Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has revealed that the controversial decision to pardon the convicted former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, was made by his predecessor, the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Jonathan had been sworn in as Bayelsa governor in 2005 following Alamieyeseigha’s impeachment after being charged with money laundering. He was later convicted in 2007 after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Alamieyeseigha, now deceased, was pardoned in 2013 by Jonathan who had gone on to become vice president to Yar-Adua and then president after Yar’Adua’s death in 2010. The state pardon was widely-criticised for showing the president’s ‘clannishness’.


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Former president, Goodluck Jonathan (left) with former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (right) (The Trent)

 

However, in his new book, titled My Transition Hours, the former president said the decision to pardon his kinsman was not his decision in any way. He disclosed that Yar’Adua had struck the deal in a bid to appease Niger Delta militants but could not announce it before his death.

He said his government’s decision to annouce the pardon was merely to honour the late Yar’Adua’s agreement with the militants.

He said, “Let me say that after we came to office on May 29, 2007, two major issues that we had to grapple with were the peace process in the Niger Delta and growing menace of terrorism, driven largely by the radical Islamic terror group Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād popularly known as Boko Haram.

“First, our oil production figures were ebbing due to militant activities in the Niger Delta. The federation distributable accrual was dwindling drastically when we took over due to the crisis in the region and president Yar’Adua in seeking urgent solution to increase the revenues of the federation offered amnesty to the militant.

“One of their demands was that Alamieyeseigha be released from detention and pardoned by president Yar’Adua.

“He accepted their term mandated me to ensure that my former boss accepted a plea bargain and call the militant to order. President Yar’Adua promised to grant Alamieyeseigha state pardon if all parties were brought on board to the negotiation table to restore peace in the region.

“I immediately carried out his instruction. Unfortunately, he passed on before completely fulfilling his promise. When I became president, I granted late Alamieyeseigha a state pardon, in fulfilment of late President Yar’Adua’s earlier commitment.

“Unfortunately, this was frowned upon by some of my strongest critics and some went berserk and haul all manners of insults at me, including accusing me of being ‘clannish’ for granting state pardon to the former governor because he was from Bayelsa State.”

The former president lamented that his ‘goodwill gesture’ to pardon Alamieyeseigha was used as a tool by the opposition to unfairly hound his administration.

Jonathan launched the book in Abuja on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, an event that was attended by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo; former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; and former military Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Others include Senate President, Bukola Saraki; chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus; chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole; Senator Godswill Akpabio and many more.


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