Presdent Goodluck Jonathan Sunday put to rest the controversy between the federal and state governments over the granting of clemency to offenders when he said governors should not withhold assent to the freedom of any offender, whose case comes to their attention under the constitutional provision of the prerogative of mercy.
Jonathan gave the charge at a church service held at the Aso Villa chapel to celebrate Fathers’ Day.He said although some governors tarry in the exercise of this responsibility, they were, however, duty bound by constitutional stipulation to do it as it was part of their schedules as chief executives of their states.
He explained that although the execution of the duties of an executive are often a mixture of pleasurable acts and difficult ones, each must be performed whenever the need arises.
“Even governors sometimes find it difficult to sign (the prerogative of mercy). I have been telling them that they must sign because that is the law.”The works we are doing have a very sweet part and a very ugly part and we must perform both. No matter how painful it is, it is part of their responsibilities,” he emphasised.
The president enjoined parents, (especially fathers) in the country to make governance easier by instilling requisite discipline in their wards and children.He said apart from being dependent providers of their family’s needs, fathers were much more veritable tools of societal development and stability if they instill discipline and good conduct in their children.
The president insisted that fathers should not spare the rod to spoil the child, saying the principle of reward and punishment must be applied in proportionate measures at anytime so that the job of clemency at the dock could be mitigated.
Recalling his childhood and the disciplinarian disposition of his father, President Jonathan said: “When we were small, anytime we commit an offence and we heard his voice that he was coming, we will start crying. You will not wait to see him because you know what will happen to you.But nowadays, he observed: “because of modern life, discipline is almost gone.
“He noted that institutions, such as the judiciary and the executive arms of government have taken over the enforcement of discipline.”Magistrate can just admonish and allow them (errant children) to go. From admonition to various forms of punishments, it could be imprisonment.
The extreme is capital punishment, he said.He, therefore, reminded parents that: “It is important for us to let our children constantly know that it is good to take the right path. It is good for them to know that they must be upright.”If we look through all the references that have been made today with the father in the Bible, you will see that we expect a father to show love.
The father is the breadwinner of the family, to take care of the mother and the children, to provide food for them and take care of their education. We expect fathers to be role models where children will want to be like their fathers.”I want to urge all of us who are fathers to discipline our children. No matter what you do, even if you show love and provide the needs of the family, if you don’t discipline your children, it is not good.”
In his sermon entitled: “Fathers’ Responsibility”, the President of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, Rev. Soja Bewarang, cautioned that the country will remain at inertia if pilfering of its resources by those working with the President does not stop.”If this country must survive, all men working under the President must practise honesty and they must not steal.
He (the President) cannot fight corruption when you are not supporting him. He may try, but he cannot be everywhere. You are his representatives, so you must practise honesty and you must not steal,” he said.
He asked Nigerians to pray for good fathers like Enoch; those who will walk with God like Noah; those who will trust God like Joshua; and men of faith like Abraham.
The special service which had Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State as the special guest of honour was also attended by the President’s mother, Eunice; Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State; Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Tony Anenih; members of the Federal Executive Council; new Controller-General of Immigration, Mr. David Paradang; Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin; and members of the National Assembly.