The death of one-time governor of Nigeria’s Bayelsa State, Governor Diepereye Alamisiegha, popularly referred to as Alams, has been announced.
Governor Alamiesiegha changed Nigeria’s history dramatically when he lost his position as governor of oil-rich but poverty-stricken Bayelsa State, and his deputy, Dr. E. G. Jonathan became the governor. Jonathan would later be hand-picked by Retired General Obasanjo, then President of Nigeria to run as the Vice Presidential candidate to late Alhaji Yar Adua whose death in office catapulted the never-tested Jonathan to Nigeria’s presidency.
It will be recalled that Governor Alamisiegha cross-dressed to flee the UK in his effort to flee from justice on charges of money-laundering. Photograph of him dressed as a woman was widely circulated in Nigerian newspapers.
In spite of his sordid alleged massive looting of Bayelsa State treasury and despite the criminal charges against him from which he fled the UK, former President Jonathan and the top political hierarchy of then ruling PDP in his home state lionised him on his return. Worse, he would be given state pardon by Jonathan, a move that was widely criticised.
There have been reports that the British – perhaps sensing the present administration’s zero tolerance for corruption and corrupt people – are trying to have him extradited back to the UK to face money laundering charges which are still pending.
There are definitely going to be speculations on what led to his going into coma in Nigeria but that would not change what is now a fact: a sad ending to the life of a man who, despite his crime being overlooked where it mattered most, an ending that perhaps would finally guarantee him a peace he never could have experienced in the life of being lionised and worshipped by a president who seemed unfeeling in such a weighty issue as the deprivation of his people through looting. That life of no peace started for the former governor once he wore a woman’s dress to flee from the law.
Former Governor Alamisiegha was 63 years old. May he find peace with his Maker.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2015. 7:30 p.m. [ GMT]