Why Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential pardons are a bad idea

Last Tuesday, President Jonathan pardoned 7 Nigerians. While four of those pardons, Diya, Yar’Adua, Adisa and Fadipe have raised semantic issues as they had been granted ‘clemency’ under the regime of General Abdusalam Abubakar in 1999, the remaining three–former Bayelsa governor, Diepriye Alameisiyagha (among others, he dressed up as a woman and skipped bail in Britain on charges of laundering £1.8m.), former Bank of the North Managing Director, Bello Magaji, and ex-Major Bello Magaji–have been controversial.

Of course, most commentators, domestic and foreign, have spent a lot of time talking about the Alameisiyagha pardon, with all sorts of threats made, and calls for the President to withdraw the pardon. But something must be brought to the fore here: we all have friends, and to be honest, if I became President tomorrow and one of my really close friends did something silly, I would most likely chose to abuse my Presidential powers to grant them pardons.

However, I would chose my timing better. Such an abuse of power, is usually the prerogative of a lame duck President just before he leaves office. A final double middle-finger to a once loving electorate. Let’s make no mistakes, each and every one of you reading this would more than likely do the same, so let’s cut the man some slack.

More importantly to me, is the fact that all the noise makers now, did not do much to prevent the deed from being done, and that is the crux of the matter. The agenda for the National Council of State was public knowledge before the meeting, and I personally called not a few people to help make calls and work their networks so the travesty would be averted. Not much was done. Now we are making a whole lot of noise like it would get the man to change his mind? I don’t think so.

Truth be told, the President’s spokesmen have consistently quoted the Constitution and emphasized that his actions were legal. Which is an irony considering that the same Constitution also requires elected officials to declare their assets before assumption of office. Something the President said on national TV last year that he “doesn’t give a damn” about. In essence, the pardons display the selective compliance with the law by the holder of the highest office in the land and sets a very bad example. But like I said earlier, I’m not really bothered about Alameisiyagha and Bulama, for the simple reason that deep down, I know that a few weeks down the line, something else will come up, and we will all forget about Alameisiyagha. Sorry, I lie. Yesterday, the President told us that he will soon increase petrol prices again, so something has come up, and Alameisiyagha will soon be taking a back seat.

However, regarding ex-Major Magaji, ALL OF YOU READING THIS, would be as guilty as the President in this scandal if you let it die. Forgive my rather poor research skills, but I need to ask a question: In what country, ever, has a pedophile rapist been granted a state pardon? The details of ex-Major Magaji’s conviction make for gory reading–and rather than getting him on a sex offenders’ register as is done in every civilized environment, we are letting him loose again on our children. This particular pardon is in many ways, far more reprehensible, even than those granted to Bulama and Alameisiyagha. No sane parent could countenance a pardon for a man who lured unsuspecting children to his home, plied them with alcohol, and then sodomized them in a brutal destruction of their innocence. I wonder if the President were the parent of any of ex-Major Magaji’s victims, whether he would applaud this pardon. Our children are our future, and it is our duty to make it known without equivocation that they are our most precious possessions and anyone who dares to trample on them, must/should be dealt with to the fullest possible extent of the law.

By pardoning Ex-Major Magaji, what message is our President sending to our children now and in the future? That we don’t give a damn?

5 thoughts on “Why Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential pardons are a bad idea

  1. This is the height of the abuse of power! I still cannot believe that a President of a Country granted Presidential pardon to someone to jumped bail, someone who looted the public treasury. Quite shocking actually

  2. Welcome to Africa! I pardon so that I may be pardoned, what a joke. It’s the same reason that Mugabe and his Generals cannot afford to lose power, too much dirty laundry! I have to disagree with CHXTA though, I would not pardon my friends as I don’t believe that laudering that amount of money is silly and the laundering of money leaves too many unanswered questions. CHXTA’s kind of attitude is the kind of attitude that only makes corruption and the lack of rule of law matters worse.It starts with 5c and ends up with 1.8 million.

  3. The appetite for power, even for universal power, is only insane when there is no possibility of indulging it; a man who sees the possibility opening before him and does not try to grasp it, even at the risk of destroying himself and his country, is either

  4. “Forgive my rather poor research skills, but I need to ask a question: In what country, ever, has a pedophile rapist been granted a state pardon?”

    I don’t know if that’s literally happened, but you could argue that the Vatican’s reaction to some pedophiles in the church embodies the basic phenomena you’re describing.

  5. Here we go again.Nigeria at the cross road.Well! Well! What a shame on our President .I hope he has good luck as his name suggest.Honestly,I have to agree with you that no Nigerian should let this monster Magaji out to pray on young Nigerians.
    He should have been sentenced to death according to Islamic Laws and that would have been the end of the story. You see,Christians are always willing to pardon sinners and this is why we have the emergence of a strong gay community in Africa and among Africans, the world over.
    The brutal assaults carried out by the white man on many of our forefathers and mothers runs deep.This is the legacy of white evils visited upon the Motherland of Africa.The best advise I can give is for Nigerians to organize a mass protest against this pardon so as to force the president to withdraw the pardon. Magaji! If he is out on the streets would be put back behind bars where a monster belongs.If he skips Nigeria,he must be hunted down and taken back to Nigeria,thrown into the cell and let the keys disappear after all he is a monster and the President,a good christian.

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