Soyinka slams Jonathan on Alamieyeseigha’s pardon, says it’s immoral

Prof Wole Soyinka

The Jonathan presidency got a bloody eye Wednesday in Lagos, when Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, characterized the state pardon granted former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, by President Goodluck Jonathan, as both a corrupt act and an example of state impunity

Mr. Soyinka, who made the comments while opening this year’s edition of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, also slammed comments made by President Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati, that those criticizing the immorality of the pardon were suffering from “sophisticated ignorance.”

“On the state pardon granted the former governor, I want to join the bandwagon of the ignorant persons. I am happy to be counted among them. For me, this kind of impunity is not unconnected to the controversy which has been surrounding the N4bn allocation being sought by the First Lady Mission. It is part of the same corrupt mentality,” remarked the professor of literature and renowned author.

Mr. Soyinka said it was odd for Jonathan to equate Mr. Alamieyeseigha’s  case  with those of the other people he granted pardon because, according to him, the cases of other ex-convicts were largely political, being victims of the late Sani Abacha junta who set them up in a phantom coup.

“What is going on right now gives the picture of a government that is floundering and justifying the unjustifiable. It amounts to encouragement of corruption. The United States Government wants the felon.  We have a case of an officer of the law – a governor – who went to another country and broke the law of the nation. He jumped bail.

“I believe that such a person does not deserve a state pardon. So, I have joined the league of the ignorant persons condemning the act. I criticise and deplore President Jonathan for granting pardon to the former governor” he said.

President Jonathan has been the butt of national and international outrage for his controversial state pardon on convicted high profile felons like his former boss, Mr. Alamieyeseigha, and Shettima Bulama a former chief executive of the defunct Bank of the North.

He has also drawn public anger for the pardon of a former army major, Bello Magaji, a homosexual rapist who the Supreme Court of Nigeria jailed for 5 years for serially sodomising four teenage boys.


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  • yusuf

    God help us!
    The president,
    The National comcil of state,
    The federal executive council,
    The legislatures,
    The judiciaries,
    Are all this bodies not made up of people with independent mind? Or must we fall into the ditch before some one realizes Mr president GEJ is not acting right.
    If this is beyond Human please God we want your intervention, so as to avoid a repeat of King (Firauna) Feror of Egypt during Moses. Who lead both him self and a lot of his people to doom!!

  • Mamman Bako

    GEJ has turned Nigeria into a two-country State, one run by him, his friend and PDP members, blinded to the fact that their policies since coming to office have been deceptive, destructive, divisive and of no transformation of Nigeria. The other nation of majority of us Nigerians who are just suffering from the wake of GEJ type of leadership. Certainly one day this majority will rise up and fight this immoral government run by Goodluck Jonathan. He should be warned!

  • segun

    I want to thank you for still being able to stand with us at your old age. You said “The Man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of tyranny”. I guess you continue to stand by us for this reason. Thanks so much for always saying the truth and for being able to come out for Nigerian citizens at the right time.

  • Roberts

    What actually gives me concern is that I still have to call GEJ Nigeria President till 2015. Obviously, he is devoid of the faculty of a leader and the moral standard to be up-right.

