Chief James Onanefe Ibori, born 4th August, 1958, is a former Governor of Delta State and, arguably, one of the most vocal advocates of resource control in Nigeria.
Born to the family of late Chief Ukavbe Ibori and Mrs. Comfort Oji Ibori of Otefe in Oghara clan, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, he attended Baptist High School, Oghareki, now Oghareki Grammar School, before proceeding to the University of Benin where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Statistics. He started his working career with Mobil Oil Nigeria Limited and was later seconded to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as one of the pioneer staff assembled to develop the marketing department of the corporation’s Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company. He later quit for the exciting world of business.
Between 1994 and 1997, he served as a consultant to the Federal Government in the areas of public policy formulation and implementation. His major assignment during this period was the research, which resulted in the formulation of a national drug policy for the country. A proposal he submitted to the Federal Government was the basis on which Decree 3 of 1995 was promulgated and the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Drug Matters was established.
A lover of sports, he was passionate about sports development. He built the Warri Township Stadium and six smaller ones. The investments in sports yielded good dividends as Delta State several times won the National Sports Festival. For these and many other developmental projects in electricity, agriculture, health, water resources and housing, he has received several awards for distinguish leadership and service from many
organisations and institutions including the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Leadership Watch, Centre for Youth Development, South South Peoples Assembly, Exams Ethics Project, the University of Nigeria Alumni Association, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, University of Benin Alumni Association, Delta State Baptist Conference as well as a citation from the Assembly of the State of Wisconsin celebrating the establishment of the James Ibori Centre for Policy Studies, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the enhancement and furtherance of human
development in Africa.
Ibori is both loved and admired by Deltans and non-Deltans. The calls of excitement he received whenever he made a public appearance within and outside Delta State is a testimony to this. He is fondly referred to as Odidigboigbo of Africa. This, surely, is in admiration of his undaunted, unbowed, unflinching, indomitable and irrepressible spirit. Ibori has seen challenging moments, and he has gone through them with gracious ease, but he ascribes his victories to the mercy of the Almighty God.