By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, yesterday attributed his ordeal to the handiwork of his detractors, insisting that they sent him to jail for committing no offence.
He, however, said he has left them to God for judgment, promising that he would soon unfold his next plan of action.
Ibori spoke at a thanksgiving service organised by his kinsmen at the First Baptist Church, Oghara-Efe in the state which was attended by prominent citizens of the state including his cousin, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Others who witnessed the ceremony included former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderic Bozimo; Senator Ighoyota Amori, Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Mr. Makinde; House of Representatives member, Evelyn Oboro; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya; Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Mr. Ovuozourie Macaulay, Chief Solomon Fukekeme, Senator Patrick Osakwe and Mr. Festus Ovie Agas, among others.
Ibori said what was uppermost in his mind when the whole issue started was the pains, suffering his people and followers would go through but thanked God that he was back in their midst.
“I drew myself from God and somehow, I knew that God will stand by me. I knew that one day, this day will come. I am indeed very pleased that I can stand before you, look at your faces, the faces I have missed, the people I have missed,” he said amid ovation by his followers.
Ibori said further that “so when I reflect on it, it gives me joy that God has answered all your prayers. I will never forget all your support and solidarity for me all through this period.”
The former governor said he has handed his traducers to God for judgment, adding that he would not pursue any case again in London.
Ibori assured his followers that they would soon hear from him the next step he would take, noting that they should be patient with him.
He stated that if he were to give testimony of his journey it would take time that the only testimony he had was to say he was alive, well and back in their midst.
The traditional ruler of Oghara, Noble Eshemitan, Orefe III, described Ibori as a very humble man who has respect for elders and his seniors.
He recounted how he wanted to visit the former governor on his return from London after his ordeal and how he politely turned him down and instead, preferred to visit him in his palace.
“Upon his return, I put a call across to him that I wanted to visit him but he said no your majesty. It is I that will come to you. That’s the kind of person Ibori is,” he said.
The Vice President of Pentecostal Federation of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Awomakpa, who led other pastors to preside over the service, described Ibori as a worthy son of the state and Nigeria as a whole.
In his sermon titled: ‘Knowing the gift of God’ anchored on John 1 verse 6, bishop Awomakpa said Ibori was God’s gift, adding that “it has been a problem that the people have not recognise a gift of God in Ibori.”