The Ibori saga has produced quite a dangerous clannish solidarity among his Oghara clan of Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State. When Mr Ogbonna Onovo, the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force despatched his men to get Ibori, the villain, his Urhobo kinsmen bared their fangs, searched for their amulets and came out with sharpened cutlass to defend their son. This is a shameful valour! Nigerian politics has been falling into this dangerous ethnic curve to the chagrin of law-respecting citizens who believe in the rule of law. When crime is interpreted using ethnicity as yardstick, we better begin to entertain the apocalyptic society of Thomas Hobbes where life is lawless, short, nasty and brutish.
The same ethnic grandstanding was displayed during the laundering travail of Alaymesia, aka, Bobo Alsco, the former Governor of Bayelsa State. His kinsmen raised ethnic storm by building a Jericho-like wall of protection around a man caught with incontrovertible evidence of his laundering crime. The Urhobos may have succeeded in handing Ibori an escape route to Dubai. The senseless illegality and shame of such action may soon come to haunt them. When Ibori was the Emperor of the realm, he bought the local, jobless hooligans using state money. So when his political travail surfaced, they had to pay back his generosity with full and unalloyed solidarity.
A band of stupid, senseless, brain-dead local urchins had to engage the state police in hand-to-hand combat to defend a man who stole their destiny and pauperised their future. Political education among our poor is still low in Nigeria. Many are still enamoured by corrupt and rogue politicians to the utter helplessness of even political scientists.
The Nigerian Police Force as we all know is efficient in inefficiency. Performance deforms the force at all levels. In the name of the creator of the universe, how could a combined team of our Police, SSS and EFCC failed to captute Mr James Onanefe Ibori? What sort of barricade could stand in the way of our hardened, well-armed, riot tested and fearless mobile force on a red hot mission? Yes, you can guess my hunches. The history of Ibori as a ‘settler’ of the high and mighty is well known.
He may have telephoned the Police chiefs with tempting offer too hard to resist. Nigerian Police officers are poorly paid and without bribe many of them would have been scavenging for food from dustbins. So, when the price was right, the ‘mission commanders’ were then given firm instruction to cool the chase and allow Ibori to flee to exile. Just like that! As warned, this is just hunches. Hunches or honcho, Mr Onovo would have been relieved of his coveted job if he were to commit such blunder in Europe and America. Police officers all over the world trained to catch criminals and when a big ‘criminal’ like Ibori was allowed to slip past a tight mobile dragnet, heads must begin to roll as appropriate punishment for dereliction of duty.
I doff my hat to the few courageous souls in the Delta Elders Forum who stood shoulder-to-shoulder to tackle and hound out Ibori who shamelessly and brazenly desecrated his people’s trust and raped their resources with demonic zeal. Ibori must have heard the first bad news that may coil around him like poison ivy for many years to come. The Southwalk Crown Court in London weeks ago sentenced his sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori and his mistress, Udoamaka Okoronkwo to five years in the slammer after being found guilty. The two women were convicted for helping Ibori to launder about 70 million pounds sterling in different London banks.
Meanwhile in Dubai, Ibori is still buying justice with his money. The United Arab Emirate is cagey and playing an immoral card of money answers to all things. Justice setters in this Arabian paradise may not give Ibori away for the baying, snarling hounds in UK and Nigeria simply because of Ibori’s substantial business interest in Dubai. Furthermore, they reasoned that if the runaway former governor is extradited, other corrupt African who have laundered their country’s wealth and deposited it in Dubai may develop cold feet and take their dirty, ill-gotten asset and flee. The simplest interpretation of the whole saga is obvious. James Onanefe Ibori may have escaped both Nigeria and UK’s justice for the time being. But for how long? Ibori can run and hide but he could not trump over justice forever. Ah…I take that back.
Ibori is a calculating man who could use his tranche of cash to but his present, hypocritical enemies into inaction. Yar’Adua was his famous victim. And few years from today, we may all wake up one clear morning to the announcement that Ibori has been given an amnesty. Period. In all these shenanigans, who gains? Old, ever reserved UK is the gainer. UK sits on Ibori’s assets and money and is still fighting hard to gain his soul through its mutual legal treaty with the UAE. May UK’s fighting spirit win the day.