Abuja - The Presidency says the role of former Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa in ensuring stability of the Niger Delta region, earned him the state pardon by the National Council of State.
Dr Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, stated this on Thursday in Abuja while briefing newsmen.
He said that apart from being remorseful, the former governor had silently played key role in stabilising the volatile Niger Delta region.
Okupe was reacting to negative media reports that the state pardon had generated.
He appealed to Nigerians and members of the civil societies groups to be open minded on the issue.
He said that Alamieyeseigha was removed from office in a manner that was suggested by many as not being entirely above board.
According to Okupe, the former governor has been adequately punished for his misbehaviour and has demonstrated enough soberness after his conviction.
“I want to state categorically here that, state or presidential pardon is not intended for nobility or saints.
``A state pardon is for those who have committed crimes and breached the laws of the land and may or may not have been tried or convicted, regardless of their social status.
``He lost his position, forfeited the property illegally acquired and had demonstrated enough soberness after he served his sentence,'' Okupe said.
He said that it was wrong for some members of the public to suggest that the state pardon granted Alamieyeseigha was tantamount to abandoning Federal Government's fight against corruption.
“People have stated that President Jonathan publicly acknowledge Alamieyeisegha as his political benefactor.
``This is a display of extreme humility and honesty on the part of Mr President.
``In this day that virtually all political benefactors, usually turn into enemy number one and are therefore hounded to the ground by the incumbents,’’ he said.
Okupe said it was God and providence that lifted President Jonathan over and above his former political boss.
``But in truth, Alamieyeisegha since he left prison ,has been working strenuously and silently to assist the President to stabilise the amnesty in the Niger Delta Region,’’ Okupe said
He said that Alamieyeisegha was a foremost leader of the Ijaw nation, adding that his political and stabilising influence in the region had impacted positively on the nation`s economy.
This had brought crude oil exports from the low level of 700,000 per barrel to over 2.4 million per barrel, Okupe said.
He said that it was obvious that Alamieyeisegha had been a major player since his release from prison in ensuring the growth of the nation`s economy.
Okupe said that it was a misnomer to assume that if Alamieyeseigha was in advanced societies he would not have been granted state pardon.
He cited several instances in the advanced world where state pardon was granted to convicted persons to buttress his claims. (NAN)