FORMER governor of Akwa Ibom State and Sen­ate Minority Leader, God­swill Akpabio has described the death of the pioneer civilian governor of Bay­elsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha as “loss of a political colossus to, not only the people of Bayelsa, but the Niger Delta and Ni­geria.”

Akpabio said “ the sud­den death of DSP Alamieye­seigha, has robbed the Niger Delta region of a committed and dedicated indigene, who was always in the fore­front of the struggle for the emancipation and develop­ment of the Niger Delta.

“ I commiserate with the immediate family of the former governor, people and government of Bayelsa State, the Ijaw nation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and most impor­tantly, Nigeria for this great loss. I pray God to grant the family and the entire Niger Delta region the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”

In his own reaction, for­mer Delta State governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, said the news of Alamieye­siegha’s death hit him like a sledge hammer. In a state­ment signed by Tony Elue­munor, his media assistant, Ibori said though Alamieye­seigha had been “ailing for a long time, hounded here and there by forces motivat­ed by politics and personal vendetta, he had looked as if he would be able to rise above the persecution and allow peace to pervade his life.

“Alamieyesiegha was my friend, brother, and co-fighter on the Resource Control and Fiscal Federal­ism Front. We were not just colleagues in the Governors Forum from 1999, in the man I found a boundless and dependable warrior in the battle for the cause of the Niger Delta.

“He was fearless, forth­right, outspoken and dedi­cated his life to the causes he believed would benefit his people. In fact, he was consumed by the cause of the Ijaw people, the degra­dation of their environment and collective psyche. He was in a hurry to see that the injustice under, which they laboured be redressed; and he was ready to bear any pain, pay any price, to see that their day of liberation arrived fast.

“How many people would believe that Alamieyeseigha had only one house? And that is in his village, Amas­soma! One day, no matter how long the delay, Alami­eyeseigha’s real story would be told; the truth about him would be unearthed and the world would know the kind of virulent politics he was victim of.”

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Na­tion Congress (INC) has declared seven days of mourning in honour of Ala­mieyeseigha, starting from today. The resolution was contained in a statement is­sued yesterday by the Presi­dent of the INC World­wide, Boma Obuoforibo.

The group, which de­scribed the late former governor as a “great, vocal and irrepressible Pan Ijaw nationalist,” said during the seven days mourning, the Ijaw Nation’s flag would fly at half mast.

Obuoforibo added that the INC would liaise with the Alamieyeseigha family and the Bayelsa State Gov­ernment to plan a befitting burial for him.

“On behalf of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) Worldwide, we commis­erate with his wife, Mrs. Margaret Alamieyeseigha, the entire Alamieyeseigha family of Amassoma, the Ogboin Clan, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and the Government and people of Bayelsa State, on this trag­edy that has befallen the Ijaw nation,”the statement added.