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Nigeria Must Help James Ibori By Sonala Olumhense

This is an urgent appeal to the People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP): do something!

This is an urgent appeal to the People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria (PDP): do something!

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It is an appeal to the youth of Oghara, Ibori’s hometown: do something!
It is an appeal to the University of Benin: do something!
It is an appeal to *President Goodluck Jonathan, and to Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Delta State Governor, and to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and to the Nigeria Police: do something!!!

Do something before James Ibori, the “Odidigborigbo of Africa,” former Delta State governor and almost-2011-Operation Zuma-running-mate-to-Umaru Yar’Adua, makes an unscheduled appearance in a London court.

Do something tonight or tomorrow, but certainly no later than Saturday, and get Ibori back to Oghara, Abuja or Lagos, or any of those places where people truly know his value.  Do something and help him back to these shores where Justice Marcel Awokulehin can set him free of every charge against him.

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Or have you not heard?  Next Sunday, a court judge in Dubai will decide whether or not to grant the United Kingdom’s extradition request for the mover and shaker. 

We cannot pretend not to know what means, can we?  We know that they hate Ibori, don’t we?  We know the UK claims it has jailed him twice in the past.
They claim he is a serial money launderer and has made the same of his associates, family and friends.  And only a few months ago, they jailed Mrs. Udoamaka Okoronkwo-Onuigbo, Ibori’s previous main squeeze before (sorry, after) his wife.  And they jailed his only sister, Christine Ibori-Ibie.

And we know that even as we sit drinking this ogogoro, they are trying Ibori’s wife, Nkoyo, in a London court.  They are trying his lawyer, the redoubtable Bhadresh Gohil. 

But it is Ibori himself they really want.  They want to put his hands in handcuffs and his legs in shackles, and then take photographs of him and put him on CNN and YouTube, right next to his beautiful site at Ibori don come (sorry, 

They want to humiliate him.  They want to separate him from the millions of Naira he earned legitimately from his backbreaking work on his farms, his osusu, his department stores, his stocks and bonds, his factories and his industries.

They want to stop him from making his brilliant speeches, such as the one he gave at the University of Benin City in November 2009, the same day the Federal High Court in Asaba doused him in saintly sosorobia and dismissed all the charges against him.

They want to separate him from the love and admiration of his people, his state, and his great party.

They want to seize him from Dubai, an Emirate where he is owns property and is adored, and drag him like a common criminal into England.
They want to treat him like an ordinary citizen, his mouth bound so he can only speak through ten-kobo-per-hour lawyers, and then send him to an ordinary jail.

But he is a dignitary, and the UK should not be permitted to treat him this way.  The UK, a Commonwealth country Ibori has been visiting for years in executive jets and with a diplomatic passport, should be reminded to be grateful.  The UK, the economy of which he has propped up by living in its choicest hotels, buying its best real estate, drinking its choicest wines, and servicing—I mean, comforting—its freest women, should be reminded that this man is an institution.

Think about it: but for the Odidiogogoro, Yar’Adua would never have occupied Nigeria’s presidency.  That means that Goodluck Jonathan might never have smelt Abuja, let alone the rarified air of Aso Rock.  In the name of Yar’Adua, Ibori should be treated like a star of the party in his moment of need.
Clearly, Jonathan’s government, which this week set Julius Berger free of Halliburton mammoth corruption charges, knows that institutions must be respected.  It has refused to put on trial any of the big bribesmen and bribeswomen involved in Halliburton and other international and domestic scandals, proving it understands that all fingers are not the same.  This courtesy should be extended to Ibori. This is the time that the big guy needs his friends and admirers, including the University of Benin which last year begged the Third Class Honours former student to speak at its Founders Day.  Even UNIBEN knew he would be acquitted!

But now, there is no time to lose.  Nigeria should deploy its best hands and brains to Dubai to bring Ibori home.   The money is there.  The executive jets are there.  If you look at the UAE, since 2008, their marvelous development efforts have been slowed by the international economic downturn. 
We could offer them our overflowing expertise.  We can bribe…I mean, offer them the vast Nigerian market for their products, and promise them a remarkable civil aviation treaty under which 140 million Nigerians will travel only Emirates Airlines.  We can promise them our entire population will support Arsenal Football Club.    We can offer than Nwankwo Kanu and JayJay Okocha, footballers they beg to see in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, however, it may be late to conclude any such negotiations.  In order to grant the Odidiogogoro justice, we will have to act on our own. 
We could use The Crate, the very same one that the Muhammadu Buhari regime once pressed into service to bring home the despised former Transport

Minister, Umaru Dikko.

For a great talent such as Ibori, Nigeria should spare no expense.  For only $30 or $40 million dollars, we can get this done.  Properly organized with the PDP’s usual attention to detail in winning elections and solving national problems, he can be home in a matter of hours.  The beauty of this plan is that the Odidiogogoro can land anywhere: Ghana, South Africa, Oghara, Abuja, Lagos…and vanish into thin air.

Remember, there is the History question here.  How can a man that we set free of ALL of 170 charges be declared guilty by anyone else?  How can they say he laundered money when he did not steal our money?

And oh yes: the Odidiogogoro will be foaming from the mouth after they give him that injection.  He will be angry and uncomfortable in a crate.  But it will be the best thing for him because there will be no time to explain the plan to him.  And it is a plan he will come to appreciate later.  He will call it the “crate of life” as he savours his champagne.

This plan will demonstrate that the PDP is not only “Africa’s biggest party,” but also an appreciative and all-conquering force capable of giving the British a black eye.  It will come to be feared worldwide as a party that solves its own problems in its own way.  It will become an international force, not just a local champion.

It is important to take this action otherwise people will begin to think the party is weak or in decline.  The PDP is a party of many big men who must defend themselves by defending Ibori.  It should not permit the impression that any of its top figures is weak or defencelesss.  To prove how fair the party is, it encourages its most dubious and disreputable to run for the highest offices in the land, and they rarely lose.  It is called image-laundering.  It is important for Ibori to return in time to run for a significant office next year.

We must never forget that Ibori is clean.  There is no speck of dust on him.  That is why he beats justice as if he were JayJay Okocha abusing the Cameroonian soccer team at the Cup of Nations.  He had already beaten justice in the UK.  He beat justice in Kaduna.  He beat justice in Abuja.   He beat justice in Asaba.  He beat justice in Oghara.  He beat justice at the University of Benin.  All he needs now is a little help, over the next day or two, and he will bludgeon justice in the head again.  He is not a thief.  Nobody in the PDP is a thief; that is why they may embarrass Michael Aondoakaa, but he is a free man.  Why should anybody suffer simply because the British do not like your face?

It is time to do something!  Up Ibori!

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