The Ijaw people rallied at a reception in Akugbene Town, over the weekend to honour Chief James Onanefe Ibori with a chieftaincy title, for the developmental strides he brought to the Akugbene town, the Ijaw Land and the entire Delta State during his 1999 to 2007 governorship tenure.
Ibori’s Media Assistant, Tony Eluemunor said in a press statement that Ibori was particularly touched by this uncommon gesture of gratitude that came his way 11 years after he had left office.
Eluemunor said in that statement yesterday that the people of Akugbene reminded Ibori while conferring the title of Izonfini-Owei of Ijaw on him that until he built the 612 metres long Bomadi Bridge over River Forcados, at the cost $50 Million (USD), cars had no access to the Bomadi LGA and the other 11 communities, namely: Ogriagbene, Esama, Akugbene, Bomadi, Kpakiama, Ekamuta-gbene, Azebiri, Ogodobiri, Okoloba and Kalafuo-gbene. The Bridge made possible the first road connection between the Ijaw mainland and the riverine areas.
By June 2005 when the bridge was completed, no other state government in Nigeria had built a bridge of such magnitude anywhere in Nigeria.
Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, also said “Chief James Ibori’s relentless developmental stride while in office has lessened the means for people to access riverine communities of the State”
Okowa Speaking at Akugbene Town during the 20th coronation anniversary of HRM, Stanley Luke, Kalanama Viii, Pere of Akugbene -Mein Kingdom, expressed joy that he and his entourage were able to access the Akugbene town by road network unlike in the past when the town could only be reached by the water way.
“I must thank our leader, former Governor James Ibori, who because he is a courageous and bold man, took on a project at that time that was nearly impossible for state governments to undertake.”