Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori is member  representing Okpe constituency in Delta State House of Assembly. He is one of the strong voices in the House and has been able to influence some projects to his area in less than one year in the legislature.

In this interview, Oborevwori speaks on his activities in the House, the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa government and the removal of fuel subsidy.

How has it been since you joined politics?

I have been in active politics for over two decades now and it has been very exciting.

When did you conceive the ambition to run for the state House of Assembly and what motivated you?

First, I was a councillor over two decades ago and I have passion for my people; it is my desire to impact on them positively and the only way to do this is through holding political position. I nursed the ambition to run for the state House of Assembly seat to represent Okpe constituency in 2006. The man that was there then is my friend and I supported him during his election but when they said there was no third term, I decided to run but I didn’t get it then. I ran again in 2015 and I am here today serving  as legislator.

Considering the fact that you are Urhobo where you have strong opposition in Chief Great Ogboru. What gave you the confidence that you were going to run for the House of Assembly seat and   win the election under the PDP?

Everybody has his area of strength and support. Ogboru has his area; I have my own. In my constituency, I am well known and I am a grassroots man. The issue of Ogboru running had nothing to do with my own election or even with the governor’s election in my constituency, and that is why in the last elections, I tested  my popularity and we insisted that we must use the card reader and, at the end of the day, we won overwhelmingly. We won in nine of the ten wards in my local government.

Since you came into the House, what have you done differently from your predecessor?

Apart from the business of lawmaking for the good governance of the state, I  am doing my best to attract government projects to my constituency. My priority is to make my people feel the impact of democracy in the true sense of it.

I have the support of my colleagues in the House and because of this I have been able to move motions to impact on my people even within this very short period in the House.

What are some of your achievements in the last eleven months going to twelve now?

I can tell you confidently that despite the fall in revenue, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has actually done much in my constituency in terms of projects for which we are very grateful to him. Within this short period of less than one year, there are several ongoing projects like the Orerokpe Modern Market; Orodje Road; Ejirere Road; Omonigbo Road; Okotolor Road and even the resurfacing of the Jeddo and Ughotor roads.   I remember during my campaigns I could not pass some of these roads but now some of them are very motorable while others are ongoing.

I must commend the governor, because I don’t know how he manages to get the funds. I think the Governor has tried for us in Okpe in this last one year and I know he will still do more for us. And our part as a constituency, we will continue to support him.

Talking about Okowa, what would you say are some of his achievements in the last one year?

Like I said before, the governor knows the needs of the people. One of the major problems we have in this country is unemployment and he came out with his SMART agenda which created this youth empowerment programme where over 1,300 youths were selected across all the local governments, trained and were given starter packs.

There are several projects completed and ongoing across the state. Another area the governor has done well is the payment of worker’s salaries. Despite the dwindling revenue, he has been consistent in the payment of salaries. He has also been supporting the local governments. He gives them over N600million on monthly basis.

As an Urhobo, will you say the ethnic nationality is having its fair share under Okowa’s administration?

Yes, one hundred percent. Since over 25years that I have been in politics, I have never seen the type of appointments the governor has given out to the Urhobo before. In my local government, we have over 12 persons appointed into various positions. But in the past, after they appoint a  Commissioner, maybe a Special Adviser and few Board members, no more appointments goes to that area. But in the case of  Okowa, I will confidently tell you that these appointments cut across the three senatorial districts but the appointments in the Central is very high.   Another thing I like about the governor is that if you work for him you will never regret it. Those that sincerely worked for him were given appointments and that   is what a good politician ought to do and I tell you if we run election today in the Central he will still win.

What is your take on the choice of Barrister Kingsley Esiso as the state PDP Chairman?

Barrister Kingsley Esiso is someone I know very well. There were many qualified contenders, but everybody cannot be party Chairman at a time. So the people preferred Esiso at this material time and, frankly, he is a very good and popular choice.

Talking about the job creation programmes like the YAGEP and STEP, how have you been able to influence youths in your constituency to participate?

I ensured my youths keyed into the program. A large number of them benefitted. One thing that make these programs outstanding is the sincerity with which the Governor is pursuing it.

In another three years, over 4,000 youths would have been taken off the labour market. Okowa wants to put an end to joblessness by creating wealth for the people.

Do you see this step as a good step towards tackling youth unemployment?

Yes. Those who participated are now gainfully employed. As a starting point it has helped and many more will be  meaningfully engaged through this.

May 29 is around the corner, the governor will be marking one year in office, what will be your word for Deltans?

My advice for Deltans is to continue to support the governor. Within one year, even with the low revenue, he has been able to manage the state very well; the state does not owe workers salaries and projects are still being embarked upon; some completed; some ongoing. I believe that if the economy improves, Okowa will do more.

What is your assessment of the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari in face of the recent fuel hike?

The President ought to have consulted with stakeholders including the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and the civil society organisations before removing the fuel subsidy  because we don’t even have the money to fund it.

And since we don’t have the money, the best option is to remove it but the process was wrong. This is not a military regime; let’s face reality. I think the  APC does not have plans to rule Nigeria or rather they were not ready for governance. Perhaps they didn’t know they would win the presidential election; so managing the victory is a problem.

In looking at what President Buhari has done so far, do you think that the PDP will be able to wrest power at the national level from the APC in 2019?

The PDP is still very strong. I can tell you that APC doesn’t have structure, they are trying to stabilize. What they are trying to do now is to make money and empower their people ahead of 2019. You have to plan, you have to strategize. Looking at Delta State, they don’t have structure on ground. It is not a matter of going on the pages of newspaper to make noise.

PDP doesn’t make noise in Delta State but come anytime; Delta State is a PDP state. You don’t even need much campaign because what the Governor is doing now is campaigning for him; it is campaigning for all of us. Are you telling me we will not win elections in Okpe? We will surely win because the government is constructing roads, they are building markets and a lot of things, there are lots of empowerments. So it is not about giving out money; leadership is about what you have done that you will be remembered for; your legacy, when you leave tomorrow you must have something to show. But if you don’t have structure, you didn’t make any impact there is no way; you would have failed. As a leader, as a governor you must have something to show. Let me tell you the few things that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has done, few months ago, I raised a motion on the floor of the House on matters of urgent public importance on the Sapele/Benin road. I was travelling and I was stock there for about three and half hours, it was really terrible and what did I do, in the next sitting, I raised a motion, matters of urgent public importance on that road (it is a Federal Government road) urging the governor to intervene and the governor intervened.

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