A former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, on Wednesday wept at the graveside of former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
Mr. Ibori visited the graveside during a condolence visit to the family of the deceased in Amassoma, Bayelsa State. Messrs. Ibori and Alamieyeseigha were elected governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party as Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999 and re-elected in 2003.
But Mr. Alamieyeseigha was impeached and jailed for alleged corrupt practice a year later, while Mr. Ibori completed his second term before he was also jailed in the United Kingdom for corrupt practice as governor.
Mr. Alamieyeseigha died in November 2015 while his friend and ally was still serving his jail term abroad.
Mr. Ibori who was accompanied on the visit to Amassoma by political leaders and stakeholders from Delta State, including the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya, described Mr. Alamieyeseigha as a patriotic leader who was very courageous and outspoken and stood on the side of his people at all times.
He said he was devastated when news of Mr. Alamieyeseigha’s death got to him in the United Kingdom where Mr. Ibori was in prison.
He said they both shared a common ideology and relationship, which was very deep, and added that
Mr. Alamieyeseigha fought against oppression and evil which ultimately led to his untimely death.
While sympathising with the family of the deceased former governor, Mr. Ibori urged the family to take solace in the fact that he was a good man who will forever be remembered for his legacies and also the reality that what he believed in will not die.
The former Delta State Governor who equally took time to visit the graveside of Mr. Alamieyeseigha assured the family that he would always remember and stand by them, as Mr. Alamieyeseigha would have done same for his family.
Earlier, Mr. Ibori had visited Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, at the Government House in
Yenagoa where he also expressed his sympathy to the government and people of the state over the death of their first civilian governor.
According to him, the visit was to appreciate Governor Dickson for immortalising the deceased by renaming the Government House banquet hall after him and for pushing forward his noble ideas of governance and strong agitation for rights of Ijaw people and Niger Delta.
“I take solace in the fact that having met you, I am encouraged that indeed the flag only flew half mast for a couple of days and after that the flag is flying again. Thank you for playing your bit to immortalise him. He may have left us but his spirit is still with us”.
In his remarks, Governor Dickson said the visit was solemn but historic and thanked Mr. Ibori for histhoughtfulness to visit the family, which he said emphasised the brotherliness that existed between him and the late former governor.
Mr. Dickson, who called on people of the Niger Delta to stop betraying their leaders, said both Messrs. Alamieyeseigha and Ibori were victims of the Niger Delta struggle, adding that their travails were as a result of their campaign for resource control and fiscal federalism.
“We have done enough when it comes to betraying, sabotaging and pulling down one another, especially our leaders. Nobody in this nation will build and sustain leaders for us, we have to build our leaders, support and encourage them. So, I think the time has come for us in the Niger Delta to turn a new leaf and learn from others”.