✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Pardon: A shriek alarm on Alams

What am I trying to say by indirection, or pre-emptive digression? What is happening to democratic governance in our country today is assuming the dimension…

What am I trying to say by indirection, or pre-emptive digression? What is happening to democratic governance in our country today is assuming the dimension of a tragic humour—very serious but to be rendered in jokish terms. Writers who engage in satire—in light expressions of what serious subjects they treat– are either misunderstood by serious people or admitted by escapists as supporting their trivialization of serious business. Whichever rhetorical strategy you adopt, those who will want nothing said will have their way and those who would wish something said without being overtly serious will be short-changed or short-change their audience whom they both owe a social contract.
The political and economic terrain of our country lies in expressive conundrum and one will have to choose the best way to speak—in popular terms, that is a way that addresses the situation from the perspective of the ordinary citizenry, or those who would rather give expression in populist terms, that is playing to the gallery of what is usually referred to as fashionably acceptable for time-pleasing.
Finally, what am I trying to say?  There are serious problems in Nigeria today. Everybody knows it; everybody feels it; everybody lives it. Just pick any of our media today—conventional or social—print, electronic, or of the internet variety—facebook, twitter , Google, yahoo, LinkedIn, and s on. The general image is horrifying, the conventional metaphor is bizarre. Over sixty people dead in bomb attacks, in Sabon-gari, Kano, a village head and five others died in Ryom/ Barkin Ladi , Jos, in the vicinity of my current habitation. One expects that these tragic happenings would be the subject of our further search for the resolution of our nation’s troubling security dilemma—quagmire. What do you get from our government and our political class?
Our governing elite today—I mean, quite specifically, the Goodluck Jonathan specie of it– is carrying incredible capacity for mass provocation. How, for the deuces, can the  state wallow in the opulence of Presidential permissiveness and (in)discretion of smuggling in the name of someone he has unabashedly proclaimed, with unrepentant glorification, Dieprieye Alamieyeseigha, to the list of freshly State pardoned convicts? Painfully, some have, with opportunistic  legal, constitutional and political righteousness– announced the correctness of our President to offer these pardons, as if there was anybody in doubt as to the constitutional authority of the President to so act. A clear distinction fails, conveniently, to be made, between those who went through criminal reprisals like Alams and Shettima and those who suffered victimization of  political contrivance and palpably designed political punishment of phantom coups like the late Generals  Shehu Yar’ Adua, Oladipo Diya,  AbdulKareem Adisa, Olanrewaju, and so on; persons who committed no such offence but were since pardoned ( and on a list of pardon since 1999, which ought to have included general Olusegun Obasanjo, Colonels Fadile and Oloruntoba, Majors, Obalisa (late) and Kayode Olowomoran).
Now, to restate our easily comprehensible metaphor of the elephant and the ant—extending into the now seemingly incurable penchant of this government to provoke across-class outrage—people are screaming blue murder and war drums are reverberating, abuse of oath of office, insensitive absolution, foreign, especially US, discomfiture or disappointment or both, and so on. The tragic bomb-blasts in Kano claiming, by now, over sixty lives may appear side-lined instead of compelling national pro-activeness. What is the big deal at this point, for our President to place national premium on the necessity to pardon his former boss, even when he has authority to so do but when discretion should constrain him not to, or tarry? The elephantine nature of our national dystopia and anomy, manifest in the state of insecurity of our nation, defying easy resolution—and this is in spite, if not because of the failure of Mr. president’s visitation to the North-east and the unsavoury response strategy he adopted, coming after the quixotic gallantry of the nomenclature-troubled APC, to address the counter-insurgency expediencies of the terrorism in the north-east?
My position is quite simple on this matter—and I hope not simplistic. Mr. President has the power, constitutionally enabled, to grant his boss and benefactor, (to whom he was second in command, a position which, if he had not held as Deputy Governor, he would probably not be so contextually and temporally located to advance to the Governorship, Vice-Presidency, Acting Presidency and even Presidency of the biggest country in Africa under the gloating and bloated chimera of the largest party on the African continent) the pardon he gave Dieprieye Alamieyeseigha. Truly, who should he deploy his powers to benefit and privilege? His enemies, described in partisan political lexicon, as opponents? Whom should he favour? His rivals and unrepentant critics and detractors? Does one commit the suicidal act of enhancing the potentials of one’s oppositional forces to fight one when you can endow your friends and empower them to grant you greater support? That is the simplistic take of my position.
Luckily, Mr. President has, more than any Nigerian ruler that I know, demonstrated his ability to self-reverse, when public outcry so demand. The alarm shriek on Alams pardon is a clear case for such self-review.