Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has berated Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state for condemning the decision of the Federal government to grant state pardon to two convicted former governors, Jolly Nyame of Taraba state and Joshua Dariye of Plateau state who were both imprisoned for stealing N1.16bn and N1.6bn respectively.
The former Governors made the list of convicts (159 convicts) who were pardoned by President Muhammadu Buhari who presided over a Council of State on Thursday, April 14.
Reacting to this development, Governor Wike said the decision by the President was purely political as he wanted both former governors to help the APC canvass for votes in the 2023 elections. Wondering why such a pardon wasn’t granted to the ex-Delta state governor, James Ibori, Governor Wike said the granting of state pardon by the President for the governors was a disservice to the judiciary.
Wike, who stated this in Minna, on Saturday April 16, when he visited delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party ahead of the party’s presidential primaries, said the Buhari regime’s anti-corruption war was selective.
“I want to tell you that this government is very deceptive and they have deceived us enough. You have big big people, you jail them after all the court proceedings and waste of money, then you ridicule the judiciary by granting them pardon. How will the international community look at us with these type of things we do. Look at the amount spent in the prosecutions and you wake up one morning and messed it up all because of politics. He obviously wants them to help him during the elections, he wants Dariye to help with Plateau while Nyame will work for Taraba.
If it is not for election purpose, why did he not grant pardon to the likes of James Ibori and Atuche?”
In his reaction, Shehu said the governor had the opportunity to attend the Council of State meeting where he could have objected to the decision but he failed to. He said the Rivers state deputy governor who represented the governor at the meeting virtually, switched off her camera and made no contributions.
Read what he wrote below:
”I do not see the moral justification for Governor Wike’s criticism of the decision of the government to pardon Governors Dariye and Nyame at a meeting to which he was duly invited but did not attend.
The Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo who joined the Council of State meeting virtually switched off her camera so it was difficult to determine whether she sat behind the dark screen or just walked away after first joining.
If the Governor felt so strongly about the pardons, the right was for him or his representative to sit through the meeting and assert views. This did not do. A press release after the meeting is bolekaja politics.”