Ex-convict and former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, was the subject of high praise in a special reception organised in his honour.
The reception was held Saturday at Owhelogbo, Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State and was organised by Ovuozourie Macaulay.
The reception had Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, immediate past Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, among others in attendance.
Oshiomhole, in his speech, described Ibori as a bridge builder while Macaulay said the event was in honour of “a giant in the struggle, a resilient fighter for the rights of the Nigerian workers and the masses, a courageous and selfless social crusader.”
Speaking, Governor Okowa urged Delta people to strengthen the bond of unity regardless of political divide.
According to the governor, “the more united we are, the better for our state, we should play politics that will engender unity.”
“Most of us have being looking forward to an event like this where our leader is honoured, there is no doubt that Chief Ibori is a leader in its true sense, he built a strong political family and by the grace of God, the leadership of the state today is still within the family, the family is still intact and most of the things we have achieved in the state today can be traced to the foundation laid by him,” Mr. Okowa said.
He added, “I must thank him for laying a foundation that we are building on, there is no state in the country today that has the type of road infrastructure we have in Delta State, Chief Ibori has a big heart, he is bold.”
Ibori thanked Macaulay for organising the reception and urged leaders in the country to be courageous in standing on the part of the constitution and working for the people.
“When you are in office, people will abuse you, allow them, that is the beauty of democracy, you must be courageous to stay on the part of the people, no matter the price; if there is any constitution breach, you must stand up and oppose it,” Ibori said, “as an elder statesman, I will be happy if this democracy which we all fought for is deepened.”
The immediate past governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, urged the people to avoid pulling down those who were in position of authority, instead encouraging them to succeed.
“Chief James Ibori is up and he will never go down again,” he said.
The chairman of the occasion, Alexander Ogomudia, thanked God for the life of Mr. Ibori and commended Mr. Macaulay for organising the event.
Ibori’s deputy, Benjamin Elue; former acting governor of Delta State, Sam Obi; a former chief of naval staff, Dele Ezeoba; a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Victor Ochei, among others, attended the ceremony.
Ibori was jailed in the United Kingdom for stealing $250 million as governor and only returned to Nigeria in 2016 after serving out his term.
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