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Alamieyesei­gha: While running from arrest, suffered arrest

The first civilian governor of Bay­elsa State, Chief Diepreye Solo­mon Peter Alamieyesei­gha died yesterday at the age of 63.

Alamieyeseigha popularly known as the ‘Governor- General of the Ijaw Nation’ reportedly developed com­plications from a kidney-re­lated aliment and was rushed from his hometown Amas­soma to Port Harcourt where he later died.

Checks indicated that Ala­mieyeseigha had gone for his usual medical trip to Dubai and was expected to rest before returning to Nigeria. However, he had to hurriedly leave Dubai after the United Kingdom wrote Nigeria re­questing for his extradition to UK to face money-launder­ing charges.

Back in Nigeria, he was said not to be his usual self until two days ago when he developed complications and had difficulty breath­ing. He was first rushed to Ebony Hospital, Port Har­court before being moved to University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) where he was placed on life support.

Sunday Sun gathered that Alamieyeseigha slipped into coma yesterday morning and some close family members were immediately contacted on the development. At 4.30 pm he was confirmed dead to family members.

His wife and some of his children were said to have been beside his hospital bed when he lost the battle for survival.

A family source said even when the doctors confirmed that he was dead, the family found it hard to believe and requested that the life sup­port machine should not be removed.

According to the source, the family is still in shock over his death because the kidney related ailment he had was being effectively managed.

Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah was said to have visited the hospital yesterday to know how Alamieyesei­gha was faring, after being placed on life support.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Gov­ernor, Mr Daniel Iworiso- Markson, who confirmed the death of the former governor, declared Alamieyeseigha’s death as a monumental loss to the state and the Ijaw na­tion.

…Recent political struggles


Until his death at the age of 63, yesterday, at the University of Port Harcourt Teach­ing Hospital, former governor Diepreye Ala­mieyeseigha had made it clear that he was go­ing to lead the battle for the re-election of Gov­ernor Henry Seriake Dickson on December 5 governorship election.

His acceptance to head the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state advisory campaign council was seen as a major boost to the re-election bid of Dickson in the face of the challenge from the All Progressives Congress (APC)

Alamieyeseigha in his campaign for the PDP and for the Dickson government had revealed that he was part of the backers of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) noting that with his under­standing of the major play­ers in the APC, the party had nothing to offer to the Ijaw nation.

He decided to go to Dubai for the medical check up on time, so that he could be fit to participate in the PDP campaigns, which are expected to kick-off on Oc­tober 17 and where he was expected to be one of the key players.

His strategic importance to the re-election bid of Dickson especially as his popularity among the people had not waned made many people to rise in his defence when the United Kingdom recently requested for his extradition to London to face money laundering charges.

Family sources said he had to leave Dubai without observing the mandatory bed rest because of the ex­tradition request so that he wouldn’t suffer the same fate as James Ibori, when he was extradited from Dubai to London to face corruption charges.

Chairman of the Bayelsa State caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Foster Ogola who read political undertone to the extradi­tion request condemned the fresh moves to have former Governor Diepreye Ala­mieyesiegha extradited to Britain.

Senator Ogala raised pos­ers on the rationale for the extradition notice by Britain.

According to him, the lat­est moves were suspicious, noting that Alamieyesiegha had gone through a legal process, prosecuted by a competent court of jurisdic­tion, indicted, sentenced and was granted presidential par­don.

He asked: “What is the basis of this new extradition having gone through all le­gal process culminating in a presidential pardon?”

Bayelsa State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ser­ena Dokubo-Spiff also con­demned the extradition no­tice and said it smacked of high-level conspiracy.

He accused the leadership of the All Progressives Con­gress (APC) in the state as brains behind the extradition plot, which he regarded as a conscious step to destroy the Ijaw nation. This, he said, was unfortunate and a clear injustice.

He said: “The extradition notice smacks of high level conspiracy contrived by some powerful elements in the APC government, who are out to destroy the Ijaw nation. They plotted against our son, Mr. President, and denied him the opportunity of returning to power and now they are after another noble son of ours in the per­son of DSP Alamieyesiegha. This injustice will not stand. How many times will a man be convicted for the same of­fence?”

