A large and ecstatic crowd, including current and former political office holders, on Saturday, welcomed former governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori, to his hometown Oghara in Ethiope East local Government Area of the state.
Mr. Ibori, who was released from prison in the United Kingdom in December, arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the same day and was immediately whisked away by officials of the Department of State Service (DSS), who interrogated him before allowing him to go.
As early as 8:00 am, Ibori’s supporters and state government officials, led by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Festus Ovie Agas, had assembled at the Osubi Airstrip waiting for Ibori when they were informed that the program for the arrival had changed. They were informed that he would no longer come through the Osubi Airstrip, but the Benin Airport.
Mr. Ibori arrived the Benin Airport at about 2:30 pm on a chartered private jet and was driven in an unmarked blacked out SUV car to Oghara at about 3:30 pm. He was accompanied on the trip by family members, political associates, including Mr. Emami Ayiri and one Mr. Emma Uduaghan, who flew with him from London.
On arrival in Oghara, indigenes of the town, who were waiting at Ibori’s country home, started singing songs eulogizing Ibori.
Delta state House of Assembly, Speaker, Mr. Monday Igbuya; Mr. Ighoyita Amori, former Delta State PDP Chairman; Mr. Pius Senebe, Mr. Funkeke Solomon, and Mr. Ben Igbakpa were among the first political associates who called at the Ibori’s country home.
Speaking with journalists, Messrs. Amori and Igbakpa pledged their support and loyalty to Ibori, saying politics in the state will again become animated. According to them, the return home of Mr. Ibori is a good omen.
Responding to a question from journalists on whether they will defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Ibori, Mr. Igbakpa said wherever the former governor goes, his supporters will go.
A SaharaReporters correspondent, who monitored the event, learned that arrangements have been concluded for Mr. Ibori to join the APC.
One of the former governor’s confidants, who was among the first to visit Ibori in London after his release, told SaharaReporters that with the crisis rocking the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as at the national level, Ibori has taken the advice that he should join the APC to keep the Federal Government off his back.
“I can tell you that Ibori is already an APC member and in no distant time, it will be made public. Already, nearly all his foot soldiers have left the PDP for the APC,” he said.