By Joel Salubi
Born in the year Nigeria became a Republic on the 19th of June 1963 to the family of Chief Samuel Oborevwori of Osubi in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State, the precocious lad was abundantly endowed with social and leadership skills that manifested very early in his life. From the home front, to the larger compound and the neighbourhood, the boy stood out among his peers as one in whom God is well pleased.
He attended Alegbo Primary School, Effurun for his primary education which he completed in 1977 when he obtained the First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC). He also attended Oghareki Grammar School for his secondary education. Life for him was neither a walk in the park nor a bed of roses. Like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Barack Obama, and other political greats before him, the young Sheriff had to struggle with existential impediments which, by the grace of God, he overcame. In addition to his natural and amazingly high social and leadership quotient, Hon. Oborevwori is an embodiment of courage which aided the manifestation of his destiny of greatness.
Realizing that he needed education to excel in life, he proceeded to the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) degree in Political Science in 2004. Not to be satisfied with half measures, he went a notch higher by obtaining a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree also in Political Science from the Delta State University, Abraka, in 2010. He is thus well grounded in politics in theory and in practice.
Rt. Hon. Oborevwori achieved greatness by dint of hard work and grace in fulfillment of a great destiny. He is probably the only politician since the Fourth Republic in Delta State who not only worked with all the three Governors, but functioned in both executive and legislative arms and enjoyed the singular and rare privilege of being the only Deltan of all times to be elected a Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly consecutively.
His political sojourn began in 1996 when he was elected as a Councilor in the old Okpe Local Government Area (which then included Udu and Uvwie LGAs). At the beginning of the Fourth Republic, he was a notable mobilizer of people and influencer of public opinion in Okpe and Uvwie where he emerged as a remarkable youth leader with massive followership.
It took no time before the then Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Chief James Ibori, spotted him and appointed him as a Special Assistant on Youth Mobilization from 2003 to 2006. Governor Ibori’s successor, His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan appointed him as Special Adviser on Land Security from 2007 to 2010. In the heat of the Niger Delta crisis of 2008/2009, Hon. Oborevwori became the Delta State Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme and by so doing contributed to the enhancement of national security and stability. He was later to serve as Senior Special Assistant on Security to Governor Uduaghan from 2012 to 2015.
His crossover from the executive to the legislature came in 2015 when, in appreciation of his contributions to public service, he was elected to represent the Okpe Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly. His colleagues, the honourable members of the Delta State House of Assembly, in recognition of his sterling qualities unanimously elected him as Speaker of the Sixth Assembly in 2017, a post to which he was re-elected in 2019 thus making history as the first Deltan to serve as Speaker from one Assembly to another Assembly.
Rt. Hon. Oborevwori’s political feat is not only depicted in his being the State’s longest-serving Speaker, but in the stability, vibrancy, and resourcefulness he brought to the affairs of the Delta State House of Assembly as well as the overall development of the State. Under his watch, the Delta State House of Assembly became one of the most dynamic in Nigeria. It is in recognition of Rt. Hon. Oborevwori’s legislative acumen and political sagacity that his peers in the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria elected him as Deputy Chairman in 2020 having served as Treasurer from 2018 to 2020. What greater honour and testimony to political greatness could be more than being recognized and honoured by one’s peers nationally?
A Pan-Deltan and Unifier
Rt. Hon. Oborevwori is without doubt a rare Pan-Deltan in a class of his own. His political antecedents and social networks across different divides attest to his unassailable Pan-Delta character. He is at home with all the ethnic nationalities in Delta State and his leadership of the Delta State House of Assembly which oversees the interest of the entire State, for so many years, consolidates his Pan-Delta outlook. As Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, the entire State is his constituency. He understands the problems and appreciates the socio-economic and political aspirations of Delta State. As Special Adviser and Amnesty Coordinator, he was focused mostly on Delta South. As a Member representing Okpe in the State House of Assembly, he is at home with Delta Central. As Speaker of the State House of Assembly, he sees Delta North as home. Rt. Hon. Oborevwori thus embodies the triangular makeup of Delta State as depicted in the three Senatorial Districts.
Rt. Hon. Oborevwori is the kind of Governor a multi-ethnic State like Delta State needs. He is a consensus builder who has forged deep friendships and contacts across the three Senatorial Districts of Delta State. His down-to-earth personality and accessible nature has endeared him to all Deltans. He is at home with the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated, the powerful and the powerless. It is largely due to his humility and uncanny ability to carry everybody along that he has the rare honour of being the first lawmaker in Delta State to be elected Speaker consecutively.
For Rt. Hon. Oborevwori, politics is about the people. His political philosophy is anchored on the people’s welfare. This is the reason why from his days as Councilor to the present, his ideology has been people-driven. The nature of the bills he sponsored, his constructive engagements, and his partnership with the Executive arm of Government have all been pro-people. As an individual, he is compassion personified. This reflects in the Oborevwori Foundation which has brought succour to the needy through scholarships, empowerment, and entrepreneurial schemes, and other support programmes for the young and the old.
Equipped to Serve
Despite obtaining degrees in Political Science and giving a good account of himself as a politician in view of his rich and variegated practical experience in public office, Rt. Hon. Oborevwori has advanced beyond this moment in preparation for higher responsibilities in a world that is fast changing. His resume is formidable and puts him in good stead to propel the Advancing Delta…MORE agenda.
Rt. Hon. Oborevwori has built capacity, competence, and character and has enhanced his knowledge with the following:
i. Certificate in Top Executive Leadership Programme, Manchester Business School, United Kingdom;
ii. Certificate in Legislative Framework for Budget Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, United States of America;
iii. Certificate in Legislative Management and Leadership, International Law Institute, Washington DC, United States of America;
iv. Certificate in Leading Inclusive Development, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom;
v. Certificate in Advanced Leadership Programme, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom;
vi. Member, Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and
vii. Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators,
among many others
Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori is without doubt very well prepared for the high office of Governor. He has undergone full political tutelage. He knows the people and the people are with him. As a political scientist, he understands the issues in theory and practice. He is set to Advancing Delta….MORE. Honoured with the traditional title of Ukodo of Okpe Kingdom, Rt. Hon. Oborevwori runs on grace, courage, and destiny. He is God’s own project as the next Governor of Delta State.