Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has declared that if not for the support he enjoyed from the first civilian governor of Bayelsa State and acclaimed Governor-General of the Ijaw nation, Chief Diepriye Alamieyeseigha, he would not have become the nation’s President.
The immediate past President made this assertion yesterday when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the late politician at Opolo, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Assuring the Alamieyeseighas, particularly the widow and children, of his continued support, Jonathan stated that without the role the late Ijaw leader played in his life, he would not have risen to become the President of Nigeria.
Recounting how he got to know the late politician and how their relationship grew afterwards, he said, “I knew Alamieyeseigha during the UNCP days, when we were working for him. I never knew I was going to be his deputy governor because that was not my interest then.
“From that time, the political evolution in the country and the state brought me to run with him. From 1999, we had been together. He always took me as his younger brother.
“Our relationship was not that of a governor and his deputy but that of an elder and a younger brother.
“Alamieyeseigha meant well for Bayelsans; stood very firmly for the Ijaw people and wanted to advance the South-South. He’s somebody we’ve collectively missed.”
The former President assured the Bayelsa State Government and members of the family of the late Alamieyeseigha of his commitment to the efforts geared towards giving the departed Ijaw leader a befitting state burial.
He promised to be fully involved in the burial arrangements, as soon as he returns to the country after he must have spent about 12 days as leader of the Commonwealth 33-nation election observer mission in Tanzania.
While noting that the news of Alamieyeseigha’s death came to him as a rude shock, he maintained that the deceased leader stood firmly for Bayelsa, the Ijaw people and the South-South geo-political zone.
He was accompanied on the visit by Governor Seriake Dickson, his deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd) and other dignitaries.