From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) bigwigs defied heavy downpour yesterday to honour former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Solomon Alamieyeseigha as he was buried in his home town, Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Speaking at the ceremony attended by political leaders and prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta, Jonathan declared that Alamieyeseigha’s death left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Ijaw and political associates.
Jonathan who recalled his political relationship with Alamieyeseigha said the legacies left by the former governor would endure for a long time.
According to him, when they came in 1999, Bayelsa was in a difficult situation and they had to work hard to enthrone peace.
“We met a Bayelsa that was under siege. Because of the siege, elections were postponed with one month. Even the military administrator then wrote to the Federal Government about the difficulty.
“When we took over, there were two governments. Alamieyeseigha and I on one hand and the militant youths on the other. Alams gave us three things. He gave us vision, peace, social integration and infrastructural development.
“He established the Niger Delta University and said without education, you cannot propel your people. Alams encouraged peace. He visited militant camps. Some people said the governor and the deputy should not go together. But we did. Alams encouraged such visits until peace came to Bayelsa State,” Jonathan said.
Dickson and the former governor of Borno and Acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu-Sheriff, in their separate tributes raised concern over the rising tension among political leaders from the six geo-political regions over the perceived disunity and fear of political intimidation by the Federal Government led by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Modu-Sherrif described Alamieyeseigha as a dogged fighter and a man of peace, a detribalized Nigerian who believed in the cause and emancipation of his people.
He expressed pain that the late former governor was persecuted because he believed in a cause.
“We should allow people say their mind under a new Nigeria. Nigeria should allow the people to live their lives like a freeborn,” Modu-Sheriff said.
Speaking in the same vein, Governor Dickson noted that Alamieyeseigha was hunted to death by the federal government, and added: “I will call on the federal government to unite the people. They should consult and form a consensus on building bridge.”
Dickson described Alameiseigha as a bridge builder that dedicated his life to creating a unifying relationship with people of different cultures and ideals, for which he was bestowed with a traditional title by the Emir of Katsina, adding, “He stood his ground for what is right. That is the significance of the Ijaw nation. Ijaw nation believes in true Nigeria and true federalism.”
Dignitaries at the event include the Acting BoT chairman of PDP, Alhaji Jibril Aminu, former governor of Akwa Ibom, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, and former governor of Taraba State, Rev Jolly Nyame, among others.