebrant’s input to national development through advocacies for fiscal federalism, equity in the oil industry and environmental justice, through publication of books, conference papers and recommendations via World Environment for Africa (WEMFA) and the National Think Tank (NTT), which he co-founded. These organisations, she said, also submitted memorandum to the 2014 National Conference convoked by the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Presidency.

Aside that, the guest speaker said Azaiki made vital input to national policies when he served as special adviser to two Ministers of Police, Alawoei Broderick Bozimor and Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade, respectively; Minister of Education, Dr. Boni Haruna; honourary adviser on agriculture to late President Umaru Yar’Adua, as well membership of governing council of Federal University of Technology, Akure, Kwara State. He also served as adviser to other ministers who held special duties and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, respectively, the guest speaker added.

Igodo said Prof. Azaiki was a vocal voice on regional, national and global issues while in Nigeria’s House of Representatives. She cited Azaiki’s roles to include opposing the obnoxious waterways bill and Federal Government’s downgrading of Bayelsa and other Niger Delta States in the ranking of states that were most affected by the 2022 flood.

These, she said were besides physical projects and human empowerment programmes he facilitated in Yenagoa-Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency during his tenure.

Other instances she enumerated include motions on Covid-19 Fund and the East-West Road project, which the Federal Government swiftly released billions of naira, following motions he sponsored, among others.

Earlier Dr. Igodo had highlighted the celebrant’s personal charitable deeds, especially through the Azaiki Foundation, including the Azaiki Public Library, which she said attests to his passion for education and human capital development.

According to her, Azaiki’s decades of service to society and personal accomplishments accounted for the award of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) to him, by the Federal Government, and chieftaincy title of Ebe-Ovie 1 (Catalyst of Progress) of Atissa, confered on him by Atissa Council of Chiefs during the reign of late King Abiye Agama. She said, this is aside Izon-Ebe Dirigo-Olotu (Champion of Knowledge of Ijaw) title confered on Azaiki, by King Joshua Igbugburu, the 10, Ebenanaowei of Bomo Kingdom, and Yitolumowei of Ogboin Clan (The Man of Knowledge of Ogboin), to be confered on him by King Oweipa Jones-Ere, Saturday, this week.

Mrs. Igodo further recalled that the recent legislative feats of Azaiki, earned him elective positions as Vice President/Board member of of World Bank/IMF Network of Parliamentarians, Africa; President, Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), Nigerian Chapter; London Political Summit’s award, among others.

Reacting to the lecture, respectively, various speakers including chairman of the occasion, Chief (Dr.) Boma Spero-Jack; Royal Father of the Day, Alabo Nengi James, OON; Paramount Ruler of Yenebebeli 1, Chief Ovuoh Alfred; Chief Teddy Ayamalem; Bishop Patterson Kikile; Chief Noble Akenge; Hon. (Mrs.) Ayebanegiyefa Egba and Dr. Patterson Ogon spoke in like manner. They described Prof. Azaiki as an accomplished scholar and quintessential leader. They further said Azaiki “is a gift not only to Epie-Atissa, where he hails from, but also to Bayelsa and Nigeria”, noting that as a leader who has given much to society, he was worthy of being celebrated.

Speaking on behalf of the mentees and political associates, Hon. Godwin Fefegha, Engr. Utovie Egba, Dr. (Barr) Godric Tam Deinduomo, and Dr. Abraham Apereseimokumo Alfred, extolled the virtuous and achievements of Prof. Steve Azaiki. According to them, the birthday celebration was a surprise package to reciprocate his good deeds to them and humankind in general.

Following disclosure to him via video phone call during the birthday celebration, which he was kept uninformed, Prof. Steve Azaiki expressed amazement, and thanked the organizers and attendees for the gesture, while wishing them well in their endeavours.

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