If the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has its way, the National Assembly will begin impeachment proceedings against President Goodluck Jonathan over the unconditional pardon he granted former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Mr. Shettima Bulama.
The party said the lawmakers should take the step if the President failed to withdraw the pardon, which has generated debate. According to the CPC, the President’s decision was an embarrassment to the country, adding that the impeachment process should be based on gross abuse of executive authority and total disregard for the feelings of Nigerians.
On March 9, the National Council of States in its capacity as an advisory body to the President assented to a presidential pardon for Chief Alamieyeseigha, Bulama (former head, Bank of the North), Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya (former Chief of General Staff), Maj.-Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju, Maj.-Gen. AbdulKareem Adisa, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu and Major Seun Fadipe.
The decision was hinged on the Provisions of Section 175 (1-3) of the Constitution.
Subsection 3 expressly states that: the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State, may exercise his powers under Subsection (1) of this section in relation to persons concerned with offences against the Army, Navy or Air Force law or convicted or sentenced by a court-martial. CPC alleged that Jonathan pardoned Alamieyeseigha because of the 2015 election.
According to a statement issued by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, CPC said: “Though the ostensible and much-trumpeted reason is for national cohesion, we have it on good authority that the main reason is a self-serving agenda by the Jonathan administration ahead of the 2015 election. “Under the Nigerian extant law- which prescribes a 10-year disqualification for any ex-convict- Chief Alamieyeseigha is ineligible for any electoral contest in 2015 since his conviction was done in 2006.
“As a party, we are aware of the burden of responsibility on us to lend our voice to the vociferous condemnation of this ‘pardon for brazen criminality’ by the Jonathan administration. The wider implications of the infra-dig by this regime concerning the issue are very worrisome. “Section 175 (1d) of the Nigerian Constitution, which deals with amnesty, states: ‘Remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the state on account of such an offence’.
“Does this imply that by this amnesty, the assets unjustly accumulated by Chief Alamieyeseigha and forfeited to Nigeria shall be returned to him in part or whole?
“Would this not send wrong signals to the international community that Nigeria is a big enclave of institutionalised corruption?
“Would this not discourage potential investors and extirpate the implementation of the much-touted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)?;
“By this action, is the Jonathan government not festering the cankerworm of corruption and implicitly encouraging the succeeding generation on imbibing that culture? “Would this action not be anti-thetical to the spirit and letter of the United Nations (UN) charter against corruption to which Nigeria is a signatory?
“Without any scintilla of doubt, Dr. Jonathan, as President, has ceased from serving the collective interest of the people “He seems more pre-occupied with political manoeuvres- that are deleterious to the corporate existence of the country than ensuring good governance through enunciation of policies that do not offend the ethno-religious balance of the polity.”