In 1999, Ibori emerged as the flag bearer of PDP in Delta state governorship election under the supervision of Chief Tony Anenih as Mr Fix, Chief Solomon Lar as Chairman and Okwuesileze Nwodo as Secretary. With James Manager as Chairman, Delta state PDP chapter, Peter Nwaoboshi as Secretary and Ighoyota Amori as PRO, the stage was set for a long monarchy under the reign of His majesty the alter ego of Delta politics, the finisher of all political gymnastics, and the odidigborigbo of the universe, James Ibori. The study of history teaches about the rise and fall of empires. In ancient Egypt, the most powerful dynasties always came to a sudden end. And for all Machiavellians, the end is usually fatalistic.
Ibori ascended to power with a green Volkswagen Passat and very limited amount of resources in 1999 but eight years after, he and his cohorts that he had built up and or rewarded as loyal supporters and friends were richer than Delta state. He is said to have looted the wealth of Delta state blind (London Crown court) to which he pleaded guilty and served a 13 year prison sentence. Like all Machiavellians, he was kind to friends and people who drank from the fountain of his “leadership” but ruthless to others who stood in the way of his dynasty. In Delta politics, if you were not a caucus member of the Ibori dynasty, no matter how popular you were or are with your constituents you would be going nowhere politically especially in PDP and beyond through imposition of candidates. If there was a victim of Ibori’s shenanigans, manipulation, imposition and replacement without cause or justification since 1999, this writer is one. Ditto so many other innocent Deltans whose political ambition he annihilated without a care or fear of God and willy nilly handed over the tickets to non deserving, non qualified and incompetent candidates. And he knows it. Ibori’s word was and is final in Delta politics even whilst he was in prison.
There was a joke to wit Deltans were all referred to as prisoners when Ibori was in prison. The import of the joke being that Ibori was still in charge of the dynasty and effectively ruling Delta state from prison in London. Sad as it seemed, it was true and still is. Ibori when holding court entertains all views but does not brood opposition once he has made a decision. All must fall in line. Thus after a few years in office the terminology, “the system” referring to the dynasty as a vehicle of dictatorship to protect the Ibori’s “vision” emerged. One of the Executioners in Chief of this policy of dictatorship was Okowa himself as this writer personally suffered its brutal effect in 2007. Okowa knows exactly what I mean. So here we are in March 2017 with two key members of the Ibori dynasty embarrassingly closing the political space in 2019. Accordingly, from 1999 – 2019 a period of 20 years, one man in cahoots with opportunistic few have seized our destinies and perpetually made us slaves in our fatherland; Tufia, tufia! If you understand the politics of Delta state, you will agree with me that the endorsement of Okowa by Ibori for 2019 transcends PDP/APC rivalry. It transcends Anioma political interest. It’s not about PDP or Anioma. It’s about Ibori and our commonwealth, our billions. The point has been made that the defacto governor of Delta today is Ibori. And it came to pass that our youths trooped out to welcome Ibori back from prison. And it also came to pass that the state was alleged to have shelled out hundreds of millions of naira to celebrate the Ibori’s triumphant home coming. Albeit, thousands of government workers are being owed several months salaries. How much shame do we need to condone before enough is enough? We read of the story of a man who stole from the rich and distributed it all among the poor. His name was Robin Hood. Our emperor carts away our silver, gold and diamond to foreign lands to buy property and lived like an emperor thus creating jobs and enriching the already rich in Dubai, Europe and America. Because of a few crumbs thrown under the table fit only for the dogs, we have become blinded to reason. Uduaghan came and he squandered eight years and our silver, gold and diamond. Okowa takes over and nothing changes. And yet Ibori in his unrepentant arrogance is telling us Deltans that there is no vacancy in government house at Asaba in 2019. And we are quiet? Why?
In the meantime, States less endowed than Delta are developing in leaps and bounds. Lagos does not have oil but under the trio administrations of Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode Lagos has transformed into a fast growing beautiful mega city. Within the past 12 months Epe has witnessed the kind of development you find only in places like Dubai and elsewhere with an 8 lane (R/L) world class ring road. I mean Junius Berger standard road construction. The same can be said of every part of Lagos state including Ajah flyover (please not the funny type you have in Asaba), the EPZ in Ibeju-Lekki, the 4th Mainland Ajah/Ikorodu bridge linking several villages, the Metro line, massive road expansion and motor parks construction all over the state etc all ongoing projects. Compare the aforementioned with the joke you see all over Delta state especially in Asaba and Warri constructed under Uduaghan administration. If you visited during the last days of Uduaghan in 2014/15 the following projects: Asaba airport, Asaba/Kwale/Ughelli dual carriage way, Osubi dual carriage way, Sapele-Wairri road commencing from Effurun roundabout and you visited again recently then you will understand me. It’s either that Uduaghan was incompetent or that he was motivated by selfish consideration as against general interest or both. All Uduaghan executed projects were not only sub-standard and executed in a shoddy manner, but were abandoned after shelling out billions to contractors. Funny enough you see Deltans praising government whenever they engage as always incompetent contractors at inflated contract sums to execute poor projects on our roads. And six months later we are back to square one. So I ask again how much shame do we need to condone before enough is truly enough?
Ordinarily one would have thought that Ibori had sufficient time of introspection in prison but as a typical Machiavellian the end justifies the means. If Ibori fails to harken to the voice of God to steer clear from crooked politics of imposition and rigging but is nudged on and deceived by charlatans that will be unfortunate. But as Deltans are we going to fold our arms and continue to tolerate another four years of the dynasty of the locust? Take nothing for granted, you are either with the Ibori dynasty or you are with the people of Delta state. Is it not intriguing that even with the power of incumbency Okowa is not free to determine his political structure and future? Why must Ibori meddle in the politics of who becomes governor in 2019 and muddle up things? But let me be clear, in 2019 there will be no room for rigging. The Delta people will be presented with the opportunity to vote out 20 years of slavery, 20 years of opportunism, 20 years of miss rule, 20 years of lack of growth and development, 20 years of youth unemployment, 20 years of suffering by families especially our mothers and 20 years of the locust.
Chief Terry Otuya