Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly.
By Chukwudi Abiandu
The curtain was this afternoon drawn on the activities of the Sixth Assembly of the Delta state House of Assembly after four years of seating, with members taking time one after the other to pour out their minds I their valedictory speeches, reflecting on their experiences during their legislative sojourn.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, who earned eulogies from his colleagues for what they called his outstanding display of good leadership skills that kept the House in stable order, stated: “Everything that has a beginning has an end. This is the reality today. I speak with mixed feelings because today’s sitting will mark the exit of some people from this Assembly, while also ensuring the coming in of others into the House.”
Of course, his speech was to the effect that some members could not be returned again through the hard fought electoral process. Some of such included the likes of Hon. Erijo (Isoko South II) who had spent four terms as a legislator since 1999, Hon. Denis Omovie, Hon. Daniel Mayuku, fondly called the Bossman by his colleagues, Rt. Hon. Peter Onwusanya, all of them were called the “Diokpas” of the Assembly. Diokpa means Elder. They were so called because of their long stay as legislators and the legislative experience they have gathered during their tenures.
Onwusanya was given the privilege to give his valedictory speech, and he said: “Indeed, sometimes it is hard to say good bye. I am thankful to God for all that I went through, how I came to the House was a miracle. I will remain grateful to the members of this Assembly, and I can never be grateful enough to members of my constituency, Oshimili South for giving me the opportunity to represent them. It gave me the opportunity to be a leader, and a political leader in the state. To the sixth Assembly, I want to say that I was made a better Deltan. In the sixth Assembly, and for three and half years, I sojourned at the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), and I am proud to have experienced being in the Assembly.”
Hon. Johnson Erijo said: “On this great day of valedictory session, I wished that this day will never come, having been in this hallowed chambers for 16 years, staring since 1999. I want to sincerely thank my constituents who have always brought me back. And I give the glory and honour to God. The legislature is the bedrock of the democratic setting. I have been engaged in many challenges at the beginning of this Assembly, but I thank God that I am exiting gloriously. I am exiting into uncertainty.”
Hon. Emeka Nwaobi (Aniocha North) thanked God and his constituents who in 2015 found him worthy to represent them. He recalled the tortuous road to his eventual appearance in the Assembly following a court verdict in his favour , he said the election litigation took much time, so much so that he missed the training sessions that would have opened him up to the legislative procedures.
Nwaobi said: “Today, I am going through an experience that I will call tragic-comedy since he was sworn-in same day with the late Hon. (Mrs) Omawumi Udor on January 192016, long after his colleagues had settled, and attended legislative training.” He then requested his colleagues to observe a minute silence in hour of their late colleague, Mrs Omawumi Udor, a rquest that was granted by the Speaker, and was observed.
Hon. N waobi called attention to his travails as a legislator, who, because of the long litigation process embarked on to claim his mandate, missed out being among his colleagues who had undergone series of trainings without him, but that as a result he had to learn the legislative ropes with difficulty. He said: “I learnt the hard way. I had to watch and learn from my colleagues in the Assembly chambers. But in the three and half years that I have spent in the House of Assembly, I have tapped from the experience of my collesagues.”
Hon. Ayibatonye Timi, PH.D, (Patani) aligned with those that said that it is difficult to make valedictory speech. Yet, whatever has a beginning must have an end. Having gone on a ride into the history of his sojourn into holding public offices, and thanking his colleagues, and thanking his constituents for the opportunity given him to represent them, Timi finally borrowed from the words of the late major General Mamman Vatsa and said: “I leave you with smiles.”
It was a different ball game for Hon. Samuel Mariere (Ughelli North 1 constituency). He thanked God for seeing him through “this stormy, treacherous, and murky water of legislative politics.” Mariere, who announced that he sponsored 25 bills, sent messages of advice to Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya on legislative behavior and discipline.
Hon. Izeze Oghenerumen Reuben (Ughelli South II), fondly called the activist legislator, he expressed his gratitude Hon. Johnson Erijo, who he described as master of the legislative House for teaching him how to learn the ropes of the legislative process. While praising the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Oborevwori for his sense of prudence, financial accountability, said “ He will not take a dime that belongs to members.” However, Reuben was full of venom for members who showed laxity and could not deliver as legislators. He said such persons have no reason to be legislators. “You cannot be a committee Chairman and not bring a report to the House, then you have no business being a legislator,” Izeze said.
