I woke up in the morning of Saturday, October 10, 2015, opening my iPad to my primo Nigerian news portal to behold the news that the erstwhile and bubbly Governor of Bayelsa State, DSP Alamieyeseigha, had died. The last news about him was that he was still wanted in Britain where he had jumped bail in 2005.
No doubt, it must have dawned on him that the money laundering case was not going away despite what he thought was the exculpatory pardon by then President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013.
Prison, any prison, whether in Nigeria, UK, Europe or America is no salutary abode. In an undergraduate class of Clinical Psychiatry, we took a tour of Enugu Prisons. We were shown the room Awo was kept.
After that visit, each time I hear anyone facing possible jail time, my imagination goes to that room – rusty, putrid smell of urine, Dettol, etc.! Ewo-o, Jesu Olodumare (as my Iwo-born mother-in-law would exclaim)! Awo must be made of sterner stuff because for me, I would prefer death.
The British request to extradite Alams is no cheering news for anyone and particularly for someone like him who had tasted prison life.
Those Nigerian politicians who tasted prison never came out with their health and personality intact. Check Bisi Onabanjo, Akin Omoboriowo, Alex Mbakwe, Jim Nwobodo, Ebenezer Babatope, et al, and how they fared after imprisonment.
Alams certainly had heart disease because he was overweight. Then, the news from the British Embassy that he still has a case to answer hit him hard. He probably thought Jonathan’s pardon was reprievable and erased his money laundering case in Britain.
He must have reasoned, ludicrously and doltishly, like some Nigerians that after all, the money was ours and not Britain’s. He was wrong! Nigerian values are not the same as UK’s! Mba nu!
He possibly remembered the Enron CEO, Kenneth Lay, who vowed never to go to prison for fraud. By happenstance, he was found dead at age 64, possibly Alams’ real, not official age! Autopsy revealed Lay had apparent heart attack.
However, we know there are medications one can take to induce heart attack. Remember Alhaji Moshood Abiola in the hands of the security agents!
My take: Alams died of heart attack occasioned by his compromised heart. He had a heart condition exacerbated by the prospects of imprisonment in the UK. Whether he took medications to induce it or not, only he can tell! I doubt any autopsy would reveal if he ingested any such medication. Why? Because it is not traceable in any autopsy.
Postscript: For over 8 years while Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke held sway in Nigeria’s Ministry of Mines and Steel, Transportation and later Petroleum Resources and was buffeted by the now rested media powerhouse, 234 NEXT, and in the blogosphere, her husband, Mr. Allison Madueke, never uttered a word publicly in her defense. Her cancer was diagnosed while she was a public servant.
But it was hidden from the public as she busied herself funneling dollars to family, relations, proxies and cronies.
Then, Mr. Madueke, in turn, was engaged in making his multi-million dollar company, Interconnect Clearing House Nigeria Limited, as much profitable as the favorable climate engendered by her official position warranted.
Now, as Diezani is faced with possible imprisonment in her alleged bribery and corruption saga with the British NCA, Mr. Madueke has unwittingly opened up, seeking empathy by publicly acknowledging that she has cancer.
He has sought that we pray for her. His resort to whipping up public sympathy is indirectly pleading for soft-landing for her by the British and FGN authorities. Prison, no man’s land, indeed!
By Okwuchukwu Ezeanyika