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Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei pays a consultation visit to the Chairman of the PDP Elders and Stakeholders Forum of Delta State, Chief Godwin Ogbetuo JP. 

The Uvwie Youths were on ground to receive him hereby causing a heavy traffic gridlock. They sang solidarity songs and showed their support for the incoming Governor.

To view images, click here: http://on.fb.me/1rzxG4R

A UNITED Kingdom (UK)-based socio-political pressure group, Umu anioma in Diaspora (UAID), has endorsed the immediate past Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei as a preferred governorship candidate for Delta State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).   

In the same vein, the group also okayed the recent PDP’s endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan as its sole presidential candidate for the 2015 election.  

In a statement, Chief Convener of Umu anioma in Diaspora (UAID), Mr. Charles Chukwuedo, stated that UAID unanimously backed Ochei and Jonathan candidacy because of their enviable legacies, as not only true patriots, but as rare achievers.  

Chukwuedo added that Ochei outstanding qualities put him ahead of other governorship aspirants in Delta State. According to him: “Despite the fact that some of us live abroad, we have never been disconnected from the politics of our nation.  As stakeholders in our polity, we cannot stand on the side and not be part of the Transformation Agenda of President Jonathan and Ochei’s enviable track records not only as a distinguished lawmaker, but also as an outstanding Speaker who piloted the affairs of the Delta House of Assembly with sagacity, maturity, integrity and team spirit.     

The statement added: “Ochei antecedents, political experience, youthfulness, charisma, toughness and most importantly, detribalized nature are some of his virtues.  Ochei speaker emeritus has gone down in Delta State politics as the longest serving speaker of the state.  His transformation of the legislative arm of government combined with good working relationship with the other two arms of government leaves no one in doubt that Ochei is well schooled in the dynamics of true governance is.   “It is imperative that our federating units at the state level be governed by technocrats and progressive minds like Ochei thus cementing and propelling the transformation agenda of President Jonathan to the next level.   

The UAID added that there was the need in the spirit of equity, justice and fairness that power should shift to Delta North as the other two zones had had their slots.   They added that a governor of Anioma extraction would still ensure even development, unity and peace and further consolidate on the achievements of the Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan-led administration.   “We also believe that Jonathan overall performance has been impressive despite the challenges of insecurity facing the nation. The President is doing a good job and has continued to prove his critics wrong. 

No wonder why in an unprecedented move in our politics, he was adopted as the sole presidential runner to fly the PDP flag come 2015. We must all collectively work with our government.  We are close to achieving the Nigeria of our dream under the leadership of President Jonathan.  Government is about continuity,” UAID added.  

They further stressed: “UAID recognises the advancement, stability and balancing that is taking place in PDP right now. The party having experienced its challenging moments, such is expected from any party that has a national face. We have faith in PDP national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu. We have no doubt in our mind that under his distinguished leadership that the party primaries nationwide would be fair and transparent. A great party like PDP requires public servants that would serve and compliment the President effort at the centre.”  The group also commended INEC for its good job, adding: “We have faith in Prof. Attahiru Muhammadu Jega, INEC chairman.

Source: The Guardian

My plan to succeed Uduaghan

Rt. Hon Victor Onyekachi Ochei, an engineer, hails from Onicha Olona in Aniocha Local Government Area of Delta State. In 2003, he contested for a seat in the Delta State House of Assembly on the platform of the defunct United Nigerian Peoples Party, UNDP, won the election, and subsequently became the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, the position he held till 2006.

He contested for the second time, this time under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, got elected to the Delta House of Assembly and was made the Chairman, House Committee on Education till the end of  the 4th  Assembly.

Again, he contested in April 2011 and was re-elected into the House of Assembly for the third time. This time, he became the Speaker, but later resigned from the position.

Ochei, in this interview, bares his mind on why he wants to be the next governor of Delta, former Governor Ibori, Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Delta politics, his tenure as Speaker, his resignation, relationship with Chief Edwin  Clark, the economy of Delta, his blueprint for the state, among others.

Why do you want to be the  governor of Delta State?

I am in the race  because I want to offer  my service to the people of Delta  based on track record, building a generation of Delta that is yet unborn and planning  for them. I want to be governor, based on the pan-Delta approach where, at the end of the day, our diversities will turn out to become our strength. That is my first consideration.

