Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze does nothing out of the ordinary to unwind. With good music and books to read, his relaxation is made. Anayo Okolie writes
For Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, his appointment as the Secretary to the Anambra State government last year June, may not be unconnected to his acclaimed feats in other areas of human endeavour before duty called to be part of the Governor Peter Obi administration.
Obaze, as many know him, is one man who does not breach protocols. For him, “everything I do is about planning, organising and implementation, regardless of when I go to bed. I start my day at 5:30. I have a programme on a sheet and before I leave the office this evening, they will print out a copy for tomorrow. The Special Adviser has a copy and Permanent Secretary has a copy. It starts at 5:30 in the morning which is when I step out of bed.”
His tight schedule has not denied people access to him either through his mobile telephone or interpersonal interaction like most top government officials do. “I return my calls, my SMS and emails, the governor will call or I will call the governor.
Explaining how he runs his activities within time, he said: “Between 6am, 6:30 and 7am, I have my coffee, read the newspapers. I don’t have to buy them. I open my iPad and go through the newspapers because they post them at midnight. So, I basically read newspapers while taking coffee.”
There is one thing he does fail to do every evening. “I sit down with my Personal Adviser and Special Adviser, go through the next day programme and know what is happening and what is changing. The job is 24-7 and has to do with planning and organising. You have to know and decide what your priorities are.
“When I have time, I write but I don’t write as much as I used to because when I used to write, I was not in government and my business was to criticise people in government that are not doing well. My family is not in Nigeria. Though, they were here for Christmas but they have gone back to the States. I live the life of a bachelor; I don’t have to worry about food. If I am hungry, I go down, get my coffee and if I need to make toast, I make it and that’s it and sometimes I even work into my office with my cup of coffee in my hand.
“I don’t keep too much of company. I like to read and sometimes, I read like two or three different books at the same time. Right now, I am reading Fareed Zakaria- the Post America Scenario and I am reading Chinua Achebe “There Was A Country”. I am reading it again; I read it when it was in manuscript. I was the first person that read the manuscript and made the review even before it was published. Then it does not even have a title.
As one who enjoys writing, Obaze said: “I have written for newspapers and I have also written a book that is coming out by the end of the year. One came out last year May. I also have about five different manuscripts that are unpublished, that I haven’t found time to publish.”
Again, as a former athlete and soccer player, Obaze enjoys watching football and listening to good music. “I enjoy reading being a writer. I work long hours and I decompress by reading books, listening to music and watching television. I don’t have sufficient time to engage in some outdoor sports but when I do, I play tennis. But now, I decompress by playing good music.
“I follow the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga. In Nigeria I have been a diehard supporter of Rangers and I am still but by and large, you go with the European teams. I always say, let the best team win. My choice of music is quite eclectic. You could catch me listening to Chinese music, and you could catch me listening to symphony and spiritual music. Of late, I have been doing some element of jazz and I also enjoy some classical Owerri bongo music and some of the old high life music; it depends on the time of the day you catch me,” Obaze said.