Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson says the death of Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha will not deter the Ijaws and people of the Niger Delta, but will rather serve as a catalyst for them to join other democratic forces to fight against injustice and oppression in Nigeria.
Governor Dickson spoke at a commendation service organised in honour of the departed former governor of the state at Amassoma at the weekend, which had in attendance former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience, Dr Rachael Seriake Dickson, PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Ali Modu-Sheriff, National Assembly members, including former Akwa Ibom State Governor and Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, House minority leader, Hon Leo Ogor and the Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah.
Others were Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and the deputy Governor of Delta State, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, former Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, his Taraba State counterpart, Rev. Jolly Nyame, Bishops Emmanuel Oko-Jaja and James Oruwori of the Anglican Communion, among other notable personalities from within and outside the country.
According to the Governor, majority of Bayelsans and the people of the Niger Delta believe in the politics of Alamieyeseigha and would therefore, do everything within their reach to keep his dreams and aspirations for the region alive.
Describing Chief Alamieyeseighe as a bridge builder, who believed in the corporate existence of Nigeria, Hon Dickson maintained that, the country would be better off for all to live in, if the needs and fears of the ethnic minorities are addressed.
He expressed gratitude to past and serving governors, national assembly members, friends as well as political associates of the Late Governor-General, including former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori for identifying with the Alamieyeseigha family and the state in their bereavement.
His words: “This is a very trying moment in the life of our state, the Niger Delta and Nigeria. A bridge builder has departed. He was not Ganuwa Katsina for nothing. He was Ganuwa Katsina as a sign of the bridges of understanding and solidarity that he and his friends and colleagues built to strengthen this our nation.
“Chief Alamieyeseigha as you know stood for what was right for our state, Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta. We believe in a federal Nigeria, where the rights of all, including the minorities will be respected. We believe in Nigeria that can be supported to be stable, democratic and prosperous. That is what all our leaders have committed themselves to and Chief Alamieyeseigha stood by these principles.”
Speaking in the same vein, Dr Jonathan said, though death is an inevitable experience awaiting all mortals, the circumstances that led to the passage of Chief Alamieyeseigha leaves a bitter taste in the memory of his people.
The former President described the late Ijaw hero as a man, who was passionately committed to the development of Bayelsa and the Niger Delta, stressing that, the Alamieyeseigha/Jonathan administration in Bayelsa State did not only work hard to curb the issue of youth restiveness, but also laid the foundation for infrastructural and social transformation of the state, which successive governments are building upon.
In his tribute contained in a letter read at the ceremony by Mr Tam Brisibe, former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori said Chief Alamieyeseigha died as a martyr for the Niger Delta while fighting against the injustices and oppression orchestrated by adversaries of the region.
Describing his late friend as a detribalised person, Chief Ibori acknowledged the efforts of Chief Alamieyeseigha in resolving the prolonged crisis between the Ijaws and the Itsekiris and youth militancy in their days as governors of Bayelsa and Delta states, pointing out that, Alamieyeseigha was one of the few Nigerians that fearlessly condemned the imposition of a state of emergency in Plateau State by the then Obasanjo administration.
According to him, “You led the battle from the front like the Kings of medieval Europe. You died from wounds sustained in battle. You are our martyr. Your spirit stoutly opposed injustice and tyranny. And, in 2005, when Nigeria was under the grip of a budding tyrant, you felt injustice must be confronted and that a society that cowers before tyrants is unworthy of freedom.
“How can we forget how furious you were when Odi was demolished with youth militancy as a justification. And when a state of emergency was imposed in Plateau state, you publicly condemned it as an unconstitutional act of rascality. DSP, the events that led to your death climaxed well before your orchestrated arrest.”
Also speaking, the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Modu Sheriff lamented the long period of neglect and environmental degradation suffered by the people of the Niger Delta, inspite of their enormous contributions to the commonwealth of the country and pledged to support the region in fighting for its rights.
According to Alhaji Sheriff, he came to terms with the grim realities facing oil bearing communities, when the late former governor invited him to Bayelsa during his days as Minority Leader in the senate, adding “when I came and saw Bayelsa for the first time, I asked, is this the state that produces half of the oil we use in Nigeria?”