Delta is a blessed state and very strategic in the nation. Definitely, there is quite a lot that is also expected of her and that very much lies in its leadership and what it has to offer. And I bring a leadership that will foster greater unity, a leadership that will bridge the gap between  the old and the young. I bring a leadership that will bring us in tune with the realities of tomorrow. I bring a leadership that will make every Deltan proud.

I often describe myself as wanting to build on the foundation of the forbearers of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, who was the first PDP governor.

And, of course, at the effusion of time, came a successor who is the incumbent governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who, I believe, has also filled the foundation and done what you call the solid concrete German floor, which has prepared the state now, the foundation to carry up a solid building. I am coming to put up a super structure.

You are coming from an arm, going to another arm of government. How do you marry that? Has the legislative arm equipped you to function well in the executive arm?

Well, it is part of it because the legislature is an arm and I have been privileged to head the legislative arm as  Speaker which gives me the opportunity to handle both administrative and political issues   at the same time. At  the risk of sounding immodest, a lot of people said I  performed well, as Speaker. And having   done well, I have no doubt that in the executive arm, I will be excellent.

I believe it has prepared me and I come with an offer to ensure that, at the end of the day, the experience  I have through the legislative process is enough to be a good governor  It is the laws that you make that you use to run the administration.

I am deep in the legislature  area; now, coming into an area where you have to implement the laws, there will be a synergy in which you cannot imagine in the sense of experience bringing to bear that which you know and putting it into the realm of governance. I believe that gives me an edge of competence, performing maximally.

You come from Delta North. How much of consultations have you carried out to woo your brothers and sisters from the South and Central?

Consultations are  on-going. Delta  is on a tripod of the North, the South and the Central and no one senatorial district can go it  alone. And for you to win, you must definitely reach out. For you to rule Delta, you must be somebody that is acceptable across board and that is where I come in.

Having been Speaker, it gives me the opportunity to see Delta  as my platform and I have been able to reach out to all stakeholders both in the South, the North and the Central. I am still consulting,  meeting our people, and I can tell you that there is a lot of  support from the South and the Central. The North is where I come from and I have no doubt as well that, at the end of the day, I will get the support of the North.

We learnt that the governorship in 2015  has be zoned to Delta North, but there are  insinuations that the governor has anointed a candidate. How do you react to this?

PDP  zoning principle favours Delta North because Delta Central has produced the governor; Delta South  produced the incumbent governor, it is only fair and equitable that Delta  North produces the next governor, which is an advantage comparatively even though you have other persons who are from other senatorial districts in the race. You don’t have to push out anybody, but, basically, the party has taken a position that its candidate will come from the North, so be it.

That the governor has a candidate, it makes it better; it makes the battle defined. That does  not mean  other candidates cannot run. It makes it easier for me because I  now know who I will be contesting with. It is a  contest, it is not a selection process and because it is a contest, I will come from that position.

The turning point that people seem to see in the governorship race in Delta  is the issue you just raised about the supposed anointed candidate by the governor. You were close to the governor and there were speculations that you were the anointed candidate of the governor.  Are you disturbed at this trend that a new person has now been supposedly anointed as the candidate of the governor to slug it out with you?

Not at all. It is a contest. I wasn’t going to run for the office of the governor of Delta  because I am close to the governor. That will not be what Deltans want to vote for. Deltans want to vote for somebody who can deliver dividends of democracy, who can take them to the next level and beyond.

I am close to the governor. The fact that he has an anointed candidate like you said, he has told me. But he  has the right as a Deltan to have someone he wants to support and it doesn’t has to be me.

But that does not take away the fact that we are close and we are still friends and we respect our relationship. I will respect his choice the same way he will respect mine. That doesn’t make us fall apart and it doesn’t mean that because the governor has a candidate, others will not be in the race. I am still in the race and very much so. At least I know if like you say he has an anointed candidate, fine, it means he will support his anointed and I also have other Deltans who will support me.

What is your blueprint for the people of Delta State?

The blueprint definitely is that Delta governance has many sectors. It has the economic sector, the social sector and all of that. So if I am going to give you the blueprint, I am going to start from describing a bulky document. But I can give you an overview of what I think.

