Former senator representing Delta central in the National Assembly, Ighoyota Amori, has lashed out at critics of James Onanefe Ibori, a former governor of Delta state who was released from UK prison on Wednesday, December 21, 2016.
Responding to a question on why Ibori should be celebrated having been jailed for crimes he committed against the state, Amori said Ibori is not a thief neither is he a corrupt man, undermining the criminal evidences that landed him jail term in London.
Amori, in a text message in response to Deltaxclusive question, said Ibori had never stolen money from anybody, describing as media trial the anger of Nigerians over the encomiums being poured on him after his release from the UK prison.
Amori’s denials followed the barrage of criticisms that have littered the media, especially the online platforms following the encomium Delta politicians and his associates are pouring on Ibori, describing him as their political hero and father of Delta politics.
Online and social media critics have described Ibori as a corrupt man and a thief who stole the money of Delta state and was convicted in London for money laundering and criminal conspiracies.
But politicians in Delta and other political associates of Ibori have continuously praised Ibori, relegating to the background the criminal case leveled against him by the London court and the overwhelming evidences which kept him in London prison.
Amori said: “Thief what? Can you tell me whose money he stole and how much you found in his account? It’s all media trial. Did he steal from the United Kingdom or the federal government of Nigeria or did Delta state government complain that Ibori stole her money.
“Ibori made wealth long before he became governor. He has houses in the United Kingdom, Lagos, Calabar and Oghara before he became a governor and he has a flourishing business and he is also a publisher”.
Giving reasons why Ibori must be celebrated from prison, he said: “Why won’t we celebrate his release from prison? Were Awolowo, Obasanjo, Mandela, Gowon, Bode George, Umaru Dikko and others not celebrated when they came out of prisons?”
He said Ibori touched so much lives in Delta, he built bridges, roads, higher institutions, employed and empowered so many people in Delta before, during and after he became governor of the state.
Amori, who is one of the people who benefited from the government of Ibori which ran from May 1999 to May 29, 2007, explained that Ibori is one of the greatest leaders in Nigeria as his legacies in Delta remain incomparable to many other governors from his time till now.
The former senator, who was booted out of office by the Court of Appeal in Benin and replaced by Labour Party candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, said Ibori is a hero and being a hero he must be celebrated as his impact has remained unbeatable in the history of Nigeria and Delta state.
He explained his support for Ibori because Ibori “is his brother”, adding:
“There is an age long saying that if your country is quarreling with your friend, you should take side with your friend.”
The ex-senator invited all Deltans and Nigerians to join him in celebrating the political hero of the present Nigeria.