Secondus leads dignitaries to Delta as Urhoboland celebrates Ibori

The people of Urhoboland in Delta state are planning a grand reception for James Ibori, a former governor of Delta state.

Among the dignitaries to witness the event scheduled for Saturday are Uche Secondus, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta; Emmanuel Uduaghan, the immediate past governor.

It will hold at the Unity Square Ovwor, Olomu, Ughelli South local government area of the state.

The programme will be chaired by Andrew Godwin Onokerhoraye, an emeritus professor and former vice chancellor of the University of Benin.

Ministering at the thanksgiving service are Cyril Odutemu, bishop of Ughelli Diocese of the Anglican Communion and God-Dowell Avwomakpa, bishop of Christ Missionary Crusaders.

Ibori, an Urhobo indigene, was governor of Delta state from 1999 to 2007.

Shortly after he left power, anti-corruption agencies started investigating him for alleged corruption.

A court had initially absolved him of corruption charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but the commission filed an appeal and the case continued.

Ibori eventually fled the country to evade arrest but he was nabbed in Dubai in 2010 and extradited to the UK where he was convicted and jailed in April 2012.

He was accused of stealing nearly £50m from the coffers of the oil-rich state.

Ibori regained freedom in 2016 and returned to Nigeria the following year. A mammoth crowd welcomed him home, making many to wonder how he his travail did not affect his popularity.

Since his return Ibori has attended high-profile events and has also spoken at a number of programmes.