  • concernednigerian

    Must Soyinka comment on everything? Does he not have class? Is there any right
    thinking member of society who does not know that Alamieyeseigha’s trial was not above board but rather Obasanjo’s personal vendetta against Atiku and his staunchest supporter in the oil rich Niger Delta? Must we shout at our top-most voice to inform you that Alamieyeseigha pleaded guilty at the persuassion of President Yar’ Adua who promised to pardon him. The President did not want the former Bayelsa state governor to continue to suffer in detention under Ribadu – Obasanjo’s apostle of darkness – hence persuaded Alamieyeseigha who was in poor health, personally to plead guilty and go home with a view to being pardoned. Yar’ Adua died before he could fulfill the promise. Alamieyeseigha has paid a heavy price for his loyalty to a Northerner called Atiku, yet today it is the South-East that is defending Alamieyeseigha and the President that granted him pardon. The Northerners including Atiku are eager to rubbish any thing that President Jonathan does because the Presidency is their birthright. Nigerians must understand that the minorities themselves are people so why the uproar in a sitting President correcting victimization from Obasanjo? Does any Nigerian doubt the propensity of the Obasanjo administration to visit havoc through Ribadu’s EFCC on those adjudged opponents of the administration? Was there any governor at the point in time that was not pronounced to have been corrupt? It is becoming too much of a burden for a minority to continue to be a Nigerian because there is something very unpleasant about Nigerians on issues involving the minority ethnic groups irrespective of the fact that the so-called majority ethnic groups are an economic liability. You all must understand that the Nigerian project ends in 2014 and not beyond. Soyinka should have shown his impartiality by condemning the new found love between Ribadu, the harbinger of injustice to Alamieyeseigha, and Tinubu such that Ribadu now carries Tinubu’s handbag for him, a man Ribadu once pronounced as one of the most reprehensible and corrupt elements in Nigeria. Believe it or not the end is nigh. The minority ethnic groups have said that they want Jonathan to administer proceeds from oil for two terms of office on behalf of the entire Nigeria. On this issue there shall be no dialogue; no compromise and no detente. The choice is yours. The minorities of both the North and the South can do without the absurdity called Nigeria.

    • Aboaba Daisi

      conernednigerian did you say all these? ha ha ha ha ha ha !!! Last week I did not read you talk about “minority” in the “North” mpitikwelu_na_afam_na_deri, I thought the only thing that mattered all these days until President Jonathan revealed his immoral and corrupt hands in granting pardon to a criminal called Alamieyeseigha was four more years and forward on to Republic of South South and South East. Now I think you saw that that is not working given the genuine rejection of ALL Nigerian citizens EAST/WEST/NORTH/SOUTH against ethnic and religious politics. So you create a new song “minority” in the “North”!!!! in alliance with “minority” in the South-South!!! Pray what has that got to do with granting pardon to a criminal? Also, where does “minority” in the ‘north” fit in the Republic of SS and SE!!! You can see that God is working . For every of your game and antics you reveal the had of God in the collapse and eventual death of ethnic and religious politics in Nigeria. President Jonathan reveals his hands so ridiculously thru making you/mpitikwelu/afam/deri/Yussuff run into absurdity and cointradictions such that you land from one absurdity and the other. Bbbbbaaaaby we love the new ethnic song-Republic of Minority in the North and South South” Or is it Republic of SS and SE and Northern Minority?” President Jonaaaaathaaaan’s apologists the game is up. Learn how to read the handwriting on the wall.

      • concernednigerian

        @Aboaba Daisi.

        Read what I have written and please find your class to engage in tit for tat banter.

        • Aboaba Daisi

          baaaaby I have hlped you to help yourself by cutting and pasting aspects of your post that speak to my response to you. This is it”The minority ethnic groups have said that they want Jonathan to
          administer proceeds from oil for two terms of office on behalf of the
          entire Nigeria. On this issue there shall be no dialogue; no compromise
          and no detente. The choice is yours. The minorities of both the North
          and the South can do without the absurdity called Nigeria.” Does that help? So Presidents of a country govern THE WHOLE COUNTRY on behalf of ETHNIC GROUPS. Baaaby this is what you have just said EXPLICITLY IN YOUR POST. It is absurd. This can ONLY happen in the Nigerian part of Africa. And that view returns us to medieval period-pre-stone age. In MODERN SOCIETIES, Presidents DO NOT govern a WHOLE country on behalf of an ethnic group. Presidents govern ALL CITIZENS on behalf of each CITIZEN. learn baaaaby and THINK!

