Understandably, attempts were made, albeit glibly, to portray the then candidate Oborevwori as unsuitable for the leadership of the state, giving the diversity and multi-ethnic colouration of the people. “Why would you want to make someone who says he’s a street man governor?”, they asked.
Their perception seemed to have been bolstered when at a rally in Effurun in Uvwie Local Government, the then candidate openly declared: “I have street credibility!” From then on, the opposition, especially the All Progressives Congress (APC) tried to latch on the declaration in the vain belief that they would succeed in de-marketing him.
However, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and majority of Deltans were not sold on the vile attempt to bring down a candidate with a mass appeal, who is God-fearing and openly associated with the people by declaring that he had street credibility. Definitely, it is the perception that Sheriff was one of their own that made him win overwhelmingly at the polls.
It is on record that PDP, with Oborevwori as its gubernatorial candidate thrashed APC, Labour Party (LP) and other political parties in the March 18, 2023 governorship poll conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). PDP won 21 out of 25 local governments in the state, while APC trailed a very distant second with only four councils.
But the Governor has adequately and rightly put cynics to shame since assuming office on May 29, 2023. His compassion and humanity has been etched on all parts of the state. And increasingly, the import of his street credibility is already making sense to a majority of the people.
Oborevwori Redeems Pledge To Warri Community
No soon after he took over the reins of office on May 29, 2023, Governor Oborevwori visited Warri South Local Government on an inspection of the multi billion naira storm water drainage project. It was meant to be an on-the-spot assessment of the project, with a view to avert flooding in the Warri/Uvwie axis and thereby ensure that the oil rich city returns to its glory days.
Expectedly, residents trooped out to catch a glimpse of their governor. In particular, residents of First Marine Gate came out in their droves. While showering encomiums on the state chief executive for a job well done, they told him of their plight and how they had lived in perennial darkness for years as a result of a faulty transformer.
Moved by the pleas of the people, the Governor instantly ordered that the faulty transformer be replaced, a pledge which was fulfilled within a week. A 500kva transformer was delivered on behalf of the government by Warri South Council Chairman, Dr. Michael Tidi.
Presenting the transformer to the community, Tidi urged the people to take ownership of the transformer and protect it from vandals. Represented by the Secretary to the Warri South Local Government, Mr. Joseph Oribioye, Tidi said that delivering the transformer to the community just one week after the approval by the Delta State Governor has shown that Governor Oborevwori is a promise keeper.
The council boss urged the people to remain peaceful and supportive of government programmes and policies, assuring that the Oborevwori administration was determined to do more for Deltans. “One week ago, Governor Oborevwori made a promise to you people that he was going to give you a brand new transformer. Today, to God be the glory, the transformer is here. This transformer is 500KVA, eleven lines, ABB product, the best in the world and it also comes with a two-year warranty.
Receiving the transformer, Chairman of the community, Mr. Omoefe Agaga, thanked the Governor for the kind gesture, promising to protect the transformer from vandals. A resident of the area, Mrs. Shola Onobokhua, who drew the attention of the Governor to the lack of a transformer during the inspection, could not hide her joy when she saw the transformer being mounted on the street.
“I cannot thank the Governor enough. For more two years now, we have been in darkness. So when I heard that the Governor was coming to our area, I gathered some of my friends and we made sure we told the governor our pains. God will continue to bless Governor Sheriff Oborevwori for us,” Mrs. Onobokhua said.
The visit to family of two-year-old killed by NDLEA officials
Thursday, July 13, 2023 was a sad day for the Omorhiakogbe family as news filtered that their two year old son, Ivan, had been killed by stray bullet from operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Okpanam, on the outskirts of Asaba, the state capital. Also worrisome was the report that Ivan’s younger sibling, Eronmosele was battling for life at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba as a result of the stray bullets that hit him.
Bothered by the unwholesome development, Governor Oborevwori, could not hold back his grief. He visited the family of two-year-old Ivan Omorhiakogbe at the hospital to commiserate with them and to assess, first hand, the medical condition of one year old Eronmosele hit in the left eye.
