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A golden fish in a fishbowl

THERE comes a time in the developmental process of every society when the desired opportunity  or quest for true and indelible growth and development beckons like a shining light with insurmountable illumination and transparency in the face of the deep. By this, the dark cloud and delicate interface ravaging a society or nation gives way for new hopes, yearnings and aspirations for a better and brighter tomorrow.

However, more often than not, the society allows this great opportunity usually personified in distinguished eminent personages who have distinguished themselves to fritter away on the altar of shortsightedness. And by this collective myopia is a society denied and deprived strategic success factors of transformational significance to the overall success and good of the society to the detriment of the populace.

On the contrary, even when these great leadership opportunities  are lost, they still have a way of manifesting through fortuitous combination of circumstances or by divine grace of providence to the utmost good of the people.

Long before now and shortly after the official pronouncement of the 2015 general elections date, the biggest challenges staring many, including my humble self, in the face was that of getting an effective
and efficient successor regarding the governorship seat in Delta State. A successor endowed with both experience and proven track record of sound leadership pedigree and antecedence.

Doing  an appraisal of the many governorship aspirants in Delta State now, the young and dynamic  Olorogun David Edevbie stands out as a Golden Fish in a Golden River. This is because he is an experienced
technocrat of international repute with a proven track record of excellence in leadership laced with integrity, accountability, openness and transparency.

It was on account of his leadership experience and resource management expertise that he was called upon by the Chief James Onanefe Ibori- led administration and the good people of Delta State in 1999 to serve as
Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning. He had on account of this left his prestigious and lucrative position in the Commonwealth Development Commission, CDC, in the UK. As a commissioner, he laid a grand and indelible financial management structure as well as transformed the economy of the state through various economic empowerment initiatives he pioneered and piloted.

Exuding abundant confidence and dynamism as a newly appointed commissioner faced with challenges of restructuring and reorganisation, one of the first issues he tackled was the failure of the Federal Government to pay the minimum 13% derivation revenue due to oil producing states as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

Following a sustained campaign by the Delta State government, the Federal Government finally capitulated and increased the payment of derivation related revenue from 1% to 13% from January 2000.

Simultaneously, Mr. Edevbie transformed work attitude, increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the Ministry of Finance and modernised its information and cash management systems.

During his tenure among other things, Mr. Edevbie introduced the monthly cash budget for payment of contractors, ensured the timely preparation and publication of the Delta State Governments Audited Accounts (the first State in the country to do so), designed and implemented the government’s privatisation policy,
established the highly successful Delta State Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme, floated the Delta State Revenue Bond and successfully obtained an A+ International Credit Rating for Delta State – thereby becoming the first government in the country to do so.

At the end of his first tenure in 2003, David Edevbie attended the prestigious Harvard Business School Advanced Management Programme, AMP, to prepare himself for higher profile duties. On completion of
the programme, David was reappointed as Commissioner of Finance and
remained in office until November 2005.

In late 2006, In recognition of his strong interpersonal skills and proven abilities to plan, organise and coordinate activities, Mr. Edevbie was invited by one of PDP’s presidential candidates, Governor Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua to join his small campaign team as Director of Finance and Strategy. As a founding member of the highly successful campaign team, Mr. Edevbie was responsible for coordinating the campaign and ensuring that its operations were properly funded.

In addition to providing leadership and direction to finance and administration staff and ensuring that the campaign was successful, he was also responsible for developing and implementing an effective system of accounting and managing the payroll system.

He was equally responsible for the development and implementation of campaign strategies that enabled Yar’ Adua to be chosen as the presidential candidate in December 2006 PDP primaries and subsequently win the

April 2007 presidential election.  Notably, Mr. Edevbie was part of the small creative team that conceptualised and designed the highly successful “Seven-Point Agenda” campaign slogan and was responsible for comprehensively articulating the policy priorities of the President-elect in a development blue print document titled “The Nigerian Project Agenda” which was subsequently adopted by the incoming Federal Executive Council. In July 2008, in recognition of the significant role played in the Presidential Campaign organization, President Yaradua appointed Mr. Edevbie as Principal Secretary to replace the out-going Chief of Staff.
By KENNEDY EBIKAGBORO, a political scientist, wrote from Warri, Delta State.



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