On August 4, 2022, friends and well-wishers celebrated the birth of a legendary achiever, who was birthed into this divide of the African continent sixty-four years ago, Chief James Onanefe Ibori.
James Ibori is one of the world’s most celebrated icons leaders, who was born in the now vibrant community of Otefe, Oghara, in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The significant role James Ibori played alongside his vibrant cabinet in the development of Delta State, has yielded a robust economy and investors hub in the State. He has been an inspiration to many in his group, providing great leadership as he has indeed led the Big heart state for eight years. Ibori has been a mentor of no mean repute and many can’t but join the rest of the world in celebrating his uncommon zeal for the development of Delta state.
His glowing visage, kingly mien has bellied his age. From that synergy of brain and good outlook, Governor James Ibori is a sterling leader with unique qualities of a distinguished pedagogue.
Reaching this rung of an elder statesman, at age 64, is no easy reach. It’s a height reached by rare grace and privilege, especially for a man who has faced his fair share of political tribulations and tough times. Despite this, God has used him to affect many lives far and near.
Chief Ibori, not forgetting his humble beginnings, as it is evident in his style of leadership. struggled through life to attain the level he was destined to live.
A devout christian and illustrious father whose shade of paternity differs from the usual. A rare gift both as a husband and father, and a consummate friend of the downtrodden. For those whose parts have crossed his, the testimonies abound about the much that God has helped him to do to help mankind.
As an ebullient governor of Delta state, Ibori achieved many feats during his tenure, yet he made no noise about them.
In 1999, Chief Ibori took the political world by storm. Despite the fact that not many people expected him to make an appreciable impact at his debut in the Delta State governorship race in 1999, like a bolt from the blue, the never-say-die spirit in him helped him to brush aside every other contender, won the governorship election and became His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Delta State on May 29, 1999.
In his first term in office, Chief Ibori was like a man in a hurry to succeed. The speed with which he settled down to work surprised even his worst detractor. His government built Asaba and lined it with modern infrastructure that turned the city into a befitting state capital.
His untainted achievements in the education sector are unqualified. Knowing that education is the bedrock of development, Ibori built schools, renovated existing ones, and established additional campuses of the Delta State University in Oleh, Asaba, in addition to the main campus at Abraka.
Reports have it that it was during his administration that the University Teaching Hospital, Oghara, was established. He built the Delta State Polytechnics at Oghara, Ozoro, and Ogwashi-Uku under the Delta State Higher Education Project, DSHEP. He also built the College of Education at Mosogar. Are these not laudable?
James Ibori laid the foundation of the Asaba Airport, upgraded the Osubi Airport in Warri and created other massive infrastructure in the state.
He was a development addict; he focused his attention on Trunk A, B, and C roads, while his administration built six long bridges – the Omadino Bridge, Bomadi Bridge, and others. These are evidence of Ibori’s focused leadership style.
Many administrations during his year of governance never took rural electrification seriously, but Ibori in his wisdom ensured that all rural communities in Delta State got electricity. The Delta State Rural Development Agency, collaborated with relevant agencies to ensure this.
Chief Ibori was a civil servant friendly governor who made massive recruitments in the civil service, backed up with other incentives to boost the Delta State workforce. Interestingly, during his tenure, there was no single industrial strike arising from unpaid salaries or other issues of remuneration.
Between 1999 and 2007, Ibori fought for and sustained the resource control and fiscal federalism aspiration. Through the Ibori Vanguard, he made the Niger Delta struggle for resource control a global phenomenon. He and other leaders of like mind exposed the plight of the Niger Delta people to the rest of the world.
There is no gain saying that he remains a gift, not only to his families and associates, he’s an asset to Delta state.
For the Children he has saved through his free health care mission, for the Free treatment for Pregnant mothers, for the subsidized transport fares across the state, for the beautiful schools he built, for the beautiful Asaba Airport and roads that he constructed, for the peace and security in the state, for the Students that he consistently paid bursaries for, we say 64 hearty Cheers!
As we congratulate and celebrate this amazon and leader of the Big heart state at 64, it’s our sincere supplication to God that this era of his life will be bright and blessed with happiness and fulfilments, as he has blessed others.
Olamide Adeniyi is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper