- Frenzied reactions trail ex-governor’s Twitter account
By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
A new phase of politics in Delta State and the Niger Delta region as whole may be unfolding as the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori yesterday held closed-door meetings with several politicians from within and outside Delta State.
Amongst the prominent politicians that met with Ibori at his country home in Oghara included the incumbent governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and his predecessor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
THISDAY also learnt that Ibori met with several prominent politicians, mostly Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) executives in the South-south, who paid him a solidarity visit.
Journalists were denied access to the ex-governor’s palatial residence, after a thanksgiving service was held in his honour by his kinsmen.
Having served out his prison sentence for money laundering in the United Kingdom, Ibori returned to the country on Saturday through Abuja, where he had a brief meeting with the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura before proceeding to his home state into the waiting arms of relations, kinsmen and political associates.
Oghara, the capital of Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, was electrified on Saturday as his convoy approached the town at Oghara junction along the Warri-Benin expressway where hordes of associates were waiting.
THISDAY observed that well wishers continued to besieged his Oghara residence yesterday where a reception was organised by his kinsmen last night.
There were musicians and musical stands at different locations to entertain the people.
It was a carnival-like atmosphere in Oghara also, as men, women and youths danced round the town and sang praises in his honour.
A chieftain of PDP in the state, Chief Sunny Onuesoke told THISDAY that his clansmen were happy over the “return of one of their own”.
“We are happy that Ibori is back, people are jubilating, the crowd you are seeing here, 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 the beginning of so many good things to come; by his presence I am sure we are gaining back all we have lost.
“Ibori remains in the Peoples Democratic Party, but it is not time to discuss politics, all his followers around are members of PDP,” he said.
Meanwhile, barely 24 hours after his return to Nigeria, Ibori yesterday took to Twitter yesterday morning with his first tweet from his @ChiefIbori account, saying, “Good morning Nigerians. #myfirstTweet.”
At 9.32am, he went on to post a 44 second video of the mammoth crowd that came to welcome him on Saturday as he alighted from his car.
Ascribed under the video was “I’m excited to reunite with my people. The strength of any politician lies in hands of his followers.
“The energy yesterday was electrifying and intimidating. I’m grateful”.
At press time, the video has had 67 retweets and 24 likes, while over 555 persons were following him at 5.27 p.m.
Ibori, who was yet to follow any individual on Twitter, has his bio-data as “politician, former Governor of Delta State (1999-2007), dad, philanthropist and business man”.
As expected, his presence on the social media platform threw many Nigerian Twitter users into a frenzy and elicited mixed reactions from his supporters and traducers.
It was an interesting mix of people who commented on his page. While some welcomed him back heartily, others did not mince words when they told him to quit Twitter and show remorse.
One Akpesiri Akatugba while responding to Ibori’s traducers wrote: “You just tweeted like an unintelligent individual. Chief Ibori, welcome back joor.”
Kunle Onitiri wrote, “@ChiefIbori welcome home”, while one Donald tweeting from @ItzDking wrote, “@ChiefIbori leader I greet you and remain loyal.”
Ronald Edwin wrote, “Baba don join Twitter. The next thing is to join the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
Adeboyega Adedeji said, “@ChiefIbori Welcome back home. You are the son of the soil. Nothing do you. Thank God for your life.”
One of his critics, one Vincent Igwebuike wrote, “@ChiefIbori I suggest you add ex-convict to your profile sir.”
Another tweet from African Experience said, “@ChiefIbori You are a criminal shame on you! Hope you took the time in prison to reflect on how you hurt your people by stealing from them.”
Omoyemi Tilewa wrote, “@ChiefIbori Kindly seek for forgiveness for stealing your state money and don’t be proud of stealing. The bible also kicks against it.”