Former Bayelsa governor, Alamieyeseigha, dies at 62

Diepreye AlamieyeseighaFirst civilian Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, died on Saturday at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State.

Popularly referred to as the Ijaw Governor-General, the 62-year-old reportedly slipped into coma on Thursday and was rushed to the hospital.

Family sources said he was diabetic and hypertensive.

Incumbent Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson, described Alamieyeseigha’s death as a personal loss to him, the government and people of the state.

Dickson, in statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said Alamieyeseigha was a strong supporter of his administration.

He said in the statement that Alamieyeseigha’s demise was a very painful and monumental loss to the entire Ijaw nation, which he had always defended.

The Bayelsa State governor also commiserated with the deceased’s wife, Margaret, his immediate family and the entire people of the state, noting that the Ijaws had lost a “rare gem”.

Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial district, Ben Murray-Bruce, paid glowing tribute to the man he described as “worthy son of the Ijaw nation.”

According to Murray-Bruce, “Chief Alamieyeseigha was a bridge builder who succeeded in uniting the Ijaw nation, an achievement that earned him the title Governor General of the Ijaw nation.

“Even after leaving office as Governor, DSP was of great service to Nigeria in his courageous efforts to end the Niger Delta militancy at great risk to his personal safety.

“Chief Alamieyeseigha also made inroads to other parts of the nation in order to build unity and compromise which are always needed in Nigeria.”

Alamieyeseigha was born on November 16, 1952 in Amassoma, Ogboin North Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

He was born on November 16, 1952 in Amassoma, Ogboin North Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.

He attended the Bishop Dimeari Grammar School, Yenagoa, joining the Nigerian Defence Academy as a Cadet Officer in 1974, before joining the Nigerian Air Force, where he served in the Department of Logistics and Supply.

He held various Air Force positions in Enugu, Makurdi, Kaduna and Ikeja, retiring in 1992 as a Squadron Leader.

He became governor of Bayelsa in 1999 but was impeached on allegations of corruption on December 9, 2005 during his second term.

His Deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, succeeded him.

Justice Mohammed Shuaibu of the Federal High Court sentenced him to two years in prison in July 2007 but the former governor was released shortly afterwards having spent two years in prison.

Former President Jonathan granted him state pardon in May 2013 but the United Kingdom government, which arrested him in September 2005 during the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, recently requested for his extradition to face charges for the alleged crime.