Ibori’s Unending Burden

As family members, friends and political associates of James Ibori, former Delta State Governor celebrate his freedom from a United Kingdom prison, reports say he is bordered about efforts by the Nigerian authorities to put together fresh corruption charges against him

TELL Magazine

TELL Magazine Cover Page

The recent release of the Oghara-born former governor of Delta State, James Ibori from a United Kingdom prison where he served four years and eight months jail term for money laundering came with a mixed bag of emotions – a case of different strokes for different folks. Ibori had been handed down 13 years imprisonment April 17, 2012, by the Southwark Crown Court in London, to run concurrently, after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and stealing $250 million from the Delta State treasury, an oil-rich state he administered between 1999 and 2007. Ibori, chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is a political heavyweight hailed by his associates and loyalists as “Odidigborigbo”. That perhaps is because Ibori was a benevolent political godfather who dispensed political patronage without bias to any ethnic group in the state.

He also bestrode the national political landscape like a colossus, and in the process, either stepped on big toes or built bridges of political friendship and understanding. Popularly hailed by his then brother-governors as the “Oil Sheikh” of the Niger Delta, Ibori was the arrow head of the agitation for resource control, which culminated in the constitutional provision of 13 percent derivation to the oil-producing states in the country.

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