The influence of James Ibori as a 'godfather' in Nigerian politics, is once again playing out. This time, a Senator, Peter Nwaboshi, on Thursday, claimed that the former Delta state governor who was released from prison in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, supported Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara to emerge as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively.
The Southwark Crown court had, on April 17, 2012, jailed Ibori for 13 years after he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and stealing $50m from the Delta State treasury.
Ibori was the governor of the state between 1999 and 2007.
According to Sahara Reporters, Nwabaoshi (PDP, Delta North), who spoke at Ibori's UK home, was boastful of how the former governor wielded political influence despite being in the prison.
The Senator, in a 5.18 minute-long video that went viral on Thursday, also said Ibori was instrumental to the selection of his successors in Delta state, while he also ensured that one of his children became a member of the stateâ€™s House of Assembly.
â€œMy name is distinguished Senator Nwabaoshi. I left Nigeria yesterday (Wednesday) because of my boss. James Ibori is my brother, my boss and somebody I very well love.
â€œThere are many people who have become governors and as soon as they leave the governorship seat, nobody remembers them again. There are many people, who have been governors and so many people, who served under them, canâ€™t even remember them again.
â€œThere are many people, by the grace of the Almighty God, who have had the opportunity to solve peopleâ€™s problem people will not even come when they have this problem. But James is a good man; the man who made everybody and nobody made him. That is the truth. There are many people who have been governors who did not have the opportunity to make their successors, but James Ibori made his successors.
â€œThere may never be a governor in Nigeria like this again, who will sit in the cell or prison and make a governor; and there may never be a governor again in the history of Nigeria who will sit in prison and make a Senator. There may never be a governor again in the country, who will sit in a cell and support the Senate President.
â€œThere may never be a governor, who will sit in a prison, and make a Speaker (of the House of Representatives), and there may never be a governor, who will sit in a cell or prison, and make his daughter a member of the House of Assembly.
â€œThere may never be any Nigerian man, who can pass through the tribulations you have passed through today and come out and everybody will be flying.
â€œWhen I was at the airport, a security agent came to me and said â€˜I know youâ€™re going (to the UK) because of James Ibori.â€™ I said â€˜I am going because of James Ibori and there is nothing you can do to me. I have authority to travel. If you want crisis, we will create crisis at the airport today.â€