On a remarkable day and unforgettable one for former Delta state governor James Ibori , that a London court ruled he could return to Nigeria, he immediately signaled a possible political comeback in the country.
He told Reuters he would return within days to Nigeria.
Ibori was released from British prison in December after serving half of his 13-year sentence, taking into account pre-trial detention.
“What happens in African politics – you are in it until you die,” Ibori told Reuters in London on Tuesday.
“I am a politician, I will always be a politician. I play the politics in my party and in my country for the good of my people,” he said after a court hearing, part of ongoing legal proceedings in his case.
Ibori’s release had reportedly prompted dancing in the streets in parts of Delta State.
Asked if he would run for office again, Ibori said he was barred from doing so for 10 years because of his conviction, but that he intended to appeal to have that conviction overturned.
The appeal would centre on an allegation, made by one of Ibori’s former associates, that a British police officer had taken bribes in return for inside information on the case before Ibori’s conviction, and that prosecutors had covered it up.
British police say the allegation was investigated, resulting in no arrests or charges.
The state prosecution service says material supporting the allegation exists and it initially failed to disclose that to Ibori’s defence team, but it is confident Ibori’s conviction remains valid. Court proceedings are ongoing.
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