Oshiomole, who spoke at a grand reception held at Owhelogbo, Isoko North Local Government Area, Delta State, by immediate past Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Ovuozorie Macaulay, in honour of a former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, said he would never join the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The ceremony was attended by Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator James Manager, former acting governor of the state, Mr. Sam Obi, former deputy governor of the state, Chief Benjamin Elue and top government functionaries.
Oshiomhole said: “The system that benefits from a situation where an Isoko man has not been a minister or chairman of a major board, that system cannot change. To change that system, you have to join the forces of change.”
He described Ibori as a bridge builder across all divides who popularized and mobilized for the struggle for resource control at a time most governors from the Niger Delta were afraid to fight for the course.
Reiterating that Ibori’s “footprints are everywhere,” he said the former governor maintained his bond with his people.
He retained his army of supporters even after many years out of the country, “ he added.
On his part, Governor, Okowa thanked Ibori for “laying a foundation that we are building on,” advising the people of the state to engage in actions that will strengthen their bond of unity.
Okowa said: “the more united we are, the better for our state, we should play politics that will engender unity. Most of us have been looking forward to an event like this where our leader is honoured.’’
Also speaking, immediate past Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, noted that “Chief James Ibori is up and he will never go down again.” He urged the people to avoid pulling down those who are in position of authority.
In his remarks, Chief Ibori urged leaders in the country to be courageous in standing on the part of the constitution and working for the people. “As an elder statesman, I will be happy if this democracy which we all fought for is deepened,” he added.
While expressing appreciation to Macaulay for the initiative to organize the reception, he said: “When you are in office, people will abuse you, allow them, that is the beauty of democracy, you must be courageous to stay on the part of the people, no matter the price; if there is any constitutional breach, you must stand up and oppose it.”
Earlier in his welcome address, immediate past Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay described Ibori as a resilient fighter for the rights of the Nigerian workers and masses, a courageous and selfless social crusader.