Opinion: Help! Our President Has Run Mad Again by Babalola Yusuf Abiola
It all started like a rumour on the social media that President Goodluck Jonathan through the council of state which was purely an advisory body to the president has approved presidential pardon to some convicted Very Important Person (VIP) in the country.
The VIP convicts were former Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lt. Gen, Oladipo Diya, the late Major-Gen Abdulkareem Adisa, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lina Bin, Major Segun Fadile and former Managing Director, Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.
Immediately, the rumour spread like wild fire in the season of harmattan around the country especially on the social media that people started thinking about what could have pushed the president to have listened to the advice that will furthermore make him lose popularity among his people.
While some think it was a decision that was within the power confined on the president by section 175 of the 1999 Constitution, where it is also stated that the president will seek the advice of the National Council of States, the outcome of which is not binding, others think that the president even without the advice of the council could have exercised that power as he wish, but were concerned about the morality of the decision he took. What that seem to tell us is that, a government that has promised to fight corruption is now the same government romancing and cuddling corruption at the highest order or what else should we call this decision of his? Before we probe further what exactly is state pardon?
According to Wikipedia, State pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the cancellation of the relevant penalty; it is usually granted by a head of state (such as a monarch or president) or by acts of a parliament or a religious authority.
It explains further, today, pardons are granted in many countries when individuals have demonstrated that they have fulfilled their debt to society, or are otherwise considered to be deserving of a pardon. Pardons are sometimes offered to persons who are wrongfully convicted or claim they have been wrongfully convicted.
But, Some believe accepting such a pardon implicitly constitutes an admission of guilt as a pardon does not set aside the conviction, so in some cases the offer is refused. However, a pardon is sometimes offered when innocence is undisputed to avoid the costs of a retrial.
Now that it has been explained that a pardon is given when the person to be pardoned has accepted that he or she really committed the offence he was convicted for and has shown remorse for what he has done, then the question is has former governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha showed remorse to the people of Nigeria or to the good people of Bayelsa who voted him in as Governor of the state and what would he do to repay the faith of the people he raped economically? What about the former Managing Director of the Bank of the North Nig Plc, Alhaji Shettima Mohammed Bulama who was also pardoned after being convicted of fraud?
Should we then say impunity and corrupt practices rather than hard work pays in Nigeria? What message is the president supposedly sending to the youth? That you can steal the country blind and get celebrated by the federal government?
Yea! It was in this country that chief Olabode George of the PDP was celebrated on the day he was released from prison for embezzling several billions of naira belonging to Nigerians and following which he joined the president’s kitchen cabinet that are strategising for him on how to win the next election in 2015.
Although, the pardon did not come as a surprise to many since the president has once called the convicted former governor his political benefactor and considering also that he surrounded himself with ex-convicts.
Consequently upon the pardon by President Jonathan, a foremost Nigerian lawyer Chief Femi Falana, argued that Gen. Diya and others implicated in the 1995 coup against the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, were pardoned by his successor, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar in 1999 and the pardon was well gazette, so making the president pardon an aberration.
Also, why the rush to pardon Alamieyeseigha when it is crystal clear that ten years after a convict has served his or her jail term, he or she can launch a come back to the political arena to contest election but left for the people to decide the persons’ faith.
So, since the president of the giant of Africa has decided to surround himself with conmen who have lost touch with the people, the sort of policies we are to expect from him are bankrupt policies that have no benefit to the people.
Henceforth, service to humanity has been defeated as service for one pocket and will be the benchmark of any appointment taken by anyone in the country because patriotism has been relegated to the backdoor and impunity has been embraced and seen as a way of life by our leaders.
Patriotic Nigerians who decides to serve their father land with love strength and faith are either in their early grave or dying every day because their pension and gratuity allowance are being stolen everyday by government officials and those who are culpable are being given slap in the wrist punishment as the one that was given a deputy director in the federal pension office, John Yusuf by justice Talba of the federal high court in Abuja.
While, Yusuf was unlucky to be tried because he never belong to the untouchable group like Abdulrasheed Maina the chairman of the disbanded police pension fund was able to abscond from the country through the help of the powers that be in the country. How he was able to escape is a discussion for another day.
From today, people should not be mad at policemen who stand in the middle of the road to ask for bribe or employers who ask for kickback because the president with his recent decision has demonstrated that hard work never pays rather amassing wealth through the back door is the way of life in the country.
A Journalist with Success Digest Newspaper Lagos
Follow me on twitter @babsyusufabiola
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