Hon. (Dr.) Alphonsus Ojo (Ukwani) summarized his experience as a long serving member of the Assembly as the good, the bad and the ugly. He flayed the spirit of bitterness, grief, pain that were wrought in the Assembly. He decried the Ph.D syndrome and the pull him down syndrome that afflicted the assembly. He said: “Imagine when colleagues sponsor online media to publish lies and libel against their colleagues.” Sarcastically, Ojo said: “There is God o”, pointing out that the evil that men do live after them and with them. He recalled that that the coming of Oborevwori as Speaker repaired and repositioned the House, and went ahead to praise the wisdom, sagacity and the fear of God which he brought into hi style of administration. “I am setting aside, strong and fulfilled as a legislator,” Ojo said.
Hon. Ofobruku Efe (Uvwie), who the speaker greeted for bring laughter to the assembly, disclose that he learnt the art of coup plotting from Hon. Daniel Mayuku; the art of meeting in the night and planning. While pointing out that a lot had happened in the Assembly, and having worked with four past Speakers, he declared Speaker Oborevwori as transparent and honest in his dealing with his colleague lawmakers.
For Hon. Oboro Preyor (Bomadi), the lawmakers had to do what they did to Rt. Hon. Igbuya not because his colleagues hated him, but because “we wanted improved performancein the work of the leadership of the Assembly.” He expressed the concern that in the significant loss of legislative grundnorm, and regretted that most of the best brains in the legislature are exiting. “The Speaker has lived up to expectation,” he said.
Hon. (Mrs) Pat Ajudua (Oshimili North), and the majority chief whip of the House, revealed that she served six speakers so far and commended the stability that has returned to the assembly. She praised the Speaker for being a welfarist and a utilitarian. “Since Speaker Oborevwori came , there has not been any practical locking of the gate to the Assembly complex.”
Hon. Tim Owhefere, called “The undertaker” by his colleagues, for being the link between the government and the legislature, thanked his colleagues for the encomiums poured on him and for declaring that he did well as majority leader. He said: “I am doing well as House leader because the speaker is the leader. I wasn’t a part of the coup plot that brought you in. You are a wonderful person, Mr. Speaker; you have shown me love.”
Rt. Hon. Friday Ossai Osanebi , the assembly’s Deputy Speaker, return all glory to God for His faithfulness, in seeing him through, even as he noted that it is God who gives power and, takes power. He said whatever God cannot give him, he will not take. ‘I have no regrets following the Boss man of , saying that God used Mayuku to actualise my dreams.”
Full Text of Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori is published below.
VALEDICTORY SPEECH DELIVERED BY RT. HON. (CHIEF) SHERIFF F.O. OBOREVWORI (JP) MNIM, FICMC AT THE VALEDICTORY SESSION OF THE SIXTH ASSEMBLY OF DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON THURSDAY, 30TH DAY OF MAY, 2019
Today is a milestone in the life of the Sixth Assembly. The plenary today is ceremonial, it is our valedictory sitting. I will begin my speech by paying tribute to all the members that have spoken beautifully and frankly as well. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love by members. I have also taken note of your reservations in good stride. You have all demonstrated in your speeches that as members of Delta State Legislative family, we have in the course of the past four years, agreed, disagreed and sometimes disagreed to agree in various issues in our duties as members. I thank you sincerely.
My passion for the legislature dates back to 2007. However, in 2011, I made an unsuccessful attempt for the House. Fortunately, in 2015, my constituents found me worthy to represent them in the Sixth Assembly.
I came to the Assembly with a lot of hope and aspirations. I knew before hand that the Legislature is the right platform for me to attract developments for my people. So on the 8th of June, 2015 when the Sixth Assembly was inaugurated, I took certain cardinal resolutions towards realizing my goals in the Assembly. I made a promise to regularly attend sittings of the House as well as committee sittings.
I also decided to open my heart to learn the ropes in legislative practice and procedures. I took punctuality as a watchword in the business of the House. I also believe in teamwork for the business of the Sixth Assembly. Later, with the turn of fate, I added feedback mechanism to the resolutions. These were my driving force and parameters with which I measured my actions and inactions in the House.
I must not also forget to mention my mission and vision as a member of the Sixth Assembly. My mission was to give efficient and effective representation for my people, collaborate and harness ideas with my colleagues to engender peace, harmony and development across the twenty-nine (29) constituencies in the State. While my vision was to ensure partnership in progress between the legislature and the other arms of government for an improved Delta State.
As the saying goes, nobody knows the chart of destiny. On Thursday, 11th May, 2017 there was a change of top leadership of the House and fate bestowed on me, the Speakership of the House. Members of the House unanimously elected me the Speaker of the Sixth Assembly. I want each and every one of you to know that I owe you a debt of gratitude for this honour. I was not the most qualified nor the least qualified but you chose me in your magnanimity. God Almighty will surely reward you for this honour.
