Victor Ochei- A Passion for Wheelchair Basketball  


“The love and support you(Victor Ochei)have shown to us Special People is unprecedented. You have worked tirelessly towards the develop mentioned of Wheelchair Basketball and Special People of Nigeria “-Nigeria Wheelchair Basketball Federation(NWBF).

 The 5th edition of the Victor Ochei International Wheelchair Basketball Championship organised by the Nigeria Wheelchair Basketball Federation(NWBF) that held at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos had come and gone but the memories from the highly successful competition remain fresh.

One thing that should never be left unmentioned is the salutary and patriotic role being played by no less a person than Hon Victor Ochei, former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly in his unflinching faith that there is “ability in the disability of the Special People” and throwing his hat into the sponsorship ring of the Wheelchair Championship. 

Ochei has within the spate of five years taken the development of the Special sport to an enviable height in the country. In a clime where people would ordinarily want to invest in popular and crowd pulling sports like football to get back returns, the Delta-born politician has opted to pitch his tent with the physically challenged in the society.

According to the President of the NWBF, Bukola Olapade, Ochei had over the last five years spent over N300 million on yearly sponsorship of the International event. Precise financial records at the events reveal that the sum of N300 and N28 million representing an average of N65 million per annum has so far been spent on the tournament by Ochei.

An elated Olapade could not help but heap praises on Ochei.

“Let me use this opportunity to express appreciation to the sponsor, who after leaving office as Speaker Delta State House of Assembly still sponsors the Championship. This really shows that he is committed to the Special athletes and the development of the game in the country “, he said.

So what actually motivated Ochei into the sponsorship of this Championship? 

“I am motivated into the sponsorship because I believe there is so much ability in their disability”, he stated.

According to him, “apart from the financial rewards that would accrue to these special people through the spirit enabling them to be able to take care of themselves and their immediate families, I also believe that the Wheelchair Basketball game has the capacity to expose them to international competitions and by extension creating other medal avenues and opportunities for our nation”.

Ochei expressed great satisfaction with the outcome of the 5th edition in Lagos. In his words:” I am really impressed with the level of competitiveness amongst the teams in this year’s Championship and I must say that Wheelchair Basketball would soon be the toast of Special athletes and the Paralympic Committee in Nigeria”.

From the highly successful first edition in Asaba 2012, the popularity of the game has continued to soar in leaps and bounds, attracting rare comments from all and sundry including celebrities in the country.

Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo aka D’banj,  a popular musician had this to say during the 2nd edition of the sports in Lagos.

“I am really impressed seeing our physically challenged athletes being given an opportunity to compete against each other in the game of basketball. This is really an eye opener for me and hopefully, when next they are hosting this championship I would be there to contribute my quota to the growth of the sport “.

The time has come for the federal government and public spirited corporate organisations to take up the gauntlet by joining hands with Hon Ochei to invest massively in Wheelchair Basketball. Ochei has no doubt written his name in gold in our sports record as a nation. He deserves all the accolades and honours this patriotic fervour has more than qualified him for-Including our National Honours.