The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said the criticism issued by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, concerning the state pardon granted by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to a former Governor of Plateau, Joshua Dariye, and his Taraba State counterpart, Jolly Nyame, lacked moral justification.
Wike had criticised the state pardon, saying it ridiculed the judiciary which had convicted both men of corruption.
The presidential hopeful, who spoke in Minna on Saturday, where he met with delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party, lamented that the Buhari regime is selective in its war against corruption.
He said, “I want to tell you that this government is very deceptive and they have deceived us enough.
“You have big big people, you jail them after all the court proceedings and waste of money, then you ridicule the judiciary by granting them pardon.
“How will the international community look at us with these type of things we do. Look at the amount spent in the prosecutions and you wake up one morning and messed it up all because of politics.”
He added that the state pardon was strategically done towards the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Wike said, “He obviously wants them to help him during the elections, he wants Dariye to help with Plateau while Nyame will work for Taraba.”
“If it is not for election purpose, why did he not grant pardon to the likes of James Ibori and Atuche?”
Reacting, Shehu, in a post on Facebook, faulted Wike’s criticism, saying the Governor ought to have made it known at the meeting where the state pardon was issued, which he attended, instead of airing his views after the meeting.
“I do not see the moral justification for Governor Wike’s criticism of the decision of the government to pardon Governors Dariye and Nyame at a meeting to which he was duly invited but did not attend.
“The Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo who joined the Council of State meeting virtually switched off her camera so it was difficult to determine whether she sat behind the dark screen or just walked away after first joining.
“If the Governor felt so strongly about the pardons, the right was for him or his representative to sit through the meeting and assert views. This did not do. A press release after the meeting is bolekaja politics,” Shehu said.