Victor Onyekachi Ochei is a man who strongly believes in his own political convictions and in the course of his chequered and impressively illustrious and quite dramatic political trajectory, he has often been proved, both at a personal level and in the face of cold hard analysis, to be more right than wrong.
From his very first victory as a legislator representing Aniocha North constituency in the Delta State Legislature, through his three terms elections, Ochei has often worked against and surmounted what appeared in those instances to be unassailable odds, save perhaps for his last election and indeed his eventually emergence as Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, where the outpouring of support and acceptance was unanimous and overwhelming.
His reign as Speaker of the Delta Assembly, from every critical perspective, has been acclaimed as the most progressive, dynamic, robust and innovative tenure in the history of the House so far. His committed zeal to impact aesthetic, infrastructure, legislative and administrative reforms across the Delta State House of Assembly, was as revolutionary as it was unexpected but in the end, his convictions were once again justified, as the massive transformation achieved in the appearance, essence, productivity and legislative quality of the collective Assembly, attests.
But beyond the pan Delta responsibility which he was saddled with as Speaker, Ochei, by his visionary leadership, articulate responsiveness, vibrant dynamism and most importantly his fearless and courageous mien to always lead from the front and by example, made the Anioma man a proud and recognized key stakeholder in the unraveling evolution of the political calculations in Delta State.
The mysterious gang-up which eventually unseated him as Speaker of the Delta Assembly, was not hinged on any justifiable allegation of legislative or administrative misdemeanor against him, save for the desperation of those who were truly frightened by his phenomenal rising political profile and indeed the snide invidious agenda by certain interests, to once again ridicule and undermine the Anioma essence and entity in the run up to the 2015 governorship elections.
But by the time the plot to remove him was hatched however, Ochei had apparently completed his mission at the Delta State House of Assembly because he had already told Deltans that he had no intention to return to the Assembly for a fourth term as he already had his convictions set for higher responsibility.
To say that some very key and top Anioma political leaders were part of the high powered plot to remove Ochei, their Anioma brother, as Speaker of the state Assembly, is to state the very obvious, but in-spite of the treachery, Ochei held his head high, traversed the length and breadth of the state in pursuit of his quest of higher political calling and in the process, garnered tremendous popularity and positioned Anioma as a veritable and favoured competitor in an all inclusive governorship race in 2015.
Thus it was that when the grand agenda to foist an unpopular aspirant on Anioma people as the chosen one, by those who do not have Delta North interest at heart, Ochei was the only politician who first stood out, and while other Anioma advocates, including the then Delta State PDP Chairman, were chanting the mantra, “Anioma at all cost, no matter who it is”, Ochei stood firm on his conviction that if Delta North must produce the next governor, then he/she must be emblematic of the Anioma desire to govern Delta and also be a true symbol of the brilliance, articulation, capacity, charisma and collective acceptance of Delta North as the choice of Deltans.
It was little wonder therefore that even whilst most of the PDP Anioma Governorship aspirants were ready and had even willingly volunteered to be compromised and allow the foisting of an unpopular Anioma candidate on the Party and the Anioma people, Ochei courageously stood his ground, attending all the relevant parleys to harmonize the Anioma governorship position, yet leaving no one in doubt that he would not quit the race until a credible Delta North candidate eventually emerged after the Primaries.
Ochei’s gallant stand on his conviction to see the ultimate crowing of a worthy Delta North aspirant as the PDP governorship candidate had a double-edged impact on the governorship race in the Delta PDP. First, it opened the eyes of other aspirants, who were not really on ground, to the fact that they were been sold a dummy by those who were desperate to impose an unpopular candidate on the party and secondly, it contributed tremendously to the confusion which eventually culminated in the decision to humiliate Anioma and Delta North so brazenly, by the embarrassing and pathetic manner with which the Anioma aspirant, hitherto touted as ‘game changer’ was jettisoned and ultimately became ‘game abandoned’.
But most importantly, Ochei’s firm conviction that a credible Anioma candidate must emerge as the PDP flag bearer, finally exposed the deceitful nature of those who claimed to have Anioma interest at heart by propping and supporting an unpopular candidate as their choice.
The speed and unapologetic fervor with which the former sponsors of the unpopular Delta North aspirant, quickly switched allegiance to Delta Central and deployed its full arsenal to the campaign structure of a completely political green horn, instead of another of the many qualified Delta Northerners in the race, simply stupefied and stunned majority of the other PDP Delta North aspirants, prompting them into a late allegiance with the eventual winner of the Primaries, and once again justifying Ochei’s conviction to stand firm.
But the battle was not yet over, especially given the barefaced treachery of the authorities to abandon Anioma at the last minute and many discerning Delta Political analysts have not only acclaimed Ochei’s gallant showing at the Primaries where he placed an impressive third with over 100 delegate votes, even when he was fighting on his own steam, they have equally suggested that Ochei’s brave conviction to contest the primaries, ensured that the plan of the authorities to mop up those over 100 delegates with all kinds of inducement to support the Delta central candidate, failed woefully, thus clearing the way for the favoured Delta North candidate, Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, to emerge victorious in the end.
