Delta Speaker Ochei Resigns, Deputy Majority Whip To Be Unveiled As New Speaker
Ochei Pledges Loyalty To Governor Uduaghan, Party, Assures Colleagues Of Cooperation SAN FRANCISCO, March 16, (THEWILL) - The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt.
Honourable Victor Onyekachi Ochei, 45, has resigned from office.
His resignation takes effect on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, THEWILL can authoritative report.
Ochei, one of the leading aspirants from Delta North Senatorial District seeking to succeed incumbent Governor, Dr.
Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2015, but has not formally declared his ambition, weekend informed the governor of his decision to step down from office citing 'personal reasons', according to sources familiar with the development.
His letter of resignation which he handed to Governor Uduaghan has been transferred to the Deputy Speaker, Rt.
Honourable Basil Ganagana.
Meanwhile, THEWILL can exclusively report that key leaders of the Assembly as well as the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state met on Sunday night with Governor Uduaghan where Honourable Peter Onwusanya, a first term assemblyman and the Deputy Majority Whip, was chosen to succeed Ochei.
Barring any late political maneuvers, Onwusanya, representing Oshimili South State Constituency will be sworn in as new Speaker on Tuesday when the House resumes for plenary.
Honourable Ochei, a 3rd term assemblyman, who represents Aniocha North State Constituency, was elected Speaker of the 5th Assembly on June 06, 2011.
His robust leadership with the backing of Governor Uduaghan helped inject life into the legislative arm of government in the state and tasked administrative officers to increase productivity.
Under his leadership, the Assembly unearthed hundreds of ghost workers who had cost the state hundreds of millions of naira in wages.
Again, with the support of Governor Uduaghan, Ochei transformed the entire assembly complex into a modern edifice befitting of a legislative institution whilst also overhauling operations.
The 5th assembly under his watch passed several key legislations, including the controversial death penalty law for convicted kidnappers in the state.
Political analysts often describe the 5th assembly as 'the most vibrant State House of Assembly in Nigeria.
' His leadership also introduced remarkable firsts notably, the Annual Lecture Series of the 5th Assembly which has hosted the Rivers State Governor, Mr.
Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt.
Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, his Deputy, Rt.
Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, as well as other notable personalities with expertise in law and the legislature.
THEWILL however gathered from political watchers in Delta that these achievements and his close relations with Governor Uduaghan helped boost his political profile but also elicited anger and hatred amongst older members of the establishment in the state, who have been doggedly pressing the governor to oust him from office so as to curtail his rising influence.
THEWILL further gathered that the group found an opening recently following a crack in the relationship between them and exploited the soured relations to the fullest, according to sources.
A plot was hatched early last week and the process of collating signatures amongst assemblymen began over the weekend to impeach Ochei.
THEWILL gathered that Governor Uduaghan invited Ochei alongside two other close members of the Assembly to his residence for a meeting on Saturday where he asked Ochei to step down for the stability of the legislature as the impeachment threat was real.
Confirming the Speaker's resignation, his Chief Press Secretary, Mr.
Nkem Osu told THEWILL that the resignation takes effect from Tuesday, March 18, 2014, when the letter will be read during plenary.
'I want to confirm to you now authoritatively that Rt.
Victor Ochei, Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly who is my boss has resigned but his resignation shall take effect as from Tuesday.
"The Speaker used this opportunity to thank and commend his colleagues for all the support and robust relationship when his tenure lasted," he said.
'The Speaker also used the opportunity to thank immensely the state Governor, Dr.
Emmanuel Uduaghan for all the support given him, Uduaghan was like a father to him and he will continue to remain grateful to him, loyal to him and for the party the PDP, he thank them all and will continue to be loyal to the party too and together they shall all build the state," he added.
Notwithstanding, he said that Ochei will on Monday perform his last official function as Speaker when he will join the Governor during the signing into law of the 2014 budget.
THEWILL recalls that in his last interview with newsmen last week in Asaba, Ochei had attributed his long stay as Speaker to transparency and cordial relations with fellow assemblymen.