– PDP leaders showered praise on former governor of Delta state, James Ibori,
– Despite the fact that Ibori admitted stealing public funds and jailed in the UK, the PDP leaders said Ibori is a blessing to the Niger Delta region
– The opposition party leaders said they needed Ibori’s leadership acumen to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)
The national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, and ex-Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and other national and state PDP leaders on Saturday, March 10, eulogised former Governor James Ibori .
Premium Times reports that the PDP leaders praised “the sterling leadership qualities of former Governor James Ibori, describing him as a unifying figure and a blessing to the Niger Delta region.”
NAIJ.com gathered that a statement by the press unit of the Delta state government house said the officials spoke at Ovwor-Olomu in Ughelli South local government area of Delta state during a grand reception in honour of Ibori.
Recall that Ibori returned to Nigeria on February 5, 2017 after serving jail term in the UK.
Former Governor Ibori had on February 27, 2012, pleaded guilty in a London court to 10 counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.
Before Judge Anthony Pitts, he admitted stealing $250million as alleged by the prosecution.
The metropolitan police accused Ibori of spending some of the stolen money buying six houses in London – paying £2.2m in cash for one Hampstead mansion – and putting his children in expensive British private schools.
After pleading guilty, Crown Prosecution Service lawyer, Sasha Wass, made a short submission, saying the prosecution was discontinuing Ibori’s trial because the former governor had “accepted the entirety of the prosecution’s case as it has always been set out.”
Ibori was later sentenced to 13 years in UK prison. He was however released and deported to Nigeria in February 2017.
The PDP leaders, however, described the former governor as a unifying factor in the development of the Niger Delta region and Delta state in particular.
Despite being aware of Ibori’s antecedent, the PDP national chairman, Secondus, and his colleagues, lavishly showered praise on Ibori at the occasion, saying the PDP needed his leadership acumen to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Secondus said: “Ibori must be celebrated because he is a man of the people not just in Delta state but across the nation, today, he is a factor in this country. On behalf of the masses of our country, we salute you, we salute your courage because you are a man who believes in the struggle of the party.
“You [Delta State] have a son that has built a political structure that is envied across the nation. Delta State remains the only state in the nation that has a stability in political succession. It remains the only state where all the Governor that have ruled the state are still members of the PDP.”
In his own remark, Governor Okowa said Ibori laid the foundation of development in the state and established a political structure which served as a bridge builder and development agent across the country.
Uduaghan on his part, called for an end to rumour mongering and sycophancy in the state.
The chief host of the reception, John Oguma, said Ibori impacted positively on the state.
Oguma described Ibori as a national leader who helped in stabilising the nation’s political terrain.
In his response, Ibori advised the political class especially those seeking political office not to heat up the polity, saying power belongs to God and that only He can give power.
He said he has forgiven all those who played one role or another in his incarceration.