By Emma Amaize and Godwin Oghre
ASABA – POLITICIANS mainly from Delta State and other parts of the country are flocking to London to rejoice with Chief James Ibori after his release from prison in the United Kingdom. The decision by many of his stalwarts to meet him in London follows news that the former Delta helmsman would not be returning to the country soon given his plans to appeal his conviction.
Friends, family and political associates it was learnt, have made the trip and many others are planning to meet with him in his London residence. Among the early callers was Senator Peter Nwaoboshi who served in different capacities under Ibori. “The senator representing Delta North senatorial district, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, and a host of others, who have the means, are already in London to meet with Ibori. Many are on their way; they are coming from different parts of the world,” an associate of the former governor told Vanguard.
Those who have not travelled are also speaking to him on telephone. One of his close associates, Chief Ayiri Emami, confirmed to Vanguard that he spoke to the former governor after his release, adding: “He was full of thanks to God for his release. What I can tell you for now is that Ibori is happy.”
Ibori’s confidant, Chief Ighoyota Amori, also said yesterday that celebrations over his release were continuing among associates in different parts of the world “because he is a good man.” Vanguard, however, found out that politicians that were unhappy with Ibori’s political power, which he exercised even in detention, were not excited about his release and preferred not to make comments when contacted.
Meanwhile, the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, headed by Chief Joseph Omene, Wednesday, hailed the release of Ibori describing him as an illustrious son. “We are very glad to hear of his (Ibori’s) release from the London prison. The Judge that handled the case of our embattled son, Chief James Ibori, has shown uncommon courage and judicial competence,” the president general, Omene, said.
He asserted: “Chief Ibori suffered incarceration following the evil activities of those who dreaded his rise and courage in championing the course of the common man. He is a leading light, very humorous, polite, humble and highly compassionate. He remains the Nelson Mandela of Urhobo land, Delta State and the nation in general. Ibori puts Urhobo nation on the radar of national illumination and consciousness. While he piloted the struggle for resource control, many power brokers, who have been against the struggle, wanted him out of circulation. They even wanted him to die as a wretched and forgotten man, but God saved him and now he has walked out of the London Prison as a free man.”
According to Chief Omene, “Chief Ibori has suffered in the last eight years because some of those he helped at one point or the other, some of those he brought to political lime light, turned around to stab him at the back through giving false and unsubstantiated evidence against him. Now that he has been released, let them bury their heads in shame. Jubilation continued yesterday across Chief Ibori’s Oghara home town and surrounding communities, as well as several parts of the state, over his release.