To fully underscore his conviction that the right Delta North man eventually emerged as the PDP governorship flag-bearer, Ochei, was among the very first to congratulate Senator Ifeanyi Okowa on his victory and pledge his full support to the governorship campaign, a conviction he further demonstrated by attending the inaugural Delta PDP campaign committee meeting to work for Dr. Okowa and indeed President Goodluck Jonathan.
Having satisfied his conviction to ensure the emergence of a credible and acceptable PDP Anioma governorship candidate, it was now time to pursue his second conviction to seek higher political office, which he had already announced and thus continue to deliver qualitative leadership and the dividends of democracy to his beloved Delta North zone, just like he did as Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly.
Considering his gallant showing at the PDP governorship primaries, Victor Ochei would have been a much coveted Governorship candidate for any of the other political parties, but instead of seeking the governorship ticket under another platform, Ochei opted rather to seek the Delta North Senatorial seat ticket under the Accord party, a friendly ally which had established a mutually beneficial alliance with the PDP in Delta state over the years.
Delta Political watchers have since come to the conclusion that Ochei’s decision not to contest the Delta governorship race under another party platform, was in loyal and unconditional deference to Dr. Okowa, who he has wholly embraced and endorsed as his governorship candidate of choice, but most importantly it was also to avoid replicating the politically messy situation in Delta Central which has two Governorship candidates, in Delta North, thus clearing the way for Senator Okowa to fully enjoy the entire support of Anioma as their sole candidate and giving Delta North the pride of place as a united people, with one beloved candidate.
The fact that Hon. Ochei decided to contest the Delta North Senatorial seat under the platform of the Accord Party means that the Anioma people have now been given a choice to decide the Senator to take over from Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and represent them in Abuja, instead of having someone imposed on them by certain interests.
The people of Delta North still remember vividly, how Senator Okowa himself battled the powers that be, including the PDP as represented by the state Party Chairman at that time, in 2011, to emerge as the Delta North PDP Senatorial candidate, a battle in which Ochei himself played a leading role in ensuring that Dr. Okowa emerged victorious.
Having been in the political trenches and battled against herculean odds in his political career, Ochei has no illusions that this particular Delta North Senatorial seat battle will be any easier than his previous political engagements and that is why he has campaigned vigourously, across the length and breadth of Anioma to once again sell himself as the best candidate for Delta North in the Senate.
Amongst all the distinguished candidates contesting against him for the Delta North Senatorial seat, Hon. Victor Ochei’s credentials as an outstanding and excellent law maker and legislator of 12 years standing and indeed, chairman of the Education Committee amongst others, as well as a meritorious Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, whose election and ascension was not challenged by anybody, stands him out as the most qualified and speaks volumes for the quality and articulation he will he will bring to a process he is already so familiar with, when he becomes Senator.
It is equally on record that he also built fantastic political bridges and established far reaching and well respected connections with the political structures in Abuja during his days as Speaker of the Delta Assembly, especially with the innovative programmes and cerebral activities he organized for which top lawmakers, not only in the S/South but also across the country, participated. He was even the Chairman of the S/South Speakers forum and would have become the Chairman of the Nigerian Speakers Forum, if not for his desire to deepen democracy and foster unity amongst the forum.
A post-modern thinker with a charismatic personality and a futuristic visionary leadership mindset, a level headed human being not given to rash, abrasive, confrontational, disgraceful and querulous public outbursts, Hon. Victor Ochei, who firmly believes that Power comes from God not man, clocked 46 years on Wednesday February 25, 2015 and has youth and bundles of energy in abundance going for him.
Like a very senior Delta North political figure said, when asked his opinion about Ochei’s quest for the Delta North Senatorial seat: “Rt. Hon. Victor Onyekachi Ochei is just tailor made for the job. There is a difference between putting a round peg in a round hole instead of putting a square peg in a round hole. Anioma and Delta North could not have been more blessed to have such a young, dynamic, brilliant and patriotic son, who is always willing and ready to champion the Anioma agenda all the time.
“He deserves to take over from Senator Okowa, and be the next Delta North Senator, because he is the only one amongst all those contesting, who can actually consolidate and improve on the achievements of Senator Okowa, without bringing shame with his behavior to Delta North in Abuja. He is my man any day,” the top political figure enthused.
Hon. Victor Ochei has succinctly been described as a man of uncommon courage, integrity, loyalty to friends, family and community and one who has a noble passion for mentoring, industry, philanthropy, and selflessness.
Indeed, many Delta North political analysts have said that in the battle for the Delta North Senatorial seat ticket election on March 28, 2015, which definitely has some distinguished Anioma sons, who may also lay claims to their own contributions to the Delta North cause, Anioma people surely deserve the best and only a man with such an impressive and distinguished personality credentials, like Hon. Ochei has been described with, deserves to be the Delta North Senator come 2015.
David Diai is a Journalist and National President of the Delta Literary Forum, DLF