        • Aboaba Daisi

          Soooory concernigerian, and I forgot to add this and make it EXPLICIT. These are President Jonathan’s paid apologists you concernigerian/mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_naAwusa/ afam/deri/Yussuff . This has been the position of these paid characters. They claim (i) four more years for a corrupt and immoral President-Jonathan , (ii) they campaign OPENLY for the Republic of South South and South East. Your strategy was to pitch the “South” against the “North” in your warped imagination. NEVER once did ALL of you or ANY of you talk about “minority” in the “North”. And my challenge to you is that your “The minority ethnic groups have said that they want Jonathan to
          administer proceeds from oil for two terms of office on behalf of the
          entire Nigeria. On this issue there shall be no dialogue; no compromise
          and no detente. The choice is yours. The minorities of both the North
          and the South can do without the absurdity called Nigeria” is a NEW SONG. Why? Nigeria was absurd to you but your previous replacement of this “absurdity” was Republic of SS and SE. Now suddenly I am reading “minority” of the North as a new song. So I PUT IT TO you that you are inventing a new song(when the old song Republic of SS and SE failed) for opportunistic reasons and this opportunist new song will soon DIE again because Nigerian citizens WILL NOT BUY YOUR ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS politics. See what I mean? In modern societies you talk about citizens and their rights. Okay? We will NOT allow the likes of you and President Jonathan to return us to pre-stone age and medieval period. So please READ my posts to you before you talk.

    • Bosede Adegbemile

      Mr. Concernednigerian I think you should be concerned with something. A whole DOCTOR Reuben Abati said those who are criticizing the criminal pardon of the common thief Alamieyeseigha by our dear President Jonathan are ‘suffering from “sophisticated ignorance”. And a humble Wole Soyinka admitted and said he is happy to be among those “suffering from sophisticated ignorance” . Please tell me what is wrong with Wole Soyinka’s humble admission to his “sophisticated ignorance”? Does a mere Wole Soyinka(wey no get money, wey dey jealous Aso Rock today’s men for there money!!!) not have a right to admit to be suffering from “sophisticated ignorance”?

    • TOUN

      hmmhmm I can now see how looting public treasury and using stolen money to buy property in Maryland USA is “class”, how looting our treasury and using same to treat oneself in British hospital a la Madam Diezani Petroleum is about “class”, and how looting the treasury and using it to fly to german hospital is about “class”. -hmmhmmhmm “Does he not have CLASS”?. So criminal laundering of public money is your own definition of Class. if you concernednigerian are representative of who black people are, this is why the view that black people are genetically inferior will be legitimate.

  • okala odigwe

    Why is every body mind on Alamieyeseigha’s u all can gromble an u cn do noting

    • sympatheticnigerian

      the reason is the immoral nature of president Jonathan’s pardon. Do you consider ithe decison to pardon a criminal like Alamieyeseigha morally decent?

    • The question is where are the yoruba governors who were convicted by ribadu-or Efcc–the only governor Ribadu described as the biggest rogue in the globe-Tinubu he went to work for-he ended up as the presidential candidate of his party the ACN-who is fooling who in Nigeria for heavens sake! Again where was the voice of Soyinka then –is it because Alams is an Ijaw man-where are the felons from the 19 states of the federation that ribadu calimed to have investigated. Let us have their names biko–did Bill Clinton not pardon a fraudster, Marck Rich whose acts were worse than Alam/ Alams is not wanted in any part of the globe! It was the brits who let him out of their country period!

      Soyinka has allowed sentiments to becloud his sense of judgement-all are equal before the law-Sadly for us in Nigeria, some are more equal than the the rats from the creeks-all we ask for is for Nigeria to show us the rogues from the 33 states of the federation-are our prisons meant for only ijaws–from david West to Ibru–And the civl right activist to be hanged are those from the SS-kensarowiwa-our call is for Nigeria to look at truth in the face and say we are ready to put all the governors on trial-for once–Alams has served his term and he has been pardoned–un-convicted-period-those who dont like can relocate to sudan-u cannot steal our oil and our rights at the same time-when we call for resource control they turn the other way-but not when it concerns the jailment and murder of leaders from the SS-

      • amos

        how does this show that Alamieyeseigha is not a criminal and a common thief? How does this show that President Jonathan did not commit immorality and criminality by granting pardon to a criminal and a rapist?

  • UsaveOne

    One thing i know for sure is that one day the sledge hammer will fall…and everybody will give account of his/her stewardship.

