THEWILL EDITORIAL: Condemning The Assassination Attempt On Delta House Speaker

Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei

SAN FRANCISCO, November 12, (THEWILL) – Indigenes and residents of the relatively peaceful and calm Delta North senatorial zone of Delta State were jolted by the news of the attempted assassination of the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Victor Ochei, at a political function in Obomkpa recently.

The Speaker was said to be on a routine tour of Obomkpa, one of the towns under his constituency, when the incident happened.

According to witnesses, the suspected weapon of the assassination plot was a local cannon usually fired to mark important events. Someone had allegedly turned the hapless cannon into a weapon of destruction and placed two of such cannons under two seats designated for the Speaker. Fortunately, the cannons exploded before the Speaker could reach his seat, leaving two persons with severe injuries and sending those that had gathered at the Eke Market Square venue of the get-together scampering for safety.

As widespread condemnation continues to trail ugly event, indigenes of the Senatorial zone, including those living abroad, have also joined in resoundingly condemning the assassination attempt.

Though there have been allegations and counter allegations by members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the area since the incident occurred, the governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has sued for calm.

THEWILL condemns this dastardly act of violence and challenge law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough investigation in order to bring the mastermind(s) to justice.

It is interesting to note that it didn’t take long for supporters of the Speaker and some political watchers to point fingers at Chief Nkem Okwuofu, a controversial and influential female politician in the area who had allegedly warned Ochei to steer clear of Obomkpa, her locality, or face her wrath. Okwuofu, popularly called Agwu-Nwanyi (a female lion), is also the chairman of the Local Government Service Commission, Asaba.

THEWILL reminds politicians and stakeholders that politics can be played in a civilised manner without violence and assassinations as everyone is guaranteed freedom of association and the right to aspire to any office of choice in a democratic setting.

Pundits believe that the Speaker’s superlative performance in office has earned him a frontrunner status for the office of the governor of the state in 2015 if he decides to run thus threatening Okwuofu’s camp and support for Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, another politician seeking a shot at the office.

We are glad that the police have stepped up to the plate and taken John Oyibo Achuzia Ijeh, a suspect and nephew of Okwuofu into custody as part of its investigations even though its spokesman had earlier prematurely described the incident as an accident that was not premeditated. Okwuofu has also been interrogated by the police and released.

However as the outcry over the Obomkpa incident resonates louder, the pressure has forced Okwuofu to address a press conference where she denied having a hand in the failed plot though she admitted that she wasn’t happy with the Speaker over the choice of party executives he allegedly installed in Obomkpa.

Taking her defense further in a full page paid advertorial in the Vanguard newspaper published on Monday, November 11, Okwuofu admitted that the man detained by the police is her nephew who she employed as “a casual staff” during her tenure as Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in 2002 even though she claimed he was subsequently fired for indiscipline.

As it is often the case during crisis of this nature, she denied having any dealings whatsoever with her nephew after his dismissal from the Ministry.

It is however note worthy that the politician had previously been linked to two suspected political murders in her district by her constituents but didn’t face charges.

We therefore urge the investigating officers working on the failed assassination bid to diligently conduct their investigation without bias as stakeholders anxiously await the outcome.