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Former Delta State governor, and foremost apostle of resource control, true and fiscal federalism in Nigeria, Chief James Onanefe Ibori is 60 years today.
Felicitations and encomiums have been pouring in for the man many know to be the father of modern Delta State, because of the development strides he brought to bear on the state, which before his coming was less than a glorified local.
The man who with uncommon courage and sheer diligence and skilful diplomacy was able to douse the inter-tribal discord that turned Warri into a war zone, brought the Warri tribes to a conference table where truce was drawn, and the warring people embraced peace and became friends again. The peace that Warri is enjoying today can be unquestionable located in the peace foundation built by the political icon, Ibori.
That the Ijaw and other riverine communities of Delta State can be accessed by road is because of the foresight and development initiative of James Ibori. That civil servants in Delta State became men and women of honour, owning houses, and riding cars has its roots in the kind and benevolent foundation laid by the Odidigboigbo, Chief James Ibori as governor.
In his coming as governor of Delta State, Ibori distinguished himself as a fight for the cause of the down trodden, and a resister of the underdevelopment injustice which the Niger Delta people are plagued with.
It is this fight that his political traducers are not comfortable with, and which set him on a collision course with them, and for which had to suffer many frame ups, and accusations of allegations of offences he never committed.
It is therefore, no wonder that Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, gave a fitting tribute in his congratulatory message to Chief Ibori, who he fondly calls his leader, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, extolled the enigmatic political prowess of his former boss, describing him as a political colossus, astute administrator and an enthusiastic leader of impeccable disposition.
While noting the sterling and legendary contributions of Chief Ibori to the political development of Delta State and Nigeria, the Governor added that the Ibori political philosophy which has endeared him to Deltans and beyond will remain a subject of research by contemporary political watchers.
The Governor paid glowing tribute to Chief Ibori for championing the fight for Resource Control and Fiscal Federalism in Nigeria.
Okowa said: “My distinguished leader, that Oil producing states of the Niger Delta are enjoying 13 percent Derivation today is unarguably due to your indefatigable role as a champion of Resource Control and Fiscal Federalism.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I felicitate with a leader par excellence, Chief James Ibori, on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
“The immeasurable and invaluable contributions you have made to national development is indelible in the minds of Deltans and Nigerians. Your life symbolises the assured reward for single-minded commitment to the ideals of diligence, humility, perseverance, focus and dedicated service.
“Your uncommon leadership qualities, courage, and evident faith in the peace, unity, progress, and prosperity of our dear nation have seen you remain one of Nigeria’s most highly respected political icons over the years.
“Deltans and Nigerians cannot forget in a hurry how you laboured to build the most virile, potent and unassailable political family in Delta State and beyond even as your legacies still dot the nooks and crannies of the state.
“As you clock 60 years today, It is our prayer that God will continue to protect you and grant you good health to render more services to mankind,” Governor Okowa said.