The party chairman cas­tigated the APC leadership in the state, saying its an­tics suggested that it was against the Ijaw nation and why the PDP has been tell­ing the people to reject it at the polls.

“This election is not about Dickson but the collective interest of the Ijaw nation. From all indications, the APC is against the Ijaw na­tion and that is why our peo­ple must reject it,” he said.

On its part, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) while de­fending Alamieyeseigha, reiterated its position on an earlier statement about the extradition notice, warning that the Ijaw nation would not sit idly and watch its leaders disgraced by those it referred to as “cabals’ in the Buhari administration.

Unfortunately Alami­eyeseigha did not have the chance to speak about the UK extradition request as he died yesterday afternoon.

His life and times


Chief Diepreye Al a m i e y e s e i ­gha was born on November 16, 1952 in Amassoma, Og­boin North Local Gov­ernment Area, Bayelsa State. He attended the Bishop Dimeari Grammar School, Yenagoa.

After his secondary educa­tion, he proceeded to the Ni­gerian Defence Academy as a Cadet Officer in 1974, and was later commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force, where he served in the Department of Logistics and Supply.

Having held various com­mand positions in Enugu, Markurdi, Kaduna and Ikeja, Alamieyeseigha retired from the Nigerian Air Force in 1992 as a Squadron Leader.

On quitting the Nigerian Air Force, he became the Sole Ad­ministrator of Pabod Supplies Port Harcourt.

Later on, he was later ap­pointed as Head of Budget, Planning, Research and De­velopment of the National Fertiliser Company of Nigeria (NAFCON).

At the dawn of the present democratic dispensation in 1999, he became a founding member of the Peoples Demo­cratic Party and was elected as the first civilian governor of Bayelsa State. He got re-elect­ed in 2003 but was impeached on December 9, 2005, over al­legations of corrupt practices.

The late Alamieyeseigha was succeeded by his then Deputy as governor, Dr Good­luck Jonathan, who in due time eventually rose to the national prominence as the first minori­ty citizen of Nigeria to become the president of Nigeria.

Long before his demise, Alamieyeseigha was detained in London on charges of mon­ey laundering in September 2005. At the time of his ar­rest, the Metropolitan Police reportedly found about £1m in cash in his London home. Latreportedly found about £1m in er, they found a total of £1.8m ($3.2m) in cash and in bank accounts. He has been found to own a real estate in London worth an alleged £10 million. ­

He escaped from Britain, al­legedly disguised as a woman, though he denied this claim.

On July 26, 2007, before a Nigerian courtroom, Alami­eyeseigha pleaded guilty to a six-count charge and was sentenced to two years impris­onment on each charge. His incarceration was, however, made short than expected as the sentences ran concurrent­ly. The court, consequently, ordered that his assets be forfeited to the Bayelsa State Government.

In December 2009, the fed­eral government hired a Brit­ish law firm to help dispose of four expensive properties acquired by Alamieyeseigha in London. It was learnt that Alamieyeseigha had bought one of the properties for £1,750,000.00 in July 2003, paying in cash. Diepreye Sol­omon Peter Alamieyeseigha used it as his London resi­dence, and as the office of one of his businesses — Solomon and Peters Inc.

On June 28, 2012, the Unit­ed States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it had executed an asset for­feiture order on $401,931 in a Massachusetts brokerage fund traceable to Alamieyeseigha. US prosecutors filed court papers in April 2011 targeting the Massachusetts brokerage fund and a $600,000 Maryland home, which, they alleged, were the proceeds of Alami­eyeseigha’s corrupt appetite.

Succour came for him on March 2, 2013, when former President Goodluck Jonathan granted him pardon. Though many condemned this, the former President said he had no regrets over the state par­don he granted someone he regarded as his political bene­factor, who discovered, men­tored and brought him into politics.

Jonathan attributed his suc­cess in his political career to the efforts of Alamieyeseigha.

Late Chief Diepreye Solo­mon Peter Alamieyeseigha is survived by his wife, Marga­ret and two children, Victor Alamieyeseigha and Tombra Alamieyeseigha. Another son, Oyamuyefa Alamieyeseigha died in 2013.