Queen Elizabeth has approved the appointment of Nigerian born Ugbana Oyet as Serjeant at Arms in the House of Commons. Oyet will replace Kamal El-Hajji who retired in July after three and a half years in the post.
Speaker John Bercow announced the appointment during sitting in the Commons on Tuesday, October 16th. Oyet becomes Serjeant after serving as Parliament’s Principal Electrical Engineer for a number of years.
An excited Oyet said “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.
“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.”
Speaker Bercow said: “I have known Ugbana for several years and have always been impressed by his ability, his attitude and his approach to other people. My longstanding impression of him was confirmed when he won a diversity and inclusion award for being an ‘an inspiring role model’.
Born in Nigeria, Mr Oyet moved to the UK with his family in 1991. He will take up his duties as Serjeant at Arms next week. The Serjeant’s role is to ensure the safety of MPs in the House of Commons, as well as being carrier of the mace during the Speaker’s procession. He will lead a team of 70 staff, covering the Serjeant’s Office, the access team, the doorkeepers and business resilience.
Oyet told The Voice newspaper that when he was informed that he had been appointed to take up the role, he was “shaking with excitement”.
“I was actually shaking with excitement but civil servants don’t get excited, they should be calm and collected. I will do my best to enhance morale and improve the excellent service already provided by the serjeant’s office”
“It is an exciting role…To have the honour and the privilege to be able to serve and support in this really modern environment with internet, with Twitter, with extension rebellion but also with the dignity and the traditions that come with this place,” he said.