*Holds Valedictory Session In His Honour
*Jonathan, Dickson, Others Pay Glowing Tributes
*Sylva, Other APC Chieftains Absent
The remains of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the former Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation and former civilian governor of Bayelsa state, who died on October 10, 2015, will be laid to rest at the Ijaw Heroes Memorial Park in Yenagoa on Saturday.
In his honour, the Bayelsa State government on Friday held a valedictory State Executive Council (SEC) session, presided over by Seriake Dickson, governor of the state.
In attendance were former President Goodluck Jonathan, wife of Alamieyeseigha, Margaret; Deputy Governor John Jonah; Speaker Konbowei Benson and members of the state House of Assembly; Serena Dokubo-Spiff, Secretary to the State Government (SSG); Talford Ongolo, past Chief of Staff, Government House, and present officials of government and traditional rulers led by the first military governor of old Rivers State and Chairman, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, Alfred Diete-Spiff.
Others were members of the National Assembly from the state including Senators Ben Murray-Bruce, Foster Ogola, Emmanuel Paulker, Fred Agbedi, Douye Diri and Mrs. Sodaguo Festus-Omoni of the House of Representatives.
Also present were Adolphus Wabara, former Senate President; former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu; Labaran Maku, former Minister of Information and Culture; and Senator Walid Jubrin, the current Acting BoT chairman of PDP.
Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) family in Bayelsa led by Timipre Sylva, former governor of the state who served as Alamieyeseigha’s Special Adviser on Political Matters, were absent at the valedictory session.
The body of Alamieyeseigha in a casket draped with the green-red-blue-white flag of the state had earlier in the day arrived in Yenagoa from Port Harcourt with a procession by Ijaw youths.
It was laid in state at 2:10 p.m. in the Banquet Hall of Government House, venue of the valedictory session, which Dickson officially renamed and unveiled as Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall.
Dickson also announced the renaming of the Etegwe-Tombia-Amassoma Road that leads to the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, and Shell’s multi-billion Naira gas gathering facility, among others, as the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Road in his honour.
Speaker after speaker paid glowing tributes to Alamieyeseigha, a native of Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, who died on Saturday, October 10, 2015, aged 62.
In his tribute, Jonathan said he had a cordial relationship with his former boss, Alamieyeseigha, who took him as a close ally and “gave me the opportunity to run the state as a deputy governor.
“Today is a sad day for us. But Alamieyeseigha impacted significantly on Bayelsa. He did so much.
“He gave me the opportunity to run the state, though not to award contracts. I handled administrative issues. I was not redundant,” Jonathan said.
Governor Dickson described the executive session as “an extra-ordinary session and a solemn one,” saying it was “the first time we are burying a former governor of our state to make history and to honour history.”
“Chief Alamieyeseigha died at a time when his services were most needed. The state and Ijaw nation have lost a companion, a great supporter and great leader.
“He was our father, brother, uncle and leader that we fondly called ‘Governor-General’,” he said.
Dickson further announced that the state government would build a mausoleum for Alamieyeseigha and would also inter him at the Ijaw Heroes Memorial Park in Yenagoa.
He pledged to ensure that the Ijaw History project which Alamieyeseigha started and was advanced by Jonathan would be sustained and projected.
The governor also used the opportunity to express gratitude to Jonathan for granting Alamieyeseigha presidential pardon, stressing that it was “the right thing to do for our leader.”
Also speaking, the state Chief Judge, enumerated the achievements recorded by the Alamieyeseigha-led administration in the judicial arm of government, stressing that “he laid a solid foundation for the growth and development of the judiciary.”
In their tributes, Talford Ongolo, who served as Alamieyeseigha’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Steve Azaiki (Agric Commissioner and later Head of Service), Claudius Enegesi (Agric, Transport, Commerce and Industry), Thompson Okorotie (Political Adviser), Mrs. Megan Bozimo (Women Affairs) and Agatha Goma (Education), variously reminisced the warm experiences they shared with Alamieyeseigha and extolled the fatherly and leadership qualities of their former boss.
They described him as a mentor, counselor, kind-hearted, lover, passionate and committed leader of Ijaw nation who served his people selflessly.
Meanwhile, commercial banks and shops located along the Chief Melford Okilo Expressway were closed to business in honour of late Alamieyeseigha.
It was gathered that the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) insisted that the business outlets should remain closed but the development was questioned by some stakeholders who said it was an unnecessary burden on the people.
It was learnt that the main Swali Ultra Modern Market in downtown Yenagoa remained open for business while shops and other business outlets in the area continued to do brisk business.
As the motorcade of the late Governor General of Ijaw Nation passed through the capital, scores of traders and shop owners were forced to hurriedly close their shops for fear of irate youths.
Unconfirmed reports said some knife wielding youths attacked some shops in the guise of mourning the late governor’s death and forcefully took away some goods in what is said to be reminiscent of Boro Day celebrations.
A lecture and night of tributes was held in Alamieyeseigha’s honour on Thursday.
And in a fitting tribute to him, the lecture by Gabriel Godini Darah, an erudite scholar and former chief of staff in Delta State, challenged governor’s of Niger Delta states to revive the struggle for resource control and fiscal federalism.
Darah, a professor of English Language at Delta State University, Abraka stated: “Niger Delta governors and legislators must come together and revive the resource control struggle like it used to be during the time of Alamieyeseigha as governor of Bayelsa.”
He pointed out that the only benefit of the struggle thus far was its influence on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to make Jonathan vice president of Nigeria in 2007 from where he later became president.