Since his inauguration as Governor of Delta State in May 2007, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan has made the stable rich oil state the central attention of his administration’s governing policy. Located in the western part of the volatile Niger Delta region. His administration’s three point agenda of Peace and Security, Human Capital Development and Infrastructural Development is best executed with precision, making Delta state one of the model states in the country. This has insulated his state from the crisis that once engulfed the region. As Governor of Delta state, it has been noticed that since his inauguration as Governor of the state, many now refer to Delta State as “the most peaceful and stable state in the region”
From his childhood and as one growing into a youthful age, he was recognized as an outstanding leader in most of the various circles, particularly among his peers. He is known to be hardworking, disciplined, committed to the core and one who has a selfless attitude to work even after his educational pursuit. He has been noticed to have qualities that will dot him on the road map of success and greatness in life. This has made him a man who exudes outstanding personality. And so the journey that has been characterized with several impressive achievements, the result is an impact from a determined spirit and the selfless ambition of offering service to the people of Delta State and to the society at large.
Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan was born into the family of Chief Edmund D. Uduaghan and Mrs. Cecilia Uduaghan on October 22,1954. His father hails from Abigborodo in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, while the mother Cecilia is an indigene Ubiaja in Esan South-East of Edo State.
His academic career began in Baptist Primary School, Mosogar in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, where he was a pupil between 1961 –1966. He attended Federal Government College, Warri for his secondary education from 1968 – 1974. The college was one of the elite secondary school in the country in those days rated among schools like Government College, Ughelli, Edo College Benin City; Kings College, Lagos; St. Patrick’s college Asaba; and Government College Umuahia to mention a few.
On successful completion of secondary school in 1974, his achievements and quest for greater academic heights laid foundations for a future career in his life. From various academic field such as Engineering to Medicine, Law to Accountancy and other courses. Emmanuel opted for Medicine at the University of Benin. His choice was not only determined by the need to have a means of livelihood, but mainly by an undying urge for selfless service through bringing succor to the sick. It is this motivation that has continued to influence his activities even outside his professional area of medicine.
He was at the University of Benin from 1975 to 1980 after which he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS). In 1981, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan fresh from the university was posted to Kwara State for the one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Once again, he excelled and distinguished himself as a shining star. He was honored as the most outstanding Corps Doctor in Kwara State at the end of the service year. The award by the State’s NYSC Director was a deserving acknowledgement of his remarkable contribution to the health care delivery system. This award was a clear manifestation of Dr. Uduaghan’s commitment to hard work and a desire to succeed in life. To crown and further enrich his knowledge in his chosen career, he obtained a Diploma in Anesthesia from the University of Benin after a course lasting from 1985 to 1986.
His Medical Career
His work life outside school has been quite interesting. He made his mark as an employed medical doctor at the Delta Steel Company (DSC) Medical center, Aladja in Delta State. Again, he continued to exhibit his desire to always contribute his best in service in regards to prejudices. He won the DSC General Manager’s prize for outstanding service. Due to his handwork earned contribution, he quickly scaled up to the rank of senior Medical Office (SMO), within a period of six years; another milestone on his way to success. Between 1989 and 1994, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan served in a number of healthcare facilities such as Shell Clinic Ogunu; Westend Hospital Warri and Benoni Clinic Benin City Edo State. He has also served as Secretary, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Warri; Secretary, Association of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners, Warri Zone.
The prospects for a medical doctor and consultant anesthesiologist employed in any of the above mention hospitals and some not mentioned were quite attractive. But his drive propelled by the urge to offer satisfactory service to the people free of the constraints of paid employment, decided to take into private practice thus setting up his own Abode Clinic in Warri in memory of his grandmother.
Early Political Interest
Outside his medical profession, Dr. Uduaghan’s other main preoccupation has been politics and in this, he has been very courageous . Essentially a grassroots politician, he was chairman and foundation Member of the All Nigerian Congress Association, Warri South Local Government Area. During the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s ill-fated transition to civil rule programme, he was a founding member of the Grass-roots Democratic Movement (GDM) and later rose to become an executive officer of the party. He is today a foundation member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Before then, he had served as Secretary, All Itsekiri Politicians Forum.
When the nation returned to democratic rule in May 1999, Governor James Ibori, recognizing his ability to perform, appointed him into his cabinet as the Commissioner for Health. After several years of neglect under the military, Delta State’s public health became the foundational milestone in Delta State. Care delivery system was near total collapse. So it was a challenging task that confronted the then new commissioner. He had to embark on a salvage mission such as the rehabilitation of existing public hospitals and other health institutions; construction of new hospitals due to the growing demand, equipment were provided for better service, health workers motivational scheme was re-established , Medical staff were motivated through enhanced allowances and other benefits among other innovative solutions. The out-of-stock syndrome for drugs at the hospitals became a thing of the past. The health system was in dire need of total transformation. In reality, the health sector came back to life and was better positioned to adequately serve the people. As Delta state Commissioner for Health he performed creditably to the commendation of all.
