By Iteveh Ekpokpobe
The Sixth Assembly left its mark with the exit of legislative colossuses in the persons of Honourables Johnson Erijo, Daniel Mayuku, Dennis Omovie, Peter Onwusanya and many others who contributed a viable quota to placing the State Assembly at a height for envy.
That Assembly had two Speakers. One in the beginning and another towards the end.
May be it is his poise. Or better still, his humility in leadership. For, although a first timer in that Assembly, the member representing Okpe Constituency, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori would mount that revered seat as Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly and third in the hierarchy of the state’s leadership.
Even if it was fate or maybe dint of luck, a right attitude was needed to sustain the tempo with which he led the house.
On Monday 10 June, 2019, a fresh page for legislative history was opened with the inauguration of the Seventh Assembly of Delta State Parliament.
The inauguration was punctuated with the unanimous election of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori and Rt. Hon. Ochor Christopher Ochor as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.
There were several actors in the game; both covert and overt. Nevertheless, one thing sure was that a Speaker must emerge from the membership rank of the Seventh Assembly which looks quite promising judging by the caliber of former members, season technocrats, business moguls and cerebral politicians.
Oborevwori’s election as Speaker sets new records. He is hence the first Speaker to be reelected in the history of the Delta State Parliament. He is also, at best, the first member to preside over two Assemblies as Speaker of the most coveted Delta State Hallowed Chamber.
His election was a confirmation to speculations that Speaker of the Seventh Assembly was likely to emerge from the Delta Central block, even as Ethiope West, Hon. Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, Uvwie returnee, Hon. Solomon Ighrakpata and Ughelli South, Hon. Rueben Izeze were fingered to slug it out with Oborevwori, who stepped in that morning, clad with a three piece navy blue tuxedo and orange long sleeve shirt to match.
As much as Ethiope West, Hon. Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu was rumoured to be favoured in the race in view of her background as daughter to former Governor and Political Leader of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, fate obviously was on the side of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori following statements in political quarters.
Oborevwori’s election may have been expected. But Rt. Hon. Ochor Christopher Ochor as Deputy Speaker came as a shocker to many. A return to status quo with Rt. Hon. Osanebi was on their lips. On the contrary, fate had its way.
Adorned in a flowing white native attire and a red cap, Ochor stood and confirmed his nomination. But for rules which barred members and spectators from applause, the house may have been an opera of claps. And so was it…
Today, the Membership of the newly inaugurated Seventh Assembly includes 17 new members and 12 reelected members.
The Returnee members are; Okpe Constituency, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Ndokwa East, Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi, Isoko North, Hon. Tim Owhefere, Oshimili North, Hon. Pat Ajudua, Bomadi, Hon. Oboro Preyor, Ika North East, Hon. Emeka Elekeokwuri, Ika South, Hon. Festus Okoh, Aniocha North, Hon. Emeka Nwaobi, Ethiope West, Hon. Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, Udu, Hon. Peter Uviejitobor, Ughelli South, Hon. Rueben Izeze, Uvwie, Hon. Solomon Ighrakpata.
The 17 new members are, Isoko South I, Hon. Kenneth Ogba, Isoko South II, Hon. Ferguson Onwo, Oshimili South, Hon. Shedrack Rapu, Sapele, Hon. Felix Anirah, Burutu I, Hon. Asupa Forteta, Burutu II, Hon. Pullah Ekpotueyerin, Warri South West, Hon. Emomotimi Guwor, Ndokwa West, Hon. Charles Emetulu, Ukwuani, Hon. Ochor Ochor, Aniocha South.
Others are; Hon. Austin Chikezie, Patani, Hon. Emmanuel Sinebe, Warri South, Hon. Fred Martins, Warri South I, Hon. Uroye, Warri South II, Hon. Matthew Opouru, Ethiope East, Hon. Anidi Anthony, Ughelli North I, Hon. Charles Oniyere and Ughelli North II, Hon. Moses Anaughe.
The inauguration followed a proclamation by the State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa through a letter Dated 6 day of June, 2019 and read by the Clerk, Barr. Lyna Ocholor, citing the 1999 Constitutional provisions of section 105 subsection three (3).
Barr. Ocholor, thereafter congratulated the members, expressing the belief that members will apply their selves in ensuring the dividends of democracy to their people through the legislations.
Thereafter, the list of members as sent from INEC was read in alphabetical order and copies of return certificate were submitted.
Election of Speaker and Deputy
Earlier, following the dictate of the Clerk, election proceedings for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker commenced.
Member representing Isoko North, Hon. Tim Owhefere nominated the immediate past Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori and was seconded by member representing Ika South, Hon. Festus Okoh.
The clerk asked the nominee, Oborevwori for his consent to nomination which he obliged.
By unanimous vote, the Clerk declared Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori as Speaker of the Seventh Assembly.
In the same vein, member representing Ika North East, Hon. Emeka Elekeowuri, nominated Hon. Ochor Ochor as Deputy Speaker and was seconded by member representing Ughelli South, Hon. Rueben Izeze.
He was unanimously elected.
The Speaker and Deputy Speaker took turns to affirm to the oath of allegiance to the Federal Republic and oath of office.
In his inaugural speech, the newly Sworn Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori thanked members for the trust and honor place on him to serve again as Speaker of the house.
According to him, he was not unaware of the challenges that came with the responsibility, affirming his commitment to always draw from their advice and cooperation and to serve with dignity and honor.
He said, “I believe as a team we can make our assembly the envy of other state legislature. Let’s bring our best to bear in order to sustain our poise as the most vibrant house in Nigeria. We must be accountable and legislate honestly to fulfil our social contracts to our constituents.”
The house went on a 15 break were the mace was lowered as directed by the Speaker.
Resuming plenary, the Speaker later proceeded into the chambers adorned on a complete legislative regalia and flanked by the Deputy Speaker who was also adorned.
Thereafter the oath of members commenced at about 11.25am, were members took turns in fives to swear oaths and append their signatures.
Communication of Inauguration to Governor
Accordingly, member representing Bomadi Constituency, Hon. Oboro Preyor, moved a motion for the house to inform the governor of the inauguration of the Seventh Assembly as well as the election of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori of Okpe and Rt. Hon. Ochor Ochor of Ukwuani as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively and that the house is fully constituted to begin legislation. He was seconded by member representing Aniocha North, Hon. Emeka Nwaobi.