The Sixth Assembly was inaugurated on Monday, 8th June, 2015. In the course of the Legislative activities of the Sixth Assembly, the House received a total number of eighty-three (83) Bills. Out of the Bills received by the House forty-nine (49) were passed, two (2) fell through the legislative processes, six (6) were merged and twenty-six (26) are still pending in the House. However, out of the forty-nine Bills that were passed by the House, forty-five (45) of them were assented to by the Governor, His Excellency Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa. Four (4) of the Bills were however not assented to.
During the period under review, the House also received One hundred and seventy-seven (177) Motions which include Requests from the Executive Arm of Government. The House considered the Motions/Requests and approved One hundred and seventy-five (175) of them. Two (2) of the Motions were rejected by the House.
I will crave your indulgence to mention some of the Bills and Motions that were passed and approved by the Sixth Assembly. I want you to note from the onset that I am not in any way implying that these Bills and Motions are superior to other Bills and Motions passed and approved by the House. Some of the Bills and Motions are
- Delta State Contributory Health Commission Law, 2015
- Delta State Public Procurement Commission Agency Law, 2015
- Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2017
- Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Act, 2017
- Delta State Public and Private Property Protection Law, 2018
- Delta State Audit Law, 2018
- Delta State Public Finance Management Law, 2018
- Delta State House of Assembly Fund Management (Financial Autonomy) Law, 2018
- Delta State Water Law, 2016
- Warri/Uvwie Environs Special Areas Development Agency Law, 2019
v Establishment of Agro-Industrial park at Aboh Ogwashi-uku through public private partnership (PPP)
v Devastating Landslide/Coastal erosion at Akugbene Community in Bomadi L.G.A
v Provision of relief material to Ogbe-udu Community in Udu Local Government
v Abuse of narcotic drugs and other psychotropic substances in Delta State
v Demand for the speedy trial of the suspect who murdered Miss Elozino Joshua Ogege
v Unlawful and illegal invasion, massacre and occupation of Ovre R’Eku Community in Ethiope East L.G.A;
to mention but a few.
Furthermore, the Sixth Assembly synchronized with the Executive Arm of Government to hasten development to the nooks and crannies of the State. We were able to achieve this because we regarded the State budget as the most essential policy tool for development. To the credit of the Sixth Assembly, the Appropriation Law, that is, the State Budgets for 2018 and 2019 were presented, considered and passed at record time. Both Budgets were assented to in December 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Away from Bills and Motions, the Sixth Assembly also placed premium on human capital development. To attain excellence in our duties, members of the Sixth Assembly were afforded training in one of the best schools in the world. Members and top management of the House were trained in Management and Leadership skills by the famous and reputable London School of Economics in 2018. Legislative prowess of members were also boosted in 2017 at the International Law Institute, Washington DC.
Owing to the significant role played by staff of the House, leadership of the Sixth Assembly has also extended Capacity Building to the Management and Staff of the House. This was important because the Management and Staff are the repository of legislative practice and procedures of the House.
When the Sixth Assembly was inaugurated in June 2015, we met regular power failure challenges on ground. The light was not stable in the office and at the quarters. The situation was an impediment to our work. The leadership of the House with the support of members migrated the office and the quarters to the 33 KVA line. Today, the House now functions with minimal power interruption.
In addition, the Sixth Assembly also took seriously the welfare of the staff of the Assembly. The controversial issue of staff outfit has been laid to rest. Staff now receive their outfit allowance along with their salaries at the anniversary of their employments. The leadership of the Sixth Assembly has also maintained and sustained the Assembly’s Clinic. The clinic provides services for members, political aides and staff of the Assembly.
One very important achievement of the Sixth Assembly was our systematic interface between members and their constituents through constituency visits and empowerment programmes. As you know, the Sixth Assembly was emphatic on regular constituency outreaches by members to promote government policies and programmes in our various constituencies. I guess this paid off for most of us during the last general elections.
My dear colleagues, we could not have achieved these feats without your corporation and support. I therefore wish to thank profusely the Principal Officers and indeed all the members of the House.
