BY NORBERT CHIAZOR
Sheriff Oborevwori has been the speaker of Delta state House of Assembly since 2017 but he was not the cynosure of eyes.
Governorship Primary of May 25, 2022, would change his life. Today he is on the lips of everyone.
The story of Sheriff as puzzling as it comes, is absorbing and gritty.
Even with unyielding political enemies, so ferocious and unsparing, his props and pillars are somewhat impregnable.
There are two identifiable bulwarks fielding and fencing Sheriff in Delta political landscape; the PDP elite class ruling since 1999 and bourgeoning army of street -savvy supporters united by identity validation.
The Okpe man enchanted them all. Chant of “Sherification” is far from mundane cant, but indeed candid in conviction. The basest of human experience, curiously the most sublime, is Sheriff’s best coat of attraction- ordinariness.
Earthy, easy and unembellished, he moves unaffected, transcending class and clique. With the posture of a man averse to riding a high horse, Sheriff befriends the powerful and the weak, rich and poor ,old and young.
Though he has been stereotyped by his fiercest critics as accustomed to squatty taste and low profile, commonality rather than biggest weakness, stands as greatest strength of Sheriff.
While ornamentation, sophistication or savour – faire may pass as urbanity in the modern world, the time – honoured enduring virtues of society would always find the noblest expressions in simplicity, directness and uncluttered behavioural tendencies. True refinement is in empathy and fellow -feeling, not some worldliness painted by vainglorious polish. These encapsulate the hardcore sentiments of the “Sherrified”.
A powerful political potentate among those rallying Sheriff as preferred PDP governorship candidate in Delta once shared to this writer, reason for avowed pull towards the DTHA Speaker. “Sheriff respects me, even a poor man values respect above any gift or deed. We need a governor without superiority complex” The political leader had asserted.
The offerings of Sheriff as gubernatorial flag bearer, quantified in humbled fidelity and modesty have the capacity for the sustenance of human self-worth and peace of the mind, while enhancing communalism and social progress. This is the motif underpinning why the mighty and minion are romanticising Sheriff.
The “Ukodo” metaphor, adorning the Sheriff persona is not just mere appellation on one man’s relish for a popular Urhobo
delicacy, but sizzling symbolism of his high regard for cultural values and patterned attitude to share in convivial socialization.
The poor rural dwellers- men and women alienated and abandoned, beginning from independence era would find a friend in Sheriff. He is relatable with his homespun make up ,like a folklore which is the property of the folk.
Youths, frustrated and beguiled by the vagaries of a hard illusive nation stand a better chance to embrace their renaissance, with the grass -to -grace unpretentious self -propelling energy of Sheriff.
Weighing his common place countryman sensibilities, It becomes easy to grasp why the strength of the Speaker remains unassailable as regards 2023 ballot.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP Vice Presidential candidate is supporting him. Former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan wants him to succeed Okowa. Quotable acolytes of Chief James Ibori, indomitable patriarch of Delta politics have given credible sound bites that he is with Sheriff. In addition to the awesome troika musketeers, key political leaders across Delta Central, Delta North and Delta South are holding on to Sheriff.
Chief Ighoyota Amori, John Nani and Ben Igrakpata among others in Urhobo axis are working to enthrone him. In Ijaw land, Chief Pius Sinebe, Hon. Solomon Funkekeme, Asupa Forteta and so on are standing behind him. Bashorun Askia Ogieh, Leo Ogor, Senator Stella Omu are some of the backers in Isoko. The Otumaras, Arenyenkas and Mayukus are among those manning Itsekiri for him. In Ibo speaking Anioma, names like Chief Fidelis Tilije, Chief Nkem Okwuofu (Aguwanyi) , Hon. Joan Amaechi ( Ada -Anioma) etc are drumming support.
Even the “Star Prince “ of Anioma, Hon. Ned Nwoko, (Delta North PDP senatorial candidate) , acknowledged for his war chest and independence, has thrown his weight behind Sheriff.
Strikingly, the power elite and proletariat rooting for him are not possible to deflate or efface. They are ubiquitous campaigners, standing steadfast, tried-and- true.
The “yellow ” Sherification team united in damning solidarity, give no hoot about whatever perceived inadequacies their candidate may have, insisting that every man has an Achilles hill. Who does not have a chink in his Armour?
An interplay of lesson and luck had joined to favour Sheriff in his governorship race.
A good student of resilience rooted in accommodation of others, he has been speaker for about 7 years, the longest in the history of the state legislature. Most of his predecessors were impeached, either for lack of tact or tenacity.
He kept the Delta house stable and steady.
2023: Sheriff will do MORE.
Chiazor is Executive Assistant EA ,Media to Governor Okowa.