No praise for Buhari pardoning Ambrose Ali-Pa Adebanjo

President, Middle belt Forum, Dr. Bala Takaya (2ndleft) addressing members of the Press on the outcome of the Southern Nigeria and Middle-belt Summit at the Chief Harold Dappa Biriye Conference Centre, Creek Haven Resort, Government House, Yenagoa, while the National Leader, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Chief Edwin Clark (2nd right) Leader of the AFENIFERE delegation to the summit, Chief Ayo Adebanjo (right) and the President General, OHANAEZE, Chief John Nwodo (left) look on. Photo by Lucky Francis.

Elder statesman, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, says the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), deserves no praise for pardoning former Governor of the old Bendel State, Prof. Ambrose Alli, who was jailed by a military tribunal set up by the Buhari junta in 1984.

The 92-year-old Afenifere chieftain said this during a chat with The PUNCH on Friday.

The President had announced the pardon of 2, 600 prisoners in a bid to decongest the prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari, however, seized the opportunity to also pardon some deceased statesmen like Alli and a few others who were convicted decades ago.

Reacting to the pardon of Alli, however, Adebanjo said Buhari unjustly convicted the former governor like many others on trumped-up charges of corruption.

The Afenifere chieftain said the pardon could be an attempt by Buhari to make peace with God.

Adebanjo, who was a close associate of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and a member of the party which Alli belonged to, said Buhari deserved no praise for the pardon.

He said, “We always knew that Ambrose Alli never deserved to be sent to jail. He was convicted by an autocratic government led by Buhari. I cannot thank Buhari for the pardon because he punished Alli for a crime that was never committed. He gave them a punishment they never deserved.

“If he has a change of conscience and says Alli is no longer a convict, that is his business with God. He was never convicted by the constitution of the people but by Buhari’s autocratic standards. If he has a change of heart, that is his business.”

The PUNCH reports that Alli was arraigned on Decree 3 of 1984 before the Special Military tribunal set up by Buhari for diverting N983, 000 (over $1m at the time) from the treasury of Bendel State (now Edo and Delta states).

He was accused of diverting public funds to the Unity Party of Nigeria led by Awolowo.

The military tribunal did not find evidence that he gave money to the party but a campaign contribution given to the party treasurer by a contractor.

Alli had no legal representation because the Nigerian Bar Association had boycotted all tribunals set up by the Buhari government, describing them as unconstitutional.

While serving his jail term at Kirikiri prison, Lagos, Alli’s health deteriorated and he was almost going blind. He was transferred to Jos prison and then Agodi prison, Ibadan from where he was released.

He died shortly after he was released from prison on his 60th birthday on September 22, 1989.

The Edo State University was renamed Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, in honour of the late ex-governor.



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.