While the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has come under a lot of criticism over the pardon granted by the Council of State on Tuesday to former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief DSP Almieyesegha and 7 others, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe has risen in defence of the President.
Speaking on a TV programme, “Sunrise Daily” on Wednesday, Okupe stated that the outcry being generated by the pardon was unnecessary. Okupe said Alamieyesegha was pardoned after serving out his prison term and becoming remorseful. He said singling out the case of Alamieyesegha out of the eight people pardoned because he hails from Bayelsa like the President amounts to witch hunting. “What is wrong with giving pardon to a remorseful sinner? How come granting pardon to him has become an aberration? Is it because he is from Bayelsa? Is it because he is from the South South? Is it because he is connected to Mr President,” Okupe asked on the live programme. Okupe also made it clear that Alamieyesegha was not pardoned by President Goodluck Jonathan but by the Council of State.
Alamieyesegha who is fondly referred to as the “Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation” was convicted and jailed for looting funds belonging to Bayelsa State when he was Governor. After his impeachment, his Deputy, Dr Goodluck Jonathan took over as the Governor.
Seven others were pardoned alongside the former Bayelsa Governor, they are former Chief of General Staff, retired General Oladipo Diya; a former Chief of Staff Supreme Military Council, late Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua; Major Bello Magaji; Mohammed Lima Biu; Shettima Bulama; late Major General Abdulkareem Adisa; and Major Seun Fadipe, Diya’s Chief Security officer. Of the lot, Alamieyesegha stands out as the only one convicted for fraud.