In the past administrations, Delta was more like a virgin place and a lot has been done to put in place. But what we lack is the synergy to bring all of the agencies that we have or created to bring them into a sink so that we begin to  derive the benefits therefore. Now, this is one of the key things I intend to do, put them together so that Deltans will begin to benefit from this massive development that has taken place.

How do I do that? I intend to have an all integrated Delta  development master plan. Now if you have a master plan for development, wherever you start from, even if the development does not get to the  end today, you will have hope that there is a tomorrow following that master plan, your own area will be taken care of and keeping at it, you are very sure that you are going to get things done.

But when there is no development master plan, it means you will be developing on needs basis. Someone says I need this and you do it, someone says I need that and it is done, so there is no synergy. So you have money to spend,   but you cannot harvest the projects that are beneficial to people, that are accruable to people as development projects. So people just say we have not developed, but   there is a lot that has happened, a lot has taken place, but you need to put them together and sync them. That is one major thing that I need to do.

And talking sectorally, we must begin to look at areas that are the strengths as a state and areas that are weaknesses. Now areas that are strengths today, we are an oil producing state, we are also a gas producing state and, at the same time, there is an initiative by the incumbent governor, the Delta Beyond Oil initiative, it is an initiative where you need to look beyond the resources of  oil and gas  that you have today and begin to develop those non-oil sectors so that, at the end of the day, those massive infrastructure that you have been able to put together on the ground for the oil resources.

If tomorrow oil depletes, can we sustain those infrastructures? What one needs to do is to have derivable resources from the non-oil sectors. And now we must begin to develop them with the oil resources that we have so that they can now complement each other.

We have agriculture which is a massive industry which, before the advent of oil, was responsible for over 70% of the Nigerian income. What happened to it, where did it go to? There are still countries today that are in agriculture and make money from it. Why can’t we do the same? So we can begin to develop all of these from the small microcosm of Nigeria to Delta and to showcase that to the world and that is what we have to export.

There is a whole lot on the blueprint that I come to the table with and begin to open the frontiers of the state. You must begin to learn to do business not as usual because, unconsciously in Nigeria, and  Delta is not an exception; we have begun to see the abnormal become the norm. So when you try to even introduce the normal things to be done, people begin to look at you as, why are you doing this, “na you wan repair the place?”and all of that.

Some people believe that your resignation as Speaker was as a result of 2015.

My resignation as Speaker is all political. Maybe 2015  is part of it. It is only natural that sometimes you become a threat to certain persons or people as it were and they just want to ensure that you are not there because your presence there becomes too much of an influence for them to deal with.

Meaning you were forced to resign?

I was not forced. I resigned in the interest of the state, because I have the capacity to also foment trouble and would get into a situation that, at the end of the day, it would be as if you have a certain interest. And if you are Speaker, you are just first among equals, you are serving the state. It must be made known that the trouble did not emanate from the House because there was no problem with the House, it was an external influence and that’s not the problem. And to forestall the breakdown of law and order, I resigned.

The gubernatorial ambition of Rt Hon Victor Ochei got a boost recently, when a ten man delegation of the South-South Youth Political Struggle (SSYPS) declared its support for the aspiration of the immediate past Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, as well as President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid.

The group’s Director of Media and Strategy, Mr Gabriel Choba who revealed this during a solidarity visit in Asaba, stated that their support for Rt Hon Ochei emanated from his impressive track record during his tenure as the Speaker of the state Legislature, as well as having the exceptional listening characteristic.
He further added that ‘’we have taken our stand by deciding to support and vote a man of the grassroots into the governorship position of the state believing that his antecedents will in no small measure ensure the replication of his accomplishments within the state’’.

Speaking also, the chairman of the group, Emmanuel Satu assured Rt Hon Ochei of their unconditional support in his quest for the governorship of the state, adding that ‘’as youths, we believe you are one of us, considering the fact that you are the youngest amongst aspirants, and as such, we expect a perfect synergy in the realisation of the axiom that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow’’

In his response, the Speaker emeritus expressed appreciation for the group’s confidence in him, promising to always carry along all strata of the society in the quest for developing the various facets of Delta state.

 

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