Former governor Chief James Ibori, remains king maker after prison ordeal
Warri- Former Delta State governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has regained his People Democratic Party (PDP) structure in the state after four years jail term in faraway United Kingdom. He remains a king maker, before, during and outside prison.
Ibori’s home in Oghara is now like Mecca for important politicians to visit for blessing, irrespective of political party in preparation towards 2019 elections, since Ibori returned to Nigeria last December, 2016.
Former Delta State governor Ibori played tragically into the hands of her majesty’s prisons just after 2009, when a Nigerian court threw out a 170-count corruption charge against him, citing a lack of merit in the case. But the determination of the government of the day and the cooperation of Interpol ensured he was arrested a year after he fled to the United Arab Emirates to avoid extradition to the United Kingdom for retrial.
On release in December, Ibori was ushered into the waiting arms of hundreds of his eager supporters in Delta State in red carpet like a king, amongst who are Peter Nwaoboshi, a serving Nigerian senator from Delta state, Macaulay Ovuezuere , Senator James Manager and a lots of his foot soldiers across the state.
That is no longer news in Delta State that the maverick politician in just eight months from jail in London prison has perfected his domination in Delta politics which interprets to mean, he would decide who rules the state with a flip of his thumbs.
It was rumoured that he was instrumental to the 2015 senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa’s governorship victory from London prisons, and others both in Delta and other neighbouring states.
Daily Watch can authoritatively report that Chief James Ibori is not too comfortable with the choice of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as governor and that he vowed Okowa may not be allowed to run his second tenure, following political fall-out on principles between the duo.
Political fall-outs premiered on political appointment list in State, which an insider said Senator (Dr.) Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa allegedly betrayed the gentleman agreement before the governorship election, by dumping Ibori’s London prison list and replaced with his own choice.
Not done, as Daily Watch gathered, Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa also made sure he kills the Ibori’s cartel in the state by grooming his own political structure, so much so to be in charge in Delta politics much like his former boss who was languishing in far away London prison.
From our source, a likely successor of Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa may be between the Urhobos, his paternal home, where names are being mentioned between Chief Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and Mr. David Edevbie both contested against Okowa at primaries and general election in 2015, as Okowa’s successor come 2019.
The choice of an Urhobo speaking governor from Delta central is to compensate the Urhobos for his many sins against the Urhobo nation by imposing two governors from his cartel in succession, his cousin Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan whowas primarily picked to cover his tracks. While Okowa’s 2015 choice by Ibori from prison was basically on party politics, so much to control the state even in London prison.
James Ibori’s political magic wand was his theory of human capital development/empowerment which almost all his cartel members or followers have been turned to successful personalities from 1999 till date. They have been made shakers and movers of events and happenings in Nigerian politics today.
Beyond human capital development, Chief James Ibori is the best performed executive governor in Delta State with key infrastructural developments cut across the State. The Ijaws in Delta will not easily Ibori for the historic Bomadi bridge which ties the coastal communities to the hinterland. But after all these achievements, Ijaw National leader, Chief E.K Clark who was the arrow-head on Ibori’s road to London prison seemed not satisfied as sources said Chief Clark benefited tremendously from Ibori’s administration by way of juicy contracts.
That remorseful Ibori is now set to correct the injustice, he committed in Urhobo land by strongly working against his paternal home from producing the state governors twice against the Delta central, even though, the Urhobos are more populous with a very high voting strength. That Ibori now regrets the choice of Okowa from the Delta north who fails to keep a gentleman agreement.
Among the likely successors of Okowa in Delta central, Chief Ovedje Ogboru’s name was silent and not too strong among the top list. According to our source said Chief Ogboru is no longer a sellable material in Delta state governorship race as he had tried several times and in all occasions, he dumped his followers after election.
In a recent meeting held in the country home of Ibori at Oghara top cartel members of Ibori dynasty, a visibly angry Ibori was seen expressing his displeasure with the Governor Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration on so many things which he vowed would not happen again. One major challenges of Okowa in Ibori’s cartel, according to our source was engineered by immediate past governor, Dr.Emmanudel Uduaghna who painted Okowa as a green snake under the green grass. That Okowa’s administration almost discredits Uduaghan’s past administration intended to blackmail him as a very corrupt and bad former governor before the media.
But the Chief Press Secretary to governor Okowa, Mr Charles Aniagwu has denied insinuations made in some quarters during a media chat with Warri journalists, said his boss never made any attempts to discredit immediate past governor Uduaghan in beerpalour talk or the media. He said government is a continuous process and that Okowa’s administration carried on some of Uduaghan’s administration uncompleted projects and paid debts owed to contractors in the immediate past administration. He said the problem the present administration faces is the economic recession which reduces the monthly federal allocation of the state government that did not allow the state government to carry out projects unlike the previous administrations.
Charles Aniagwu described all allegations lies, saying that his boss, Okowa respects and is in good mutual relationship between Uduaghan and Chief James Ibori. Saying there is no feud between them as being insinuated in the media
Former Gov. Uduaghan cries out of Okowa’s bad treatment
However, Uduaghan and Okowa cold were reported in the media widely with accusations and counter accusations. As was reported in Punch Newspaper, July 14th 2017. The cold war between the immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, and his successor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, gone to higher dimension as Uduaghan accused openly the incumbent administration of plotting to discredit the previous government in the state.
Uduaghan’s anger against Okowa, so far, was the scrapping of three key projects initiated by the Uduaghan-led administration, when Uduaghan was the state governor between 2007 and 2015.
