How Okowa Blew N250m On Reception For Ex-Convict Former Governor James Ibori - SR

How Okowa Blew N250m On Reception For Ex-Convict Former Governor James Ibori - SR

Saturday's Thanksgiving and grand reception for Mr. James Ibori, the former Delta State governor convicted for money laundering, SaharaReporters has learned, cost the government of Delta State N250 million. The event, which held at the Unity Square, Ovwor, Olomu in Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state, was fully supported by Mr. Ibori's protégé and incumbent governor. Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa.

In February 2017, Mr. Okowa approved an expenditure of N350 million for a thanksgiving service and reception in honor of Mr Ibori, who was released from jail in the United Kingdom (UK) in December 2015 after serving a 13-year term for corrupt enrichment and money laundering.

Top government sources told SaharaReporters that Saturday’s event, organized by the Mr. John Oguma-headed Urhobo Political Class, was backed by Mr. Okowa as a way of ensuring Mr. Ibori's support for his second term bid.

"The governor knows he has to please  Ibori ahead of the 2019 elections. All the Aso-Ebi used for the event were paid for by the state government. So was the flight that brought the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus, and all the members of the party's National Working Committee," said a top government source.

He explained that Mr. Okowa simply used Urhobo Political Class as a facade.    

According to the source, the event was conceived by Mr. Oguma, a contractor to the state government and ally of the governor, but was seized by Mr. Okowa.

Another government official told SaharaReporters that apart from the money paid for the chartered flight, a huge sum of money was shared among the entourage of the PDP National Chairman. "Governor Okowa picked the date for the Thanksgiving and reception for Ibori. He also used the opportunity to ensure that the PDP National Chairman could commission a road project in Ughelli," the source said.

Shortly after receiving Mr. Secondus and members of the NWC, Mr. Okowa took the PDP National Chairman to commission the resurfaced Amekpa/Afiesere/Ofuoma Road in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state before going to the reception venue.

Speaking at the reception, Mr. Secondus, described Mr. Ibori as a national hero that must be accorded respect.