Let me specially thank Rt. Hon. (Chief) Peter Onwusanya for always bringing his wealth of experience to bear in our deliberations. He was a stabilizing force in the House. Thank you. To my brother Rt. Hon. (Chief) Monday Igbuya, I thank you also for your contributions to the House. Hon. (Prince) Johnson Erijo, you are the legislative Socrates of the House. The Seventh Assembly will miss your reservoir of legislative experience. Hon. Denis Omovie Esq; your legacy in the House will continue to speak for you, thank you my brother. Hon. Daniel Mayuku Esq; you remain my reliable and dependable brother, thank you so much. Hon. Engr. Emeka Nwaobi, I thank you for your contributions to the House, both in plenary and in your Committee, especially as vice chairman, Committee on Appropriation and Finance. God bless you. Hon. Angela Nwaka, thank you for your contributions in plenary. Hon. (Chief) Daniel Yingi, I cherish your friendship and support. Hon. Kennedy Daubry, thank you for your support as well. Hon. (Chief) Evance Ivwurie, you are a man that pursue your course with a passion. You made your mark in your assignment as Chairman Committee on Works. The House is grateful to you. Hon. Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, my wonderful sister, I am grateful for your support. Thank you for your contributions for the appropriation process in the House. Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri, your name is now synonymous with Public Account Committee (PAC). Your commitment and sense of duty is not in doubt. Thank you so much. Hon. Festus Chukwuyem Okoh, thank you for being there for me. You remain a good friend to me though you have legislatively refused to turn in your report for my Bill. Hon. Orezi Jane Edna Esievo Esq; you are soft but principled, you always insist on the right things to be done at all times. The House will surely miss your voice. Hon. Azuka Azaka, you are always objective with issues, keep it up my brother. Hon. (Alaowei) Ayibatonye Timi Ph.D, the perfect gentleman of the House. Your attention to details stands you out among your equals. Thank you for your contributions to the House. Hon. (Chief) Peter Okagbare Uviejitobor, thank you for your zeal to always air your views in matters before the House. Hon. (Omiragua) Samuel Mariere Esq; your tenacity on issues cannot be forgotten. You are a sound mind. Hon. (Comr.) Izeze Rume Yakubu Reuben Esq; the legislative activist. You know I cherish your drive for knowledge but legislative business is about horse-trading; sometimes you give, some other times you take. You are a wonderful brother. Hon. Dr. Alphonsus Ojo, thank you for your passion and sense of duty. Hon. Efe Ofobruku, you always make the House lively. In the midst of your jokes you push home your points. Thank you so much. Hon. Princess Shola Ogbemi-Daibo, my sister from the great Warri kingdom. Within a short space of time that you joined the House, you have been able to master the rudiments of the House. I am grateful for your support to the leadership of the House. Hon. Prince Eric Oharisi, Majority Whip, you are my brother any time any day. Hon. Prince Michael Diden, Deputy Chief Whip, I regard you dearly in my heart. Hon. Engr. Oboro Preyor, Deputy Majority Leader, thanks for being there for me at all times. You are a dependable friend. Hon. (Evang.) Princess Pat Ajudua Esq; Chief Whip, God will bless you for your support. Hon. Tim Kome Owhefere (KSC) Esq; Majority Leader, thank you for being there for me. You are surely a distinctive leader. Rt. Hon. (Comr.) Friday Ossai Osanebi, my Deputy Speaker, I salute you. you are very young but mighty. I treasure the times we worked together as a team. God bless you. I will not fail to acknowledge our late colleague, Hon. (Mrs.) Beatrice Omawumi Udoh, who passed away while in active service. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace, amen.
My dear colleagues, the Sixth Assembly was a great team, regrettably, some of our colleagues are exiting from the House now. Nonetheless, they remain forever non-sitting members of the Delta State House of Assembly. For those members that are leaving, I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours. I also request on behalf of the House that any time your knowledge and services are needed, you would be kind enough to make yourself available for us.
On this note, I want to sincerely thank God Almighty for seeing us through these four years. According to Romans 9:16 God says “so then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth but of God that showeth mercy”. I therefore return all the achievements, successes and glory back to
Let me specially thank His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, our dear Governor, for his support and understanding for the House. He is one man that respects the fundamentals of the separation of powers that exist among the three arms of government. We are grateful to you sir.
May I also thank all our constituents for giving us the opportunity to represent them in the Sixth Assembly. Life is an opportunity for continuous learning. No one is perfect. If in the course of discharging our duties we have erred in any way, I ask on behalf of all the members for your forgiveness. It may not have been done deliberately. I also know that in public service, ones actions may not be acceptable to all persons at the same time. Sometimes, the dissenting views might be cogent. But I want to assure you that whatever we did as a House was for the good of the State.
Finally, I wish to thank the Clerk, Management and staff of the Assembly for their support for the leadership and members of the House. I must tell you, we enjoyed working with your team. The Assembly staff are one of the best in the country. We ask that you keep up your good work for the Seventh Assembly. I also want to appreciate our Aides, we acknowledge all your efforts and support for us. Thank you for being there for us.
I would like to end with these words of advice:
“The democracy is ours and is for us, let us play our parts decently and with a sense of responsibility, whenever and wherever we are called to serve”.
God bless you.