Barring any last minute change in plans, President Goodluck Jonathan will today request the National Council of State to ratify a presidential pardon for the disgraced former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. Mr. Jonathan will bring a memo to the meeting requesting pardon for Mr. Alamieyeseigha, and some “nondescript northerners”.
Presidential spokespersons, Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe, did not answer or return calls seeking comments. Our source said a former Chief of General Staff, Oladipupo Diya, was initially on the list but that the list has now been changed. It is not clear whether Mr. Diya’s name will return before the meeting begins.
“These other names were merely added to balance out,” our source said. “The main target is Alamieyeseigha.” On Mr. Alamieyeseigha, Mr. Jonathan will tell council members that the former governor requested a presidential pardon long ago but that he was reluctant to bring it before members because he wanted to be sure that the former governor was now contrite. The president, our source said, would stress how important Mr. Alamieyeseigha is to the Ijaw nation and the great role he could play in maintaining peace and security in the Niger Delta region.
Mr. Jonathan will further argue that his former boss had shown remorse and that he should be given opportunity to contribute his quota to the process of nation building. Mr. Alamieyeseigha, who Mr. Jonathan recently described as his political mentor, was impeached by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly in December 2005, following his arrest by the London Metropolitan Police over allegations of corruption and money laundering.
Afterwards, he was arrested and prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on money laundering and corruption offences. On July 30, 2007, M.L. Shuaibu, a judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, sentenced him to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the charges.
After the former governor was impeached, prosecuted and jailed in Nigeria for corruption and his assets, valued at about £17.7 million confiscated, the Federal Government went ahead to institute proceedings against him, his wife, Margaret, and two of his companies in a bid to seize his assets in the United Kingdom.
The National Council of State comprise the president, all former heads of the government of the Federation, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, all the governors of the Federation and the attorney general of the federation.
The body advises the president on prerogative of mercy, awards of national honours, appointment of members of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the National Judicial Council and the National Population Commission and national population census issues.