The Latest Movie in Pollywood: Political Pardon – Season 1 by Odusote Oluwakayode
Weep not for Nigeria and her romance with corruption. Our country is the typical example of the animal farm, so let us weep for ourselves for allowing emotional sentiment erode our sense of reason against choosing a quality leader. Therefore do not blame the president for questionable decisions; we are all guilty in the district of our national life called Pollywood with a cultural identity of corruption.
Pardon President Jonathan for the errors in writing the script granting questionable pardon to some convicted Nigerians. He had committed grave errors in the course of governance since his emergence as elected president. Nigeria’s Pollywood is the center of our national cinema.
The script that featured GEJ as a main character started when his erstwhile boss Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was detained in London on charges of money laundering in September 2005. He did not appear ambitious but later became governor of the state.
He featured later as vice president to late Umar Ya’adua. In that movie, he played as usual the silent non ambitious actor whose rights needs to be demanded by the public. Unfortunately, the spectators attached emotions to the agitations that demanded the restoration of his rights. We can’t forget in a hurry the spirited efforts of the Save Nigeria Group”. As at those periods, Nigerians were seen by the GEJ caucus as astute citizens.
Obviously and as we watched the series of his acts in the Pollywood, one could easily conclude that he wasn’t prepared for the leadership position we plunged him into. I think he had always been satisfied with second position, never prepared to lead except for situations of circumstance that seldom beckons, therefore, what do you expect from a zoologist turned politician? To him, we are all animals in the zoo that must abide by his decision.
The latest movie from the Pollywood was released on Tuesday, 12th March, 2013, the President, being the movie director, with the backing of the Council of State, granted pardon to Chief Dipreye Alamieyeisegha, the main character in the movie. The other cast included Gen. Oladipupo Diya, Mr. Shettima Bulama, Gen. Musa Yar’Adua (late), and Major-General Abdulkareem Adisa (late).
Whilst fellow observers would wonder the reasons for castigating the president on Dipreye Alamieyeisegha’s pardon while the others mentioned above are also involved, a vigilant mindwould wonder the reasons behind continuous presidential blunders. One wonders in order not to turn to a wanderer why the name of the pardoned should include late Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua who had once been pardoned by the Federal Military Government.In similar situation, clemency was granted to Gen. Oladipupo Diya, and Major-General Abdulkareem Adisa by the Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar military government. It could be argued that clemency does not mean pardon constitutionally, that aspect I’ll leave for legal minds to explain.
With the retinue of aides at his disposal, it is expected that the government must know whether it had granted pardon/clemency in the past to some of the pardoned. This of course is not the first error from the presidency. Don’t forget that the government forgot it had granted national honours to certain Nigerians, such that it granted lesser national honours to same persons on whom it had earlier conferred higher national honours.
When Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar came to power, he converted the death sentences imposed on Gen. Oladipo Diya and five others for plotting a coup to 25 years imprisonment; the long terms of imprisonment imposed on others were also slashed. Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua were also pardoned, therefore,it is illogical to re-pardon Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua that got same in 1998.
According to our constitution, the President has power to grant a pardon to anyone he deems worthy. In this case however, it could be easily deduced that the names as pronounced were calculated to appease ethnic sentiment and to cloud our judgments over the inclusion of Dipreye Alamieyeisegha.
From the duplication of pardon, it is easily deduced also that the idea to pardon the pardoned was based on a selfish motive and directed primarily at letting Alamieyeisegha off the hook of political disability.
It is known that a convicted person loses civil rights like the right to vote or be voted for and the right to hold public office amongst others. When the person therefore gets pardon, the rights are fully restored. The crime has been forgiven, and any of the penalties relating with the conviction are fully forgotten. As it stands, all those pardoned have a right to re -claim there confiscated properties from the government.
The cost of fighting corruption in itself has been defeated. Public funds were used to pursue the case of corruption against Diepreye before he pleaded guilty in 2007; those resources used then can of course be referred to as “waste of public funds”.
Pardons as provided for in the constitution are not sole entitlement of the elites, military or political figures in the country especially in the case of Diepreye whose gross misconduct, corrupt practices and theft left the oil rich Bayelsa state poor without development expected of a state with huge allocations from the federation account..
There are serious questions to the Moral corruption behind the pardon especially as granted Diepreye. Morality is the code of conduct which is held authoritatively in matters of right and wrong, guided by culture, society, philosophy and conscience.
There are clear perceptions of corruption in the decision and our country cannot progress with our glaring association with corruption. The president has not lived up to his claims of fighting against this killing system of corruption.
Corruption has damaging effects on democracy and economic progress. It has a damaging effect on our lives because it’s all around. The emphasis of making money is so great, the emphasis of getting rich no matter how, is so tremendous that it influences virtually every aspect of our society.
We do not need to inform the Jonathan administration that Corruption adds inefficiency into the system and increases the risk for investors. A glaring example is the news that America’s richest man, Bill Gates, has cancelled his scheduled March 27 official visit to Nigeria, in response to the controversial pardon granted by President Goodluck Jonathan to ex-convicts Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Shettima Bulama.
The effect of corruption on the socio-political system of our nation is the most damaging to our expected growth and development. It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and leadership. Frustration and general apathy among a disillusioned public result in a weak, angry and largely divided citizen.
As sad as we grapple with corruption, the president’s media chief, Dr. Reuben Abati again insulted Nigerians by saying “Nigerians reaction to Alamieyeseigha’s pardon is sophisticated ignorance”.
What kind of ignorance? The controversial Abati had forgotten that he was quoted to have said in the Guardian of November 25, 2005 that “Alamieyeseigh has shown himself to be a dishonorable fellow, unfit to rule, unfit to sit among men and women of honour and integrity, unfit to preach to the people that he leads about ideals and values”.
Comparing his assertion in 2005 to his recent comment in 2013, it will be right to ask Abati if he has (Alamieyeseigha) therefore changed and become an honourable man to merit a pardon? I hope one day Dr. Abati would give us details to prove how we are “ignorant”.
Why was pardon not granted to late Ken Saro-Wiwa going by his dedicated struggle to the course of the Ogoni people in particular and the Niger Delta in general? There are no political advantages derivable to the president’s political ambition I guess.
All hail the emperor in the Pollywood of Nigeria’s political life. Like the past leaders, President Jonathan should understand that his records of decisions and achievements will speak for him after leaving office. He’ll definitely leave and the regrets of bad decisions taken will forever hunt him.
I believe there are more breath taking movies to be released from Pollywood because this is just the beginning, watch out!
I am @Actionkay on twitter
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