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ASO ROCK WATCH: Pardoning multi-billion Naira thieves. Two other talking points



The Presidency, last week, dished a detailed explanation on why President Muhammadu Buhari granted pardon to former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye and his Taraba State counterpart, Jolly Nyame, who were serving jail terms for stealing N1.116 billion and N1.6 billion respectively.

We tracked two other stories, from the Presidency, for your reading delight.

1. Buhari’s controversial pardons

The Presidency, on April 20, stated that the pardon granted to Dariye and Nyame was in accordance with constitutional standards, and cannot derail President Buhari’s anti-corruption war.

A statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, stated, among others: “President Buhari assures the nation that nothing done here was intended to achieve a political end or send a revisionist message on the relentless war against corruption which he has ably and evidently led by personal examples.”

Buhari’s pardon to both ex-governors has generated varied interpretations across the country, with most viewing it as an endorsement of corruption which the president has vigorously campaigned against it.

Many have even see the act as not only hypocritical but also a subtle strategy by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to have both ex-governors work for the victory of the party in 2023.

Yes, Buhari may have exercised his constitutional right to grant state pardons, the move has no, doubt, impacted the morale of anti-graft agencies, like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who now see their prosecutorial efforts as waste of time, energy and resources.

Most importantly, the administration would be deceiving itself into believing that its integrity has not taken a serious dent for seemingly throwing the 2018 judgment of Justice Adebukola Panjoko of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which sentenced Dariye and Nyame, under the bus.

Two other talking points

2. Traditional/religious leaders in the security mix

On April 21, President Buhari told traditional, and religious leaders that no responsive government can overlook the role of religious, and traditional rulers in tackling insecurity across the country.

“Our traditional and religious leaders have a key role to play in terms of improving intelligence gathering about the movement of and activities of criminals in their domain,” Buhari said while speaking to religious, and traditional leaders in Abuja.

Read also: ASO ROCK WATCH: Recurring calls for Buhari’s resignation. Two other talking points

Buhari is right. Only an irresponsible government would downplay the role of traditional and religious leaders, owing to the influence they have on the people, and how close they are to them.

However, a critical question yet to be addressed is the lack of political will to find a constitutional role for traditional rulers beyond intermittently holding them responsible for security gaps in their domains.

Sounding politically correct to impress the populace merely scratches the face, we dare say. Acting right is what is desired.

3. Osinbajo’s quest to succeed Buhari

On April 22, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expressed readiness to deploy the experience he had garnered under President Buhari in order to serve the country.

Speaking when he visited the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Olalekan Balogun, in Ibadan, to seek the monarch’s support for his 2023 presidential aspiration, Osinbajo said, “During these years, our President truly gave me every opportunity to know all that the government was doing, including very sensitive issues, and I felt it would be the right thing to do, to deploy all those experiences under me to the service of the country.”

Osinbajo, obviously, is holding tight on his 7-year-experience of being a Vice President to Buhari to pursue his presidential ambition. He had said, during his declaration speech, that he will build on what Buhari had done so far.

The Vice President reserves the right to explore and exploit any channel to market himself. In walking this path, he must not be blinded to the fact that the administration he is hanging on to has lost the grip of popularity among most concerned Nigerians.

It would be interesting to see how far the Buhari influence helps him on his journey of becoming the chief occupant of the Aso Rock Villa.

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