In recognition of his efforts, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) honored him as the most outstanding Health Commissioner in the South-South Zone of the country. Given such enviable background, proven ability and experience, it is not surprising that the whole Deltans welcomed his appointment on June 6, 2003 to the exalted position of Secretary to the State Government, by Governor James Ibori. Most people scored his performance as SSG very high. Those familiar with his pedigree will hardly be surprised.
As Secretary to the State Government, he continued to display transparency, honesty and hard work. A stickler to discipline and honest service, he told a seminar organized by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) that the Ibori Administration was determined at checking unethical and fraudulent practices. His words “ It will henceforth ensure that discipline is brought to bear in the conduct of our duties as public officers. If we must meet the expectations of our people who desire qualitative public service, then, of course we must necessarily be proactive and more efficient in the use of the resources available”. Addressing fellow top government functionaries at a workshop, he stressed on good governance: “The activities of government must be conducted according to laid down guidelines and procedures. There shall be no shot cut”.
The conflict resolution in the state will ever be remembered by the people of Delta state, which Dr. Uduaghan played a prominent role in a state that was wrecked by communal strife in the Warri area at the inception of the Ibori administration in 1999. He has also been at the forefront of ending the small arms smuggle into the zone, which he says has helped in keeping the criminal elements active camouflaging as Niger Delta activists. He played a prominent role in dousing the tension and ensuring the peace and stability that now reign in the Warri area and the State in general. A steady supporter of resource control, true federalism and other causes of the South-South people, he has remained an arrowhead to the attainment of the crusade. His commitment thus far has been proven to be excellent.
As Governor of Delta state, it has been noticed that since his inauguration as Governor of the state, many has come to term Delta as “the most peaceful and stable state in the region”. This has insulated his State from the crisis that once engulfed the region.
On poverty eradication in the society, Dr. Uduaghan believes that the campaign must involve all the stakeholders. He argues that while the political leaders “can do so much to leverage situations on poverty,” by virtue of their positions, “other leadership strata within civil society such as men on top of the corporate or business ladder, religious leaders, NGOs, civil organizations, economic groups and even social critics have their parts to play in the global coalition of concern to fight poverty”.
The Uduaghan administration is building an international airport in Asaba, the state capital. The Uduaghan government has been widely applauded for its innovative programmes in urban renewal and urbanization. The Uduaghan administration has won praises for its innovative policy in youth empowerment and development which has seen Delta win the National Sports festival for the fourth time. Governor Uduaghan’s policy on health care was adjudged the best in the country in the area of maternal and infant mortality, which is by far the lowest on the national average.
He is a proud member of the Jaycees International, under which auspices he attended several world congresses and activities on leadership development. He won the Award of the Most Outstanding President of Area ‘B’ of the Nigeria Chamber of Jaycees International (1989). He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). Governor Uduaghan is also a member of Global Governors summit led by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. The group made up of governors from across the world is committed to building cooperation amongst sub-national governments (State Governments) to address the issues of Climate Change. Governor Uduaghan is also a founding member of R20, a group of sub-national leaders building new international frameworks and cooperation on Climate Change and the development of green economy.
A Christian of the Baptist faith and a married father of two children. He is definitely the MAN; making advanced changes to the Niger-Delta for Delta State.
Since his appointment as Governor, he has done his job creditably well attracting to himself a number of honors amongst which are:
· Most outstanding Corps Doctor in Kwara State
· The DSC General Manager’s prize for outstanding service.
· The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) honoured him as the most outstanding Health Commissioner in the South-South Zone of the country.
· Most Outstanding President of Area ‘B’ of the Nigeria Chamber of Jaycees International (1989)
· Rotary International - Distinguished Paul Harris Fellow Award, 2000.
· Rotary Club of Asaba - Hon. Rotarian Award, 2004
· City People Media Group - Award of Excellence in Administration, 2005
· College of Medical Sciences, - Award for Excellence, University of Benin 2005
· Nigeria Turning Point Prayer - Heroes of Faith Award, 2005
· This Day Award of Excellence and Emerging Tiger
· The Central Bank of Nigeria Award for Best Support Governor for Micro Finance.
· Kwame Nkrumah leadership award by the All Africa Students Union (AASU) based in Ghana
He is definitely the MAN: Making Advanced changes to the Niger-Delta for Delta State.