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OPINION: DELTA STATE DEPUTY GOVERNORSHIP AND CHRISTOPHER OCHOR’S COMPETENCE

DELTA STATE MAP
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It is no longer news that the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, has emerged the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

It is equally relevant to the present discourse to underline that Oborevwori, who is also the National Deputy Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, displayed uncommon resilience to clinch the ticket and presently celebrates his landslide victory with a call on Deltans, to ensure they all have their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the 2023 general elections.

Expectedly, his victory has elicited reactions from stakeholders and the general public. The boundaries between both spheres/reactions have shifted back and forth for some days.

While some hailed his emergence, others are particularly not against, but are of the view that looking at the working relationship between Chief Sheriff Oborevwori and Deputy Speaker, Rt Honourable Chritopher Ochor Ochor, both should be encouraged and allowed to run on a joint ticket as Governor and Deputy Governor, respectively.

Aside from the time-honoured belief that one needs not change a winning team, the present argument is predicated on the seamless and mutual relationship evidently demonstrated in the last three years and enjoyed by the duo working as Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Instead of allowing this relationship by these public office holders turned brothers go with the political winds, the Oborevwori/Ochor joint ticket should be encouraged and gainfully harnessed for the greater gain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the state and for the greater good of Deltans, they concluded.

Indeed, the above argument may not be wrong, considering the fact that the healthy relationship between Oborevwori and Ochor , which many see as a major factor responsible for the sustainable peace the state House of Assembly and its members presently enjoys, sets the stage for a rancour-free relationship between the State Executive and Legislatures.

At about the same time, many have wondered if Ochor truly possesses the capacity needed to occupy and function at the level of Deputy Governor. Does he really understand the meaning and requirement of being a deputy governor of a complex state like Delta or aware that it requires intensive efforts to keep the people of the state together? Is he ready to mix and interact with people of different types and classes in the state to benefit from their experience?

Does the Honorable Ochor have the right temperament, positive mindset, flexible attitude and enterprise spirit to work hard with concentration on the business of governance? Is he aware that as a state deputy governor, he needs to have detailed knowledge and sound experience before assuming such a sensitive position? Is he ready to gain adequate knowledge and experience with patience before May 29, 2023? Is he capped with patience, humility, tolerance and responsiveness to undergo this important phase of learning and experience? Is he cost and labour conscious? Is he aware that he is required to understand and follow public leadership rules, regulations and other restrictions and then conduct the business of governance each time his Principal is not around?

Without doubt, these are not just important questions but objective concerns.

However, while this piece is too short a space to establish whether Ochor understands or recognises the fact that it takes prolonged efforts to govern the people well, it is spaced enough to underline fundamental factors that may not only work in favour of Ochor if chosen, but, more than anything else, make him the best man for the job.

Aside from the awareness that Rt. Hon Christopher Ochor Ochor, who is currently a lawmaker representing Ukwuani Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, will never be a liability to the next governor or the state, as he is a certified teacher and graduate of Agriculture from Delta State University with varying experiences in public service, there are reasons why he should be considered the best man for the job.

First is his experience, which stands him out and sets him miles apart from the bunch of politicians angling for the position. Evidence abounds that at the early years of the 4th Republic, he occupied various positions amongst which were Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Matters and Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth Matters.

As a member of the Delta State House of Assembly between 2007-2008, he sponsored a Bill targeted at the protection of Public Properties, while at same time attracting government attention to his constituency, especially in the areas of public health and road construction.

As a Commissioner for Special Duties, between 2008 and 2010, Ochor’s performance was not only remarkable but outstandingly glaring.

Equity and fairness consideration are the second very essential reasons as to why Ochor must be considered for the position. There is no doubt that Ndokwa people, going by available records, have been active in socio-economic and political affairs of the state since the days of the old Western and Mid-Western regions. In view of this spiraling fact, equity and justice should be the defining approach to the present political season/electioneering period.

If the above argument is considered and given favorable consideration, Honorable Ochor, without fear of contradiction, remains one of the most visible and relevant politicians in Delta with impeccable experience and records to benefit from such arrangement.

He facilitated the construction of the Umutu Magistrate Court building to ensure that people don’t have to travel far in search of justice in the law court, among other positive contributions in the lives of the people of Ukwuani, such as the construction of drainage to check erosion at the mouth of the source of River Ethiope.

Between 2012-2014, Ochor was the Transition Chairman of Ukwuani Local Government Area Council. His tenure hallmarked the belief that security is the bedrock upon which development can be achieved through peace.

On assumption of office, Hon Ochor, inherited an area infested with rampant kidnapping, intra and inter-communal rift, cultism, youth restiveness and ritual related killings. Day and night life was a nightmare. Security reports on the local government area was debilitating. He tackled these hydra headed monster, through various security based strategies. Through his facilitation, the State Commissioner of Police set up the ASP Lucas led Anti-Kidnapping crack team. He changed the suspicious relationship between his office and the law enforcement agencies on one hand, and the public on the other hand.

Operational vehicles, accommodations, and welfare arrangements were made which boosted an effective intelligence gathering and community policing of the area.

Hon Ochor Ochor is a leader that appreciates Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to forestall breakdown of law and order. He used this effectively to achieve peace amongst the communities in the LGA and border communities between Delta and Edo states.

This writer thinks that it is the likes of Rt Hon. Christopher Ochor that Delta State currently needs.

*** Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos