Facts have emerged on Wednesday that the granting of presidential pardons to Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha and four others are based on political calculations ahead of the 2015 elections.
Investigations showed that ex-militants have been exerting undue pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan due to their dissatisfaction with his leadership style.
Thus, he became concerned that the restiveness in the Niger-Delta would rob him of much-needed home support ahead of the 2015 polls.
An authoritative source within the Presidency said that Jonathan was counting on Alamieyeseigha on reaching out to the ex-militants disenchanted with the President’s manner of addressing the problems in the region.
The source added that Jonathan was equally aware of Alamieyeseigha’s plan to run for the Senate in 2015.
Close associates of the President were said to have drawn his attention to the fact that he could use his presidential powers to pardon the ex-governor, thus solving two problems – his 2015 issue and political debts he owed his former boss.
He was also told that this would not be the first time that such powers were used to solve difficult situations.
Examples were given of the administration of Gen. Yakubu Gowon who pardoned Chief Obafemi Awolowo and that of former President Shehu Shagari, who pardoned Gowon and the Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, who went into politics immediately.
As recent as 1999, the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar regime pardoned Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was convicted and given a long sentence by the regime of the military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha for treason. This was what paved the way for Obasanjo to run in the 1999 presidential elections, which he won.
The source said,” Everything is political. Alamieyeseigha has a political ambition, the ex-militants are angry with the President. The President wants the man to intervene and speak with the ex-militants as 2015 approaches.”
Defending the President, the Special Assistant (Media) to the President, Mr Bolaji Adebiyi, told this correspondent: “The idea of presidential pardons is not new. It is not happening for the first time; it is not peculiar to Nigeria and there is a process for it.
“People apply to the President, who considers it and takes it to the National Council of State, which in this case has given its advice and it is gazetted.
“Opposition parties should not seek to politicize the normal process of government.
“If the opposition politicians are in doubt, they should know for a fact that Gowon, who sits on the Council was pardoned by Shagari. Obasanjo had to be pardoned before he could run in 1999, and he himself pardoned former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Salisu Buhari of forgery.”