Despite being an ex-convict, the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, has continued to enjoy loyalty and respect from the political class in the state.
Mr. Ibori was convicted of corruption and money laundering in the U.K in 2012 and was jailed for 13 years.
He came back to Nigeria in February 2017 after he was released from the U.K prison in December 2016.
Mr. Ibori is alleged to have stolen more than $250 million from the treasury of the oil-rich Delta State, plunging even more of his people into abject poverty and deprivation.
The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, Thursday, while celebrating Mr. Ibori on his birthday, however, described the former governor as having made legendary contributions to the political development of the state and Nigeria as a whole.
Mr. Ibori is 58 today.
“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,” Mr. Okowa’s spokesperson, Charles Aniagwu, quoted the governor as saying about Mr. Ibori.
Mr. Okowa, who described Mr. Ibori as being “an astute administrator and enthusiastic leader of impeccable disposition”, said the former governor championed the fight for resource control and fiscal federalism in the country.
“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 58th birthday.
“It is our prayer that God will continue to protect you and grant you good health to render more services to mankind,” the governor said.