    Check: www . usaveone . blogspot . com

  • Very Wrong Soyinka–In 1983, Marc Rich was indicted along with his partner, Pincus Green, and their companies on 65 counts of defrauding the I.R.S., mail fraud, tax evasion, racketeering, defrauding the Treasury and trading with the enemy. (The last of these was for an oil deal with Iran while it held American hostages.) On hearing that they were about to be prosecuted, they fled to Switzerland. For the next 17 years, Mr. Rich ducked extradition requests as well as attempts by federal marshals to arrest him in France, England, Finland and elsewhere. Though his companies pleaded guilty and paid $200 million in fines and other penalties, as well as racketeering charges Mr. Rich a fugitive came to be pardoned by President Clinton. So where did GEJ go wrong can somebody tell me! Even in America no to talk of Nigeria-

    • Bankole Babawale

      Deri_na_Mpitikwelu-perhaps the difference is that the criminal Alamieyesigha is in league with two other Nigerian Senators to help him screen off the property he used the laundered money to buy in Maryland USA, perhaps the difference is that the criminal Alamieyeseigha is in league with prominent characters in President Jonathan’s govt to continue to perpetuate corruption in our country-and we Nigerians do not like that because we want to join the civilised world. Perhaps the difference is that President Clinton did not say he did not have any apology to make to American citizens while President Jonathan said he did not have any apologies to make to Nigerian citizens. Perhaps the difference is that President Clinton did not say people responded to his action because he is a white American while President Jonathan said people rejected his criminal pardon of a thief like Alamieyeseigha because the criminal Alamie is from Bayelsa state and he the immoral President is also from bayelas state-thereby for THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF NIGERIA A SITTING PRESIDENT USED HIS MOUTH TO SET NIGERIANS AGAINST ONE ANOTHER -and yet he claims to be President of ALL Nigerian citizens. Perhaps the difference is that Nigerians saw President Jonathan’s desperation when he forgot and actually pardoned a a male rapist-of four young boys!!!. afam-deri-mpitikwelu I know you collect money for these posts. But what is not good is not good. tell your oga-President Jonathan that. It smells. I know you guys are used to the Aso Rock, Jonathan Presidency stench, it smells to you no more. But it is smelly to common Nigerian citizens. Anyway those are the differences.

  • Once tinubu sees an opportunity that will make him reduce the president to nothing-he never fails to seize it-He grasp such chances with both hands-that is why he often rushes to hire Wole Syinka to add his voice to the issue at stake for more sound effect- Hence the need to force Syinka out of his self imposed retirement to come and add a little salt and pepper to his quest for relevance in his new party APC may be–Jonathan did the right thin-The founding fathers of the USA such as Frankling Roosevelt did not pardon 3,687 goats-and cows! they were humans-Woodrow Wilson pardoned 2,480 criminals in the USA he was hailed by the Americans-its only in Nigeria that some desire to use the pardon granted Alams for their own selfish end–Want to use it to intimidate Jonathan into submitting to their whims and caprices-Well I have a word for those fellas-biko-Jonah is maturing and learning fast-He is no longer the push over that we thought he was–months ago-case on Alams closed-next matter-boko haram-and buhari

    • Abubakar Sokoto

      Okay I can see that. So when Tinubu hires Soyinka to add sound bite to a case according to you, it then logically make the case not correct. So since Tinubu has hired Soyinka on this case of the criminal called Alamieyeseigha, it then makes Alamieyeseigha not guilty. Hmm I like this Presidential logic!!!

  • Ayomide

    Your reportage smirks of unprofessional conduct, a pattern I noticed in the defunct 234NEXT online edition. While I may condone your stripping off of unmerited honors like chief, otunba, eze, etc lampooned on some particular Nigerians names, it is definitely out of taste to remove a scholastic achievement and some military designations (if not withdrawn) from some of our citizens, in particular context, Prof. Wole Soyinka. In the body of your report, you mentioned “…professor of literature…”, it then beats me when he was referred to as ” Mr. Soyinka.”

    The ethics of the press needs to be upheld irrespective of a bias.