The former Delta State governor , Chief James Ibori, serves out his prison term in the United Kingdom on December 20, and plans have reached an advanced stage for his return and defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress, upon his return to Nigeria, The Point has learnt.
Ibori, who was jailed by a Southwark Crown Court on April 17, 2012, on allegations of fraud and money laundering, it was learnt, would be returning home to re-build his political base and also, “take his pound of flesh against his enemies.”
The London court eventually sentenced the former governor of Delta State to 13 years in prison, after he pleaded guilty to a 10-count charge of money laundering and stealing the sum of $250 million from the treasury.
A source, however, said that the former governor believes that his ordeal in British jail was masterminded from home by both former President Goodluck Jonathan and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.
It was also gathered that Ibori may have been scheduled to return to the country on December 23, aboard a chartered jet via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, where his political associates and family members are expected to give him a red-carpet reception, before jetting out to the Osubi Airstrip. From the Osubi Airstrip, his convoy will take off to his palatial country home, situated in Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of the
A source confided in Nigeria News that Ibori’s political associates in Delta State and across Nigeria had lately been engaged in series of meetings aimed at perfecting the former governor’s defection to the APC “shortly after his return to Nigeria.”
It was further learnt that the move by Ibori to join the APC on his return to Nigeria was hatched by his old loyalists, who felt that the former governor needed a new political machinery and base after serving out his jail term in the UK, to spite his political foes, believed to be concentrated in his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
Another source, however, said that the plan by Ibori and his loyalists to defect to the ruling party at the centre was to ward off any re-arrest and fresh prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after his return home.
Many of the former governor’s loyalists are, however, keeping the defection plan very close to their hearts, feigning ignorance and avoiding comments on the matter.
Nigeria News gathered that the former governor had, early this year, instructed all his loyalists to move to the APC in batches, in preparation for his return to the country and subsequent defection to the ruling party.
Political observers are of the opinion that Ibori’s return in December would open a new vista in Delta Sate politics, the formal return of the former governor of Delta State may change the political equation in the state, since he still remains a powerful politician, despite his incarceration in a UK prison since 2012.
A politician, who pleaded anonymity, said, “The Odidigborigbo of Delta State politics, as he is fondly called, is one of the most distinguished sons of the Urhobo nation, who has changed the politics of the state since he became the governor in 1999.
“There is no politician in the state today, except for the new breed that has not being under the tutelage of Chief Ibori. He single handedly made most politicians we see in the corridors of power today.”