• I am father to all, says ex-gov
  • He remains our leader –PDP
  • I have no relationship with Ibori –Dogara

Some political bigwigs in Nigeria, including senators, governors and political associates of the just-released-from-prison former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, might be rooting for the return of the ex-convict to political office if feelers from a serving senator are anything to go by.

In a video that had gone viral on the social media, the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who was a political adviser to the former governor was seen discussing with Ibori and some of his associates, talking about the political prowess of the man who made him a senator and how he wielded so much influence even while he was behind bars.

Apparently referring to the political future of Ibori without being specific, Nwaoboshi said: “Why we have come today, my brother, my leader, is that, first, we are proud of you and we thank God for sparing your life.

“And we want to open this dream, we are waiting for you, and Nigerians will know that a senator is proposing your choice, and not just a senator, a respected senator. A senator that is chairman of the NDDC”, Nwaoboshi said.

Though Ibori is not set to return to Nigeria anytime soon, it is not clear on which political platform the ex-convict will be running in 2019, if indeed he will be contesting for a political office.

There have been speculations that Ibori is planning to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to have a soft landing and save himself from prosecution.

Some political analysts and lawyers have argued for and against whether Ibori should still face charges in Nigeria after serving a jail term in the UK, but the Court of Appeal had given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the leave to appeal Ibori’s acquittal by Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the Federal High Court, Asaba, after the former governor pleaded guilty in a London court.

The Court of Appeal had set aside the ruling of the lower court on the grounds that Awokulehin erred in law while delivering his judgement; a three-man panel of justices at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal on May 15, 2014, ruled that the ex-governor has a case to answer, making the coast clear for the EFCC to further prosecute Ibori upon his return to Nigeria.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that Ibori still belong to its fold because he did not at anytime leave the party. The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said; “Ibori has never left the party, so the question of re-admittance does not arise. He is still a leader of the party, and I am aware of the fact that our members in Delta State are very happy with him.

They don’t have problem with him at all”. Nwaoboshi in the fiveminute video alluded to the fact that Ibori made him a senator, made his daughter a member of the state House of Assembly, anointed governors and even supported the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to get to their exalted seats while in prison.

The senator also called the attention of Ibori to the fact that he had been betrayed by some of those he helped while in office, a statement to which Ibori replied: “I am the father of all; the good, the bad and the ugly”.

Narrating how he was almost stopped by security agents from making the trip to the United Kingdom, Nwaoboshi said nobody could stop him from flying to London to felicitate with the man he called, “my boss and my leader”. “I want to welcome all of you here, my names are distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.

I left Nigeria yesterday because of my boss. James Ibori is my boss, my brother and somebody I so much loved. “We all came here because of Ibori. There are so many people who had been governors and as soon as they left office, nobody remember them again.

“There are many people who had this problem and nobody will come, but James is a good man, he is a jolly good fellow. The man that makes everybody and nobody made him. “Many people had been governors but they did not have opportunity of installing their successors.

There may never be a governor in Nigeria again, who will sit in the cell or in the prison, and make a governor from there.“There may never be a governor again, in the history of the country, who will sit in the cell and make a senator. “There will never be a governor in the country again who will sit in the cell and support a senate president.

There may never be a governor in the country again who will sit in the cell and make a speaker of the House. “There will never be a governor in the country again who will sit in the cell and make the daughter a member of the House of Assembly.

“When I was at the airport, a security agent came to me and said, ‘I know you are travelling because of Ibori’ and I replied; ‘yes, I am going because of James Ibori and there is nothing you can do to stop me, I have the authority to travel, you cannot stop me.

If you want trouble, we will give you trouble’. “But I know those he signed a lot of things for that had forgotten him today. History will judge everybody”.

Ibori was released from prison on Wednesday confirming a story earlier reported by Saturday Telegraph, in which this newspaper noted that Ibori would be released on December 20.

The ex-con is to remain in the UK until his deportation to Nigeria is fully processed as he is now restricted to his London apartment and also required to report weekly to the police.

But Dogara yesterday reacted, saying, though there is a possibility that Ibori, could be his silent supporter, he had no personal relationship with the ex-convict and that he was duly elected by members of the lower legislative chamber, not by Ibori “Our attention has been drawn to statement credited to Nwabaoshi. We have watched the video clip and noticed that there is nowhere the distinguish senator mentioned Dogara by name.

“For the records, we want to state that the Speaker was elected by the votes of members of the House of Representatives. There may well be silent supporters and well-wishers of the honourable speaker from far and near some of whom he may not be aware of.

“Dogara does not have a relationship, political or otherwise with Ibori to warrant the insinuations in the statement credited to Nwabaoshi, and had never had one.”

Culled from newtelegraphonline