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Government & Politics

What Went Wrong? Niger Delta Governors Shun Alamieyeseigha’s Burial in Bayelsa

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The burial ceremony of Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was shunned by top Niger Delta governors and personalities thereby raising suspicious of a feud.

Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
The remains of the first civilian Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, in a gold-plated casket, were on Saturday buried in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, amid tears, eulogies and tributes.

Alamieyeseigha, fondly called the ‘Governor-General’ of the Ijaw nation, died on October 10, 2015, of high blood pressure-related ailment at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State.

The casket was lowered into the tomb he (Alamieyeseigha) prepared for himself in his Amassoma residence about 3:00pm.

He was buried after a commendation service by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Diocese of Niger Delta West, at Amassoma Secondary School field.

The casket bearing the remains of Alamieyeseigha arrived at the commendation service venue about 12.30 pm.

Notable politicians and personalities that attended the funeral were former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience; Governor Seriake Dickson and his wife, Rachael; and the National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Sen. Modu Sheriff.

Others were Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; former Governor of Akwa Ibom State,  Sen. Godswill Akpabio;  Senator representing Bayelsa Central, Emmanuel Paulker; former Governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame; Senator representing Delta South, James Manager; Niger Delta activist,  Ann Kio Briggs;  Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, John Jonah and his Delta counterpart,  Kingsley Otuaro; among others.

Most governors of the states in the Niger Delta were not seen at the funeral service.

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Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, was represented at the event by his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro. Governors of Rivers, Nyesom Wike; Edo, Adams Oshiomhole; Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel; and Cross River, Prof. Ben Ayade were absent.

Prominent opposition politicians such as former Governor of Bayelsa, Timipre Sylva; former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe; Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heinekein Lokpobiri; among others did not attend the burial.

Speaking at the burial ceremony, Dickson said Alamieyeseigha’s demise was a trying time for the Ijaw nation. He described the ex-governor as “a bridge builder” who believed in what is right for his people.

Dickson said, “We know we have lost a true hero but we have to put ourselves together and pray for his gentle soul to rest in peace.”

Jonathan, in his tribute, described the deceased as a man of vision who brought development to the state.

Jonathan said Alamieyeseigha’s legacy on education and infrastructural development would not be forgotten in the history of Bayelsa and Ijaw nation.

“He brought to us the Niger Delta University; he was a man with vision, champion for peace, unity and social integration,” the former President stated.

In his tribute, Sheriff  said Alamieyeseigha’s death was regrettable, adding that the former governor was a real hero, who championed the emancipation of his people.

On her part, Briggs said the burial of Alamieyeseigha would be a turning point in the history of the Ijaw people and the Niger Delta.

Alamieyeseigha was pardoned by Jonathan after he was convicted of stealing Bayelsa State funds while he was governor.

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