Alamieyeseigha’s pardon is in order, Reuben Abati maintains

Reuben Abati

by Akan Ido

The Presidency is maintaining that it has no regret over the pardon given to former Bayelsa governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha saying the process leading to the pardon conformed with the provisions of the nation’s constitution.

This position was re-iterated by Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity who spoke on as Radio Nigeria interview programme, Business Hour, yesterday.

The Punch Newspapers reports it thus:

Abati restated the Presidency’s position that the gesture granted the former governor, who was convicted of corruption, was in order as the process leading to the pardon conformed with the provisions of the nation’s constitution.

He said, “The President does not regret what he has done because it is clearly within the powers of the President of Nigeria to grant pardon within the purview of Section 175 of the constitution.

“What has been done from the point of view of law is in order. But people say that they are not talking about the law, they are talking about morality.

“On that issue, I have said it before that pardon is given to persons who have been convicted. So when a man commits an offence, he goes through the legal process and he is convicted, then he is pardoned later.

“There is nowhere you grant pardon that it has not generated some level of controversy. The is always some kind of political drama around. So our own experience has not been exceptional.”

Abati also spoke about the appointment of disgraced former speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, on the governing board of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, saying the Goodluck Jonathan government does not see anything wrong in the action noting that he was fit for the job.

He explained further that Buhari, who was removed from office for forgery and perjury, had apologised to his colleagues and forgiven by the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

He said rather than for Nigerians to be criticising the President on the matter, Jonathan should be seen as “a good man” because he did not act arbitrarily.

He said, “The criticism about the appointment of governing boards for federal universities has centred on just one person, Buhari, out of about 251 people.

“People are saying that he was convicted for forgery and perjury under the Obasanjo’s administration. If you recall after that conviction, he not only apologised on the floor of the House, the administration at the time subsequently granted him pardon.

“Pardon means you can no longer be punished for whatever offence you have committed. It means that your rights have been restored and you can again legitimately act for the society. The pardon says you can’t be shut out of the society.

“If you have opportunity again to serve your country, of course, you can be asked to be part of the process.”

Abati however said as a listening government, the administration was ready to rescind its decision on any of the appointees if genuine protest was received from either the Academic Staff Union of Universities or from the concerned university.

The presidential spokesman also faulted claims that only members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party were appointed into the governing boards of the federal universities, citing the likes of Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (retd.), Prof. Rasheed Ojikutu,  Mr. Tony Onyema, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye and others who he said were not known to be PDP members.

On government’s position on the removal of fuel subsidy, Abati said Jonathan had never been specific on the time full deregulation would take place.

He said it was important for Nigerians to note that there is provision for subsidy in the 2013 budget.

One comment

  1. Psycophantic. For the love and protection of daily bread. Sorry Abati

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