These projects are the Effurun-Warri Bus Rapid Transport, controversial BRT that swallowed billions of nairas, the Delta EduMarshal Scheme and the Ogwashi-Uku and Oleri Wildlife Parks in the Aniocha South and the Udu Local Government Areas of the state.
It was learnt that the misunderstanding between the duo dated back to the 2014 primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, where the former governor was alleged to have supported another aspirant against Okowa, who was then the senator representing Delta North.
Okowa’s alleged first jaw blow to Uduaghan was the staged managed abduction of the state accountant general, Cyril Agbele, six days to handover to a new administration. The disappearance or staged managed abduction was a big blpw to Uduaghna as that singular act barred Uduaghan from dipping his hand into the state treasury to enjoy the famous ‘last super’
Former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, described the disappearance of the Accountant-General of Delta State, Cyril Agbele, six days to handover to a new administration was in bad faith.
According to him, “the accountant general has disappeared in the last five – six days. The truth is that on Thursday we met and I told him we have some payments to make in the areas of the swearing-in ceremony coming up tomorrow, he did not object, he did not say no and on Sunday, I was calling him but he was not picking my calls.”
Uduaghan earlier knew all these ‘tortoise and moose’ plays of the ancient Greek mythology as the brain behind Senator Okowa to stab him in the back after he made his contributions to make him winner of the 2015 general election. Helpless Uduaghan knew his fate in Okowa’s administration and resigned to fate. Some said Uduaghan left the state to far away China for long to manage his multi-billion naira hospital, leaving the state solely for Okowa and his cohorts. His major fears were to avoid joining his benefactor and cousin in prison either in Nigeria by the Economic and financial Crime Commision (EFCC) knowing well that Okowa’s administration could not protect him, following dozens of allegations of financial fraud in Uduaghan’s administration.
Uduaghan, however, could not bear the antagonism from Okowa’s administration and lamented openly that the present administration was doing everything possible to discredit his administration’s achievements.
The ex-governor, on his Facebook wall had expressed worry over the development, saying many of the reasons listed to justify the scrapping of the programme by the Okowa-led administration were untenable. He believed that he should have been consulted before the decision to stop the programme was taken.
However, James Ibori’s one strong hold in the state is the new speaker of the Delta state House of Assembly speaker Mr. Sheriff Iborevwori who acts as a Ibor’s major key man in the Okowa ‘s administration to brief Ibori every bit of development. Although, this job of spy in Okwa’s administration is being done by many in the present administration who report on daily or weekly basis of development in both the legislative and executive arms of the government
Delta Speaker,Rt(Hon) Iborevwori Ibori’s alleged key eye
Delta state speaker Rt (Hon)Sherriff Iborevwori who was a former die-hard loyalist to Chief James Ibori and holds strong allegiance to the former governor is a perfect example. Not only the speaker, others who hold key political positions, either by election or appointment report to James Ibori to be in his good book. Their loyalties are divided between Ibori and Okowa in the state.
To Nigerians outside the Niger Delta region, it’s surprising that Ibori, who has a long history of allegations of theft and fraud, would be welcomed in an heroic way coupled with fierce respect and honour in his state and beyond.
A lot of people owe their political rise to Ibori explains in Delta state and these cartel are the once still in power.
But Ibori’s rumoured choice of All Progressive Congress former governorship candidate, Chief Emeror Otega to rule Delta state seems an herculean task as to how Ibori will convince Otega to decamp to PDP to enjoy the blessings of the king maker from London prison. Any move by Ibori would be seen as an anti-party act and will be disastrous to PDP family in Delta State.The political maneuvering and dripping will soon come play out next year as the campaigns into various political offices heightened.
In the murky waters of Nigerian politics, questionable characters and people with criminal pasts have emerged as pillars in the political firmament so there is little to suggest that Ibori’s case will be any different. For example, Buruji Kashamu, a serving opposition party senator, is still wanted in the US for drug crimes which are often linked to inspiration behind the writer of the Netflix show Orange is the New Black.
On the other side of the party divide, Bola Tinubu, the APC national leader forfeited almost half a million dollars after being fingered as being part of a drug racketeering ring also in the state of Illinois. But Tinubu, a former Lagos state governor and one of Nigeria’s most powerful politicians, was crucial to the defeat of former president Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 polls.
Ibori’s ordeal which led to his road to London prison, according to Daily Watch investigation, is seen far beyond allegation of financial fraud only. He stepped on many toes, including former President Goodluck Jonathan. He is believed to have funded a presidential campaign in the past against his Niger Delta brother and former President Goodluck Jonathan who suffered so much for supporting a northern presidential candidate. The United Kingdom where Ubori was serving a jail term was quite aware of Ibori’s travail being orchestrated and sponsored by the immediate past Jonathan’s administration.
True, Ibori has strong connections within Nigeria’s north. With the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and the northern-dominated hierarchy at the presidency looking to ensure electoral victory in 2019, it could reach out to Ibori to woo an already suspicious southern Nigeria including the embattled former militant leader ex-General Tompolo who was one of Ibori’s strong allies.
Chief James Ibori Onanefe is now the bride of modern Nigerian politics being touted round to curry his favour s as a king maker by politicians in Abuja and many states, including his home state. The former vice President Alhaji Atiku and among other top Nigerian politicians have paid him visit for his blessing come 2019 in his country home.