Open Letter to President on State Pardon Granted to Ex-corrupt Convicts

President Muhammadu Buhari

– By Abba Dukawa

The purpose of government is to enable the people of a Nation to live safely and happiness, government exist for the interest of the governed and not for the governors” (Thomas Jefferson 1743 – 1826).

Dear Mr. President with utmost respect to you and your office, hope you are well in spite of recent backlash against your administration wrong decisions. I am sure you never forget those that died while trying to catch a glimpse of you in those years; old men and women who call you Baba, and who despite their old age and weak bodies spend hours under the hot sun to see their votes goes to you; and we (Youths) optimistic for spending the night celebrating your victory in the cause some loss their lives. As both old and youths believe their future and that of their children is secured under you.

It is disheartening to let you know that, we had a great opportunity for the country to regain its lost glory when we had a change of government in 2015 with unwavering hope that the administration will set an agenda for national rebirth and put the economy on reset. But in the past seven years, the administration has failed to create basis for improved economic prosperity.

In 2015 the administration came to power through its change mantra with promised to fight corruption, improve economy, security, education, and health. 7 years down the line it has underperformed in this critical areas.

With my clear convictions before, the administration would right the wrongs committed by the predecessors’ administrations but to utmost surprised to Nigerians the country is better under the predecessors leadership. Nigerians never expected that you would be relentless in your fight against the nation’s treasury parasites – no matter how placed and connected they might be. The fight against all forms of corruption – grand, political, and administrative – in all sectors must be won, against all odds, for the survival of the country.

When the news broken to the nation that National Council of State presided over by Baba Buhari has endorsed the pardon of Dariye, Nyame and 157 other convicts. The decision of National Council of State came at wrong timing and it seem the council not consider corruption in the country has retarded the growth of Nigeria today.

It seems that PMB’s Government have not weighed the implications of the state pardon before the pronouncement as such extra-legal interferences, only encourage political thieves and other opportune public servants to embezzle public treasury and go unpunished.

In any ideal society and a country at large the essence of punishing people for committing crimes is to serve the criminal just desert, make restitution to the victims and deter other people from engaging in criminal activities, amongst others. Nigerians are wondered why the President, granted such pardon, though he always said corruption is affecting Nigeria’s growth.

Corruption in Nigeria has become so cancerous which made the electorates believes the current administration would fight and eradicate it. Unfortunately, the administration’s anti-corruption campaign has not fared any better than its predecessors because of lack of political will to march the fighting with actions.

Certainly, President Buhari decision has violated his oaths of office and allegiance to defend the Constitution. In my humble view, the pardon will nurture and elevate corruption to a fundamental objective and directive principle of State policy. It is so sad and counterproductive in addition to the Moral implications of granting pardon to ex-convicts and serving prisoners

Granting such pardon has really tarnished his credibility and his stand on corruption is under the court of public view because crimes are vices that should not be tolerated by any government and it shows that the administration is sabotaging its anti-corruption fight with state pardoned granted to convicted ex governors and others. Whatever reason for this misdemeanor decision, history will not be kind to the administration and its leader for condoning corruption in spite of the fact of his hard earning reputations of being incorruptible and honest personality. He had been shattered and became a subject of scrutiny in the court of public opinion.

It is still fresh in the mind of Nigerians when Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed while dismissed, Transparency International which rated Nigeria very low in its corruption rating by ranking out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index dropped to 149 in the 2020 index as Nigeria has dropped five places in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), with its current position of 154. Lai had said President Muhammadu Buhari administration will not take the rating seriously.

Really the administration proof itself right for not being serious in fighting this cancer by pardoning the ex-convicts, though courts with competent jurisdiction convicted them for the crime beyond of any reasonable doubt but pardoning them through back door. The recent development had sparked outrage, against the administration with human rights lawyer, Femi Falana and other concerns Nigerians asking Buhari to pardon all thieves in prison.

Let Mr. President recalls, nine years ago, ex-President Jonathan, was under same hammer over a similar pardon granted to Diepriye Alamieyeseigha, back then, El-Rufai had said it typified the height of insensitivity of Jonathan’s government to the feelings of Nigerians about the war against corruption. Nigerians then accused Jonathan of damaging Nigeria’s image over pardon.

“Nobody said you should eradicate corruption, but don’t go around pardoning convicted people that have been convicted by regular courts for corruption and then you say you are fighting corruption. You are sending the wrong signal not only to those engaging in corruption but to young people who see that there is reward in being corrupt. That is what Jonathan is doing. El-Rufai had said.

In my view GEJ re-integrated a person who has finished his jail term back to the society while Baba Buhari administration pardoned peoples who are still serving jail terms despite the apex court in the country in 2021 dismissed the appeal of one of the pardoned personality.

Almighty God knows I am part and parcel of those who voted Baba Buhari for 5 times, three times as presidential candidate loser and two times as winner. I am unapologetic ExBuharists. Let the image makers of the administration to hear this Hausa, saying that: DUK WANDA YA SO KA DA SAFE, AMMA DA RANA YA KI KA TO HAKIKA LAIFIN DAGA GUN KA NE (whosoever likes you in the morning but dislikes you in the afternoon, then definitely the fault is from you).

Don’t know if president and those who cares for him and Nigerians at large knows this is not best of times in the country’s history, don’t know if cares how history will judge Baba Buhari when he vacate office next year. It seems he shouldn’t care about it and those around him are in same boat.

Mr. President, you will be ready to bear all kind of insults from administration image makers. It became a normal practice for them to disparaging and impugning anybody in defence of their principal. They must be guided by high-level moral values and ethics. Yes, they needs to defend their principal, but they should do so only on the bases of truth and honesty, and employing circumspection and empathy.

We are with Him and wishes the administration to succeed even before opportunity made them what they are today. Especially Buharists, Ex Buharists and goodwill Nigerians are worry about what will portray the administration for doing either similar or worst than what GMB accused predecessors administrations in the country for condoning corruption formulations, anti-masses policies. Ours is to tell the true to the power as Nigeria is greater than any government in power Nigeria must never remain a limping giant.

Dukawa wrote in from Kano


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