The ancient town of Oghara in Ethiope West local Government Area of Delta was in a carnival mood on Saturday as former governor, James Ibori arrived home after being deported to Nigeria on the completion of his jail term in a UK prison.
Ibori, who was convicted by a British court on charges of money laundering, arrived at the Benin Airport on Saturday aboard a chartered plane, IZYAIR, with registration number India Zulu Yanky (5NIZY). He was initially scheduled to land at Osubi Airport in Warri. The flight, a Challenger 60, landed at Benin airport at about 2.25pm
Ibori stepped into his country home Oghara at about 3:30 pm and his residence was thronged by well wishers and political associates, who came to rejoice with him.
Outside of his residence, Oghara was in frenzy as hundreds of people marched round the town carrying leaves while some painted their faces with chalk. Musical bands entertained the crowd at various points.
Ighoyota Amori, a former senator representing Delta Central, said the return of Ibori was a good sing of better things to come for the people.
“We are happy that Ibori is back, people are jubilating, the crowd you see here and the enthusiasm that has been displayed today showed that we really missed him.
“This is the only way for us to appreciate that our leader who left us long ago is back.
“His coming is a beginning of so many good things to come, by his presence today, l am sure we are gaining back all we have lost.
“Ibori remains in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but it is not time to discuss politics. All his followers around are members of PDP,” Amori said.
Lovett Idisi, member representing Ethiope East and Ethiope West Federal Constituency, thanked God for the safe return of Ibori.
“We prayed that all our PDP faithful should be steadfast now that we have a pure political direction.
“Their support has not been in vain, I believe now that our leader is out, we will have a sense of direction. We are a sheep with a shepherd right now.
“In my constituency, we now have somebody to consult without travelling overseas,” Idisi said.
One of Oghara’s youth leaders, Efe Moses said the return of Ibori would turn things around for the good of the town.
“We are grateful to God for the return of our chief. Sure things will turn around for better from now on in Oghara.
“Ibori is our father and we can die because of him,’’ Moses said.
Security was beefed up to maintain law and order within and outside the Ibori residence.