Chief James Onanefe Ibori, second democratically elected Governor of Delta State, Administered Delta State from 1999 – 2007; Championed the struggle for Resource Control in collaboration with fellow South South thieves like Late Chiefs Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Lucky igbinedion; Merciless looters of the Delta resources, looting whose pattern cannot be said to be different from what obtained with Peter Odili of Rivers State. Of all the thieves of the South however, Chief James Ibori was very spectacular. Like James Bond, he was the Master, the King and the father of them all.
I know that there are many thieves across the Nigerian political space. In fact the Nigerian thievery knows no regional or ethnic boundaries. From Hausa to Urhobo; from Yoruba to Itsekiri, Igbo, Ijaw, Tivi, Jukun, Efik and ibibio and the rest can boast of their own thieves. But the case of Ibori is very spectacular.
When he was arraigned before the Queens Court and the charges were read to him. Guess what happened….. He Pleaded GUILTY! Guilty of various loots amounting to a gross total of fifty million British Pounds. Funds that could have built the Arhavwarien Bridge and reduce the suffering of my Urhobo brothers of Ughelli South LGA; funds that could have been deployed to bridging Okpai in Ndokwa West and reduce the suffering of my Ukwani brothers; or even deployed to bridging Burutu to the Delta mainland and opening up the Ijaw country south of the Delta; funds that could have been deployed wisely to connect Ugborodo in Escravos to Warri mainland through Omadino, or built the Koko-Ogheye road or even bridged Ode Itsekiri, the darling of the Itsekiri people, to the Warri mainland.
Guilty of what? Guilty of stealing the funds that were meant for the development of my community, my Ward, my LGA, and my State. Guilty of setting Delta State backwards for at least 40 years. Guilty of robbing my people of their dues and ruthlessly sucking the breasts of Delta State as if tomorrow no dey. Guilty of establishing subordinate thieves to inherit and further mismanage the brutally looted politico/economic structure of Delta State and setting the stage for further thievery.
But as the old saying goes, monkey no fine but him mama like am, so we have witnessed the congregation of beneficiaries of the thiefing system flood London to celebrate the release of their King, the King of Thieves. I hope someday soon, we are able to celebrate the transformation of our lives and our State, a State which has not been able to recover from the massive looting of her resources by the Ibori political dynasty 17 years running.
Welcome to Delta State, where people are available for nonsense; Welcome to Nigeria where Stealing is not corruption; where common criminals are either roasted alive or celebrated to the high heaven, depending on the volume of their loot.
By Quincy Onuwaje