James Ibori is back like he never left and Nigeria's political terrain is just about to get madder. Don't bet against it
Ibori was Governor of oil rich Delta from 1999 to 2007.
In 2010, Ibori was arrested in Dubai and extradited to the UK where he was convicted based on evidence from the Metropolitan Police.
He was arrested in Dubai on May 13, 2010; on an international warrant after being declared wanted by the UK Metropolitan Police.
In 2012, Ibori was jailed in the U.K for fraud totaling nearly 50 million pounds.
By some accounts, Ibori stole USD250 million from the Nigerian people.
In December of 2016, Ibori was set free by a Southwark Crown Court after serving just over four years of a 13-year jail term.
Ighoyota Amori, who is Ibori's political adviser, confirmed the Ogidigbodigbo's return to AFP.
“Chief James Ibori has arrived. He landed in Abuja in the early hours,” said Amori.
Latest reports say Ibori has arrived his hometown of Oghara in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
So, what now that he's back?
Here are four things an Ibori return means for everyone:
1. Ibori will continue to decide who governs Delta State
Ibori was choosing Governors and Senators for Delta State while holed up in a U.K prison.
He'll continue to do just that.
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, owes his election to Ibori.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central Senatorial District in the upper legislative chamber, is an Ibori 'boy'.
Most of the lawmakers in the Delta State House of Assembly are Ibori stooges.
Governor Okowa can't wait to hand Ibori a bear hug and a seat at the King maker's table .
Last year, as news filtered in concerning Ibori's release, Okowa made his excitement and giddiness public.
The Delta State Governor said: "Ibori built the political family in Delta state in this current dispensation starting 1999. He was the first democratically elected Governor in this dispensation; he was a rallying point for everybody…even some of the politicians that have broken out now and trying to make waves in other parties, actually grew under him.
"Ibori built most of the roads you see and nobody can take it away from him,” Okowa added.
Ibori is really that powerful.
2. Ibori will likely run for Senate in 2019
This script is beginning to play out rather nicely.
The people of Delta State love Ibori so much, they'll organise an elaborate party to receive him.
"An elaborate reception will be organised later for him in Oghara, his hometown,” said political adviser Amori.
Ben Igbakpa, a former commissioner in Delta state told the media last year that “Oghara is agog with celebration that our benefactor, leader, father and visionary has been let off the hook.
“His release is a lesson to all; it shows that no matter how long one’s torture or hard times last, it will one day come to an end”.
ALSO READ: 4 Things James Ibori wants you to know
When Ibori decides to run for Senate in 2019, he'll cite love and support from his people as reason why he's throwing his hat into the political ring yet again.
It all looks set now.
A bronze statue in Ibori's honour is about to be erected in a street corner in Delta State.
And someday, Ibori could run for the position of Nigeria's President. Who knows?
3. Ibori will remain a member of the PDP
Delta State Governor Okowa, says Ibori erected the political structure in the State.
"Whosoever and wherever they are, he built the political family that came up so strong in Delta State", Okowa said.
Ibori will remain active in the political arena ahead of the 2019 elections and he'll still be calling the shots from the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)--the dominant political party in Delta State.
He may have stolen so much money, but he still has enough to last him a lifetime; and enough to keep splurging around political circles in Nigeria.
4. He'll appeal his conviction
Ibori will want to prove to everyone that he was wrongfully convicted, by appealing his sentence.
Especially because by appealing his conviction, he'll stand a better chance of contesting for political office in Nigeria.
He yearns for a clean slate.
"Yes, I am planning to appeal my conviction. I have instructed my solicitors (to appeal)", Ibori announced last week.
The Nigerian Senate is ready to welcome Ibori with open arms.
Section 137 (1) of the Nigerian constitution bars people indicted for various offences (including fraud) from contesting elections.
But the Senate has been hard at work as it attempts to amend the section or yank it off in its entirety.
Ibori was so influential in Nigeria's political circles, he funded the 2007 presidential election victory of the late Umaru Yar'adua.
As he returns on a chariot and red carpet in Delta State, it won't hurt to know that Nigeria's political family just swelled by one.
An Ibori Presidency someday, anyone?