There he stood, drooping and drawn, with his muggy face shrunk to twice its texture, amidst the fearful and uncertain look coming from eyes that have finally stooped low to the pangs of destiny, and of the just heel of the law.
From all indications, it is clear that the fingers of Chief James Onanefe Ibori have, long before his advent into public limelight, obtained the undesirable light reputation. His romance with crime and criminality have a pedigree that is not at all short, having been convicted twice in the UK for stealing and misappropriation.
The fact that a man like Ibori was able to muzzle and meander his way in and out of Nigeria’s circle of importance, prominence and politics speak volumes of the peculiar nature of our polity, as our societal milieu is one among many that can hold and accommodate that level of intrigue and brigandage.
As is customary with most plunderers wearing the garb of public office holders, no recourse was made to adding some inkling of positivity to the whole gamut of trespass, by way of investing in viable and empowering ventures whether locally or in diaspora, as there were myriads of sectors and parastatals that would have been a lot better with a fraction of the fortune for which he was hunted all over like game and eventually rounded up.
But no, it looked better standing as lifeless assets of edificial houses, posh cars and beautiful mistresses. Or better still, it was ploughed into power play and high-wire politicking, which made him a king-maker of sorts, who charged the simple fee of bootlicking and ego massage for favours.
Now, like a ship whose wind is gone from its sail, the falsehood and deception which characterised him and on which he rode to the crest of political throe could not take him far, and it also gave him the jaded notion his wits could outrun the law, foreign law at least. He now sits, tail between his legs, on the palms and mercy of that same law.
It is pertinent to note at this juncture that despite all the media battering and controversy surrounding him, James Onanefe Ibori is a man that is sure beloved of the Lord. A closer analysis and incisive detailing of his sojourn would reveal the truism of this fact.
Right from his hey days to his high days, from the NNPC, to the UK, and back in the country, with all the criminality, he still managed to find relevance in the country’s creamy level, like the legendary cat with nine lives. This is just the latest in his long list of capers, which he constantly gambles away either due to carelessness or ignorance of the mercy that is copiously communicated to him.
There is nothing that is as cancerous to a man’s rise and sustenance in stardom as sexual immorality, and that is the root cause of his present predicament, and not just the corruption that is being generally trumpeted about. His frequent ward-rounds with women of easy virtue have made him look beyond his means to satisfy and empower them, and his position of prominence only provided a ready leeway to lay his hands on illicit funds to fuel and fan his vanity.
Another lesson on the futility of the promise of man is at play here. The calculations and projections of man will always collapse in the divine will of the Almighty, for He rules in the affairs of men.
It is sad that this same cycle of nemesis continues time and again, with out anyone being able to draw useful lessons from it. It caught the former second-in-command to a president, who was also in jail, a former IGP, a former attorney-general and several governors, just the same way the wind will blow the way of many more.
Ibori should, as a matter of importance, cleave wholly to God, enlist as his soldier and campaigner, and he will be amazed at the speed of his healing and reinstatement.
He will also marvel at the clearer view he will have of the vanity of needless acquisitions and the whole concept of life in itself.
Zaccheus, Lazarus and the thief on the right hand of the Lord were all castaways who received not only forgiveness, but justification, instantly. That is the only option open to him now.