Former governor of Delta state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, who returned to Nigeria last month had a thanksgiving service at Oghara Baptist Church to celebrate his freedom. The thanksgiving service was well attended.
Archbishop Goddowell Avwomakpa who is the founder of Christ Missionaries Crusaders Church International Inc has compared James Ibori to the biblical Samson describing him as a golden fish.
The cleric made this remark on Sunday, February 12 during the thanksgiving service organized by the leadership of Oghara community and held at the First Baptist Church, Ogharefe.
Ibori was released after serving jail term in UK prison in December 2015 for corruption-related offences and was treated to a hero’s welcome when he returned to Nigeria.
He said: “I termed them the only golden fish in Urhobo land.”
Ibori who spoke in English and Urhobo languages revealed that the reality of his seven years absence from the country was not as painful as the suffering and pains which his people were subjected to within the period of his absence.
His words: “My entire life is a testimony; I have said it over and again that my life was fashioned by God, directed by God, seen, acknowledged and blessed by God. I have always believed that since I was born, I’m living in accordance with destiny.
“I knew that one day, this day of celebration will come. I am indeed very pleased that I can now stand before you and look at your faces, especially the faces of those I have missed and those who suffered the pains of my absence.
“When I reflect on the past, it gives me joy that all your prayers have been answered by God; all your support and solidarity with me all through this period are untellable.
In attandance are, former Police Affairs Minister and his wife, Alaowie and Mrs Broderick Bozimo, Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Mr Ovuozourie Macaulay, Chief Solomon Fukekeme, Senator Patrick Osakwe and Mr Festus Ovie Agas, among others..
.The event was widely attended by thousands of supporters, including Ibori’s deputy, Chief Benjamin Elue, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Steve Oru, Managing Director of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Chief Williams Makinde, traditional rulers, serving and former commissioners, political stalwarts, captains of industries and artisans across the state.
Many traditional rulers across the state are also present, including the Ovie of Oghara, Ovie of Ughelli, Ovie of Evwre, Speaker of the Delta state house of assembly, Monday Igbuya; state PDP chairman, Kingsley Esiso, members of both past and present executive council of the state, house of assembly members and a host of others were at Oghara on Sunday to attend the church service.