The presidency has reacted to the criticism of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, regarding the state pardon granted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the former Governor of Plateau, Joshua Dariye, and his Taraba State counterpart, Jolly Nyame.
The Presidency averred that Wike’s criticism lacked moral justification.
Wike had criticised the state pardon, saying it ridiculed the judiciary which had convicted both men for corruption.
The Rivers State governor, a presidential hopeful, who spoke in Minna on Saturday, where he met with delegates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, lamented that the Buhari administration is selective in its war against corruption.
According to Wike , “I want to tell you that this government is very deceptive and they have deceived us enough.
“You have 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.”
Wike added that the state pardon was strategically done towards the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
He 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?”
In his reaction, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba 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, a meeting where he was invited.
According to him, “I do not see the moral justification for Governor Wike’s criticism of the decision of the government to pardon former 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 he did not do.
Garba Shehu asserted that issuance of press release after the meeting is ”bolekaja politics’.