Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff was born on Friday, July 30, 1942 in Nembe, Bayelsa State. His father was a postmaster and his mother a teacher before being employed as civil servants.
Due to the transfer of his father as postmaster to several parts of the then Eastern Nigeria and the Cameroons, he started his primary school education in 1947 at Government School, Buea in Cameroun, and later joined St. Joseph Secondary School, Sasse, also in Cameroun for his secondary education.
After completing his education in Cameroon, he took a job with the Meteorological Department of the then Ministry of Transport, Lagos but later changed to the Nigerian Navy in 1961.
He proceeded to Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, England for training and upon his return, he was given command of his first ship in 1965.
As a result of the political conflicts that rocked the nation birthed by the 1966 coup and counter coups, Gen. Yakubu Gowon came into power and appointed the 24-year-old Alfred Diete-Spiff as the first Military Governor of Rivers State on May 27, 1967.
When appointed Military Governor, he was a Naval Lieutenant Commander and held office from May 1967 until July 1975. He was also a member of the Supreme Military Council.
He was unmarried at the time he was appointed governor but got married to his three wives, Ethel, Victoria and Josephine at different times.
A major controversy surrounding his time as Military Governor was an incident which occured In 1973, where a reporter, Minere Amakiri was beaten and had his head shaved as he was accused of ridiculing the serving governor.
The journalist, who was a correspondent for the Nigerian Observer wrote an article about an impending teacher’s strike, which was published on Diete-Spiff’s birthday.
Taking this as an insult, Diete-Spiff’s aide Ralph Iwowari had the reporter’s head publicly shaved and was given 24 strokes of the cane.
Commenting on the incident several years later, Diete-Spiff said the reporter was his in-law who was aggrieved that he (Diete-Spiff) did not attend his wedding, therefore he was always at variance and sought ways to ridicule his government.
He said his ADC and aides were annoyed at the reporter’s actions, picked him and put him in the guard room, saying the first law in a guard room is to give a haircut to whoever was brought in.
He said the man’s head was not shaved, he was only given a haircut. As a result, his ADC was fined by a court over the action and compensation was paid to Amakiri, the journalist.
In December 2009, Diete-Spiff was National Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Auctioneers.
In the book, The Twelve-Day Revolution which essentially lionized the drive of Isaac Adaka Boro, author Tony Tebekaemi describes Diete-Spiff as “a man with a lion heart.”
In the book, “Alfred Diete-Spiff: The Vision and Realism of a Statesman”, which is the authorized biography of Diete-Spiff, it was written that he “planned and executed many development programmes and projects in the old Rivers State that no other Government after 33 years has been able to match or surpass.”
He reigns today as His majesty, Alfred Diete-Spiff, Amanyanabo of Twon Brass in Bayeslsa State, a throne he ascended in 1996.
He also serves as the Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council in Bayelsa State and has been instrumental to the success of policies and programmes of the Bayelsa State Government.
He is proficient in sports as a fencer, swimmer, a boxer and a first class golfer. He is also a diver, marksman and a pilot. He has also been vocal in the fight for fairness and equity in the distribution of the Niger Delta’s resources, with the hope of creating a better livelihood for the people.