James Onanefe Ibori, former governor of Delta state, says Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, ex-governor of Bayelsa state, who died on Saturday, built just one house and was never corrupt.
Many allegations of corruption were levelled against the deceased.
In September 2005, the UK’s metropolitan police detained Alamieyeseigha after finding about £1 million cash on him, and another £1.8 million in cash and accounts.
He was subsequently charged with money laundering but he jumped bail and returned to the country.
However Ibori, who is serving jail sentence in the United Kingdom, after being convicted for corruption and money laundering, said his former colleague was a “victim of virulent politics”.
“Alamieyeseigha became the victim of great hypocrisy masquerading as nationalism and anti-corruption fight,” Ibori said in a statement signed on his behalf by Tony Eluemunor, his spokesman.
“Alamieyeseigha was lied against, as heaps upon heaps of untruths were piled on him, and national hysteria replaced public discourse whenever the subject was Alamieyeseigha.
“He was plotted against by those who swore they were fighting on the side of good even though they had taken high seats in the devil’s court.
“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.”
Ibori showered encomiums on Alamieyeseigha, recalling his agitation for resource control and fiscal federalism.
“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,” Ibori said.
“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.”
“Rest in peace great Ijaw leader. Rest in peace, the Governor General of the Ijaw nation. May God grant your family and the Ijaw people the grace to bear this monumental loss.”
Alamieyesiegha died from cardiac arrest induced by high blood pressure and diabetes on Saturday after falling into a coma and was rushed to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, where he was reportedly placed on a life support machine.