The Governor expressed condolences to the family on the unfortunate demise of Ivan and promised that all efforts would be made to bring the culprits to justice. He told them that the Police were already investigating the matter and would make their findings known to the general public at the conclusion of the inquiry.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Delta State, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to you and your family over the loss of your son, Ivan. We have great confidence in the Police, and as you know, they are conducting their investigation. They will not make the outcome public until they have completed their investigations. So rest assured that the culprits will be held accountable. I commiserate with your family for this loss, and I am happy that Eromonsele is recovering,” he said.
Oborevwori commended the medical personnel at the hospital for their proactive treatment of the younger sibling, assuring that the State Government would cover all the medical expenses related to the incident.
“Let me also express appreciation to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba for the proactive action they have taken so far since the incident occured. I had earlier sent people here to find out what they are doing, and I am pleased that they were able to save Eromonsele’s life, and I believe he will recover fully. The State Government will cover the costs of the hospital treatment, so the family should not worry about the expenses”, he vowed.
The State Commissioner of Police, CP Wale Abass, who was in the governor’s entourage also assured Deltans and the family of the Command’s commitment to ensuring a thorough investigation into the matter.
In a briefing to the Governor earlier, the Head of the Ophthalmology Department at the hospital, Dr Ernest Ogbedo, stated that they had successfully covered the eye to prevent infections from entering, adding that further surgeries would be conducted on the eye.
“We have performed one surgery, but the child will require additional surgeries because there is an eye injury that the doctors have addressed and covered. We conducted an X-ray, and fortunately, there were no bullet fragments present. However, we will conduct further investigations to assess the extent of the injury. We have successfully covered the eye to prevent infections and other diseases,” Dr Ogbedo said.
Empathy for Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh Debacle
The recent escalation of hostilities between Aladja community in Udu Local Government and Ogbe-Ijoh in Warri South West Local Government may have come as a surprise to many. This was especially because it was not too long that both communities signed peace pact. The expectation, therefore, was that relative peace would be sustained for a while.
But the eruption of the protracted crisis saw an end to the anticipated peace in the affected areas. Security forces were immediately drafted to restore order. The State Government also swung into action to ensure that lasting peace was found, to pave way for meaningful development.
However, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori’s deployment of non-kinetic strategy must be commended, as it has given hope of more enduring peace between the warring communities. He directed the traditional institution to step in, leading to a rapproachment, quite unprecedented in recent times.
As a result, the Orodje of Okpe, His Royal Majesty, King Felix Mujakperuo, Chairman of the Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers, summoned monarchs from both Urhobo and Ijaw nations to his palace. The Ovie of Uvwie, Oborevwori’s second homeland after Okpe, HRM Abe 1, Chairman of Urhobo Traditional Rulers Council led other traditional rulers to the meeting. The Ijaw Traditional Rulers Council was led by its chairman, HRM Elder (Capt.) Joseph Timiyan, the Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha kingdom.
In arriving at a meaningful resolution, the royal fathers were guided by the Governor’s clear message to the communities that were up in arms: “No amount of land is worth dying for because when you fight and kill yourselves, the land will still remain”. Ultimately, it is hoped that lasting peace has been restored following the royal intervention as directed by the state’s number one citizen.
At every turn, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori’s humanity continues to shine for everyone to see. He has not made any pretences about his deep religious roots, which has earned him the title of an Elder in the church. His humanity and street credibility are two identifiable take aways from a man with outstanding accomplishments in other areas, including providing employment for Deltans at the state and local government levels and investment in social and physical infrastructure.
Definitely, a 100 days is a very short time for meaningful assessment. But, for a man who hit the ground running from first day in office, reasonable milestones can be identified within the period under review. For the Governor of Delta State, it is safe to say his morning has revealed how bright the rest of the day would be.
*Felix Ofou is Executive Assistant, New Media, to Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Governor of Delta State.*