Ugbana Oyet: The Nigerian-born chartered engineer who keeps order in the British Parliament

Mohammed Awal Dec 26, 2019 at 08:00am

December 26, 2019 at 08:00 am | Success Story

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

December 26, 2019 at 08:00 am | Success Story

Photograph: parliament.uk

Nigerian-born Ugbana Oyet is the new Serjeant-at-Arms (Sergeant-at-arms) in the British House of Commons.

The 43-year-old chartered engineer, who is said to be on a mission to make the United Kingdom’s Parliament carbon neutral by 2050, was appointed to the position in October 2019.

Well known to many Members of the House during his role as Parliament’s Principal Electrical Engineer and Programme Director for the Estate-wide Engineering Infrastructure and Resilience (EWEIR) Programme – Oyet’s new role will make him even more visible as the carrier of the House of Commons mace during the Speaker’s procession, and into the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.

“It is a great honour to serve in such a historic role, which combines the needs and challenges of the modern era, while also maintaining the dignity and essential traditions that have helped Parliament endure,” Oyet said of his new role which dates back 1415.

“I’m a real people-person and love working closely with MPs, staff, and members of the public, so I will do my best to enhance morale and improve the excellent service already provided by the Serjeant’s office.”

Oyet moved to the UK with his family in 1991.

As Serjeant-at-Arms, Oyet is responsible for keeping order within the Commons chamber, committee rooms, and public areas.

Per his position, he is the only official in Parliament allowed to carry weapons, which include a gilt, fine-blade sword.

Oyet also plays a prominent role in certain parliamentary ceremonies, including carrying the mace at the state opening of Parliament.

Former Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow described Oyet’s attitude and approach to other people as “impressive.”

“My longstanding impression of him was confirmed when he won a diversity and inclusion award for being ‘an inspiring role model’,” he said.

In addition to his ceremonial role, Oyet is expected to run a team of 70 staff, covering the Serjeant’s Office, the access team, the doorkeepers and business resilience.

As Programme Director for EWEIR, Oyet’s main role has been to make the parliamentary estate more energy efficient and carbon neutral by 2050. 

In 2018 he reduced the cost of providing emergency electrical power to the estate from £1m to £275,000 a year.

A chartered engineer and fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Oyet boasts of a strong track record of delivering multi-million-pound projects, from a £1.8bn (2328048.00bn) village complex and gated community in Abu Dhabi – in time for the first Grand Prix in 2009 – to a new city in Saudi Arabia including a power station and desalination plant worth tens of billions of pounds.

Oyet married his childhood sweetheart and they have four children – three sons and a daughter aged between 14 and 23.

In his spare time, Oyet enjoys playing basketball with his sons in their local team, as well as, sings with the St Mary’s Undercroft Choir at one of the staff Carol services in the Speaker’s House.

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