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James Ibori: We Still Have A Long Way To Go! ― By Ik Muo

I don’t know what the generation of 3017 will think of this era and this generation. 

Our sense of shame quotient has fallen so low that while those who do evil things do not come to the light because they do not want their evil deeds to be seen (John 3:22-23), Nigerian evil doers covet the light and dance brazenly in the market square because they know that nothing will happen as those who can make something to happen either have corpses, or they worship in the same alter. 

At worse, the person will decamp  from one party to another and immediately, old things become anew. 

The seats and corridors of power are occupied by people some of whom are so stained that the devil will be ashamed to consort with them and yet, they continuously make public sanctimonious admonitions. 

Even the NASS, the oversighter-in-chief of Nigeria, has refused to tell anybody how it shares its money; the money it assigns to itself as it deems fit. We have degenerated to the level where people facing corruption charges attend court sessions in celebrity modes!

President Zuma of South-Africa was investigated and found guilty by one small-girl in charge of their own EFCC equivalent. 

There was presidential impeachment in Brazil and nothing happened. 

The former MD of IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was docked for taking an unusual interest on a maid in a New York City hotel. 

Christine Lagarde, the current MD of the same IMF was found guilty on 19/12/16-of criminal charges linked to the misuse of public funds during her time as France’s finance minister. 

These are in climes where the lady of justice is really blind and thus flogs right, left and center as the law dictates. 

The case of the former Israeli President, Moshe Katsav (2007-2001) is also very relevant to the purpose of this piece. He was released on 21/12/16 after serving 5 years in jail for rape and sexual assault.  

At the prison gate, he was met by just 12 family members and a few supporters. He hugged his wife, entered a car and went home. And that was that. 

But in this our blessed country, big men are rarely arraigned and even if they were arraigned, it turns into an embarrassing circus show and even those who are convicted stage grand home-coming ceremonies, like the BBN evictees and winners! 

I still remember the case of Chief Bode George.  

Gaily dressed drummers and cheering crowd were a regular feature of his court appearances; his prison apartment became a mecca of sorts and when he was released, an unruly crowd escorted him from the prison to the church for thanksgiving, causing unimaginable hold-up all over Lagos. 

On the intimidating convoy were serving Federal ministers, Governors, Obasanjo and other  and hangers on. 

The whole show, covered live by AIT, gave the misleading impression that a Nobel prize winner  was being welcomed back home and some people wore  T-shirts describing  him as the Joseph of our time and Atona Odua (the torch bearer of Yorubaland!). 

It was so bad that a little girl innocently asked the father: why don’t you go to jail?!!!!

That was the first and probably the last time I agreed with Lai Mohammed who said “There is nothing wrong in rehabilitating a prisoner. But turning an occasion that calls for pertinence and soberness to a carnival of sorts is a disservice to Nigeria.

“It also ridicules Nigeria in the eyes of the world”. Bode George was eventually cleared by the courts (and not by the presidency as it is today) but by the time these were happening, he was guilty as charged. That was 6 years ago.

The recent mass-hysteria revolving around the triumphant entry of  one James Ononafe Ibori  has turned the Bode-George charade  into a mediocre, old-testament affair. 

James Ibori had mysteriously walked out of several tight-corners, the last being when a judge in  Delta State declared him free of all iniquities as against the EFCC 170 charges in 2009. 

But by the act of the gods he found himself in a clime where things are done as they ought to be and he landed in prison, after he had pleaded guilty of the 20-count charges against him. 

He graduated from prison, was released on 21/12/16, and that was when  our usual madness  exploded. There was mass celebration in Delta where people, prodigiously dabbed themselves in powder, a traditional sign of euphoria, and engaged in communal  revelry. 

The DTSG  from which the $200m in question was fleeced declared that We are all very happy that our son, our brother is back and the only expression  as a state is that we are happy. 

There was a reception party for him in London, while other powerful Deltans  travelled to UK to  congratulate him on his release. On his return (4/2/17), the ancient town of Oghara had a once in a lifetime carnival. 

All the big men in Delta were  at  the  Osubi airport to receive  him including the SSG. 

This was followed by a homage (5/2/17) by governor Okowa and his cabinet while on Sunday, 12/2/17, Delta stood still as it hosted an unforgettable bash for Ibori, costing millions of tax -payers money, in addition to the known and unknown amount already lost to the Ibori years.

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