Delta State witnessed a wild jubilation, especially in Oghara, the hometown of ex-gov James Onanefe Ibori, when he was announced to have regained his freedom.
The people, who expressed their joy in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, said that Ibori’s release was a huge relief to them.
The Ovie of Oghara, Orefe 11, Noble Eshimeton, told NAN on phone that the entire people of Oghara were grateful to God for the release of their son.
“I am grateful to God for his release. I was in a traditional council meeting in Asaba when one of my subjects called me that Ibori has been released.
“He has worked for us hard and I am hopeful that his release will open a new chapter in Oghara,” he said.
Eshimeton said that a traditional council would set up a committee to give the former governor a befitting reception.
Mr Ben Igbakpa, a former commissioner in the state, said that his release had brought joy to the entire Oghara people especially and the entire people of Delta.
“Oghara is agog with celebration that our benefactor, leader, father and visionary had been left off the hook.
“His release is a lesson to all; it shows that no matter how long one’s torture or hard times lasts, it will one day come to an end.
“I want all Deltans to reflect on this and ask ourselves what our individual and collective tasks in the course of his travails. We should ask ourselves where we got it wrong,” Igbakpa said.
Sen. Ighoyota Amori, a former commissioner in the state and one of Ibori’s close loyalists, said his joy was unquantifiable.
Amori, who spoke through his media aide, Mr Felix Ekwu, thanked God and all the people who stood by them throughout Ibori’s travail through thick and thin.
“We thank all for their support and give God all the glory, there is celebrations in Oghara town, people are happy.
“There is celebration everywhere in Oghara, Mosogar, Jesse and the whole Urhobo and Delta State,” he said.
Mr Josiah Ntekume, the Public Relations Officer (PRO interim) of Urhobo Progressive Union, described the release as a new dawn in the Urhobo nation.
“We the Urhobo people are indeed very happy with the release of Ibori,” he said.
Also, Mr Sunny Areh, former media aide to Ibori, said that his boss did something the people would ever live to appreciate.
“The people still celebrate him 10 years after he left office shows how the people love him. His release is the best thing to happen to Delta people,” Areh said.
Sources said celebration had caused serious gridlock in Oghara town and part of the Oghara/Benin expressway.
NAN also reports that Ibori was released on Dec. 21, after his conviction in April 2012 over a 50 million dollar fraud.