Alamieyeseigha’s Pardon: Nigeria alienated; Bill Gates arrives Ghana

Former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha

The Nigerian child’s health is the first casualty of President Jonathan’s sympathy for corruption.

Nigeria this week began to feel the full impact of the diplomatic row it sparked with the United States after pardoning corrupt ex-convicts and a rapist. And the health of the Nigerian child is the first casualty.

The first backlash appears to have taken full effect as America’s richest man, Bill Gates, on Monday, arrived Ghana in a trip that would have seen the billionaire stop by Nigeria to meet President Goodluck Jonathan, and other officials concerning the aggressive polio eradication campaign his Bill and Melinda Foundation is undertaking in Nigeria.

“I arrive in Ghana today to see firsthand why the country’s immunization system is working so well and meet the people involved,” Mr. Gates wrote in a website in which he is keeping  personal notes.

Mr. Gates was due in Nigeria March 27-28, after his visit to neighbouring Ghana, but called off the trip two-day trip after the U.S. government expressed disappointment with Nigeria for pardoning convicted money launderers and warned it might cut aid meant for the country.

Although diplomatic sources told PREMIUM TIMES the American billionaire decided to stay off Nigeria in response to Mr. Jonathan’s pardoning of corrupt officials,  Mr. Gates’ office has maintained the trip was put off due to a change in his schedule.

However, President Goodluck Jonathan’s spokesmen in Abuja have strongly denied any correspondence between Mr. Gates’ “rescheduling” of his trip to Nigeria saying, through Reuben Abati, that the the rescheduled trip was merely incidental.

Mr. Abati’s position is reinforced by James Whittington, a senior communications officer for the foundation in its Africa and Middle East office, who has vigorously denied any link between Mr. Gates’ rescheduled trip and the presidential pardon in Nigeria.

Mr. Whittington also denies that the State department’s advisory had anything to do with the operations of the foundation, characterizing the story as “false.”

Nigeria’s President Jonathan stirred local and international discontent after he granted state pardon to his former boss and ex-Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreiye Alamieyeisegha.

The former governor, wanted in United Kingdom for money laundering, and convicted here for embezzling state funds while he was Bayelsa Governor, was pardoned alongside another convict and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.

Mr. Bulama, like Mr. Alamieyeisegha, was investigated and later prosecuted for corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The controversial pardon granted Messrs Alamieyeseigha and Bulama sparked diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United States, with the Americans threatening to punish Nigeria over Mr. Jonathan’s action.

“We see this as a setback for the fight against corruption, and also for our ability to play the strong role we’ve played in supporting rule of law and legal institution-building in Nigeria, which is very important for the future of the country obviously,” State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, had told reporters in Washington.

“We have made clear to the Nigerians that this puts a question mark on the kinds of work that we’ve been trying to do with them.”

A source told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Gates was dissuaded from visiting Nigeria by the U.S. government.

“The State Department has advised him that Nigeria is not conducive for such visit at this time,” our source said. “We hope that the Nigerian government will get the message and return to the path of sanity.”

Both the Nigerian government and officials at Mr. Gate’s foundation formally deny the American billionaire and philanthropist is boycotting Nigeria over the new corruption stigma hanging on the country’s neck.

He won’t come to Nigeria

PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Gates Foundation headquarters in the U.S. to enquire whether Mr. Gates had changed his decision not to visit Nigeria at this time.

A spokesperson responded by saying Nigeria, which is next door to Ghana, is not in Mr. Gates plan at this time.

“This is a trip to Ghana, and that’s what I can tell you at this time,” she said.

Praises for Ghana

Mr. Gates was full of praises for Ghana in his notes.

“In Ghana, for example, polio was eliminated a decade ago and an outbreak in 2008 was quickly controlled. No child there has died from measles since 2002. And Ghana was the first country to launch two new vaccines last April, against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea, and pneumococcal pneumonia.Ghana’s approach works so well…” the philanthropist said.

Mr. Gates will spend his time in Ghana meeting field workers and other actors responsible for the country’s health successes.

“In my next post I’ll tell you about the people I’m meeting and some of the lessons we can learn from Ghana’s success,” Mr. Gates said.

He also planned “to share my experience in Ghana at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi April 24-25, where global health leaders will celebrate progress in immunization and demonstrate how the world is united to give all children a healthy start to life”.

Mr Gates’ work in Nigeria

Mr. Gate is the biggest foreign supporter of the campaign to eradicate polio in Nigeria and has worked consistently with the Nigerian authorities since 2009 over the matter. His foundation has developed a six-year strategy through 2018 that will help combat polio in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and donated $300m to the global fight against polio last year.

The bulk of his donation this year is meant for Nigeria which currently has the highest cases of polio in the world. Mr. Gates’ efforts has seen improvements which helped Pakistan reduce the number of polio cases from 198 in 2011 to 56 in 2012; and Afghanistan from 80 to 35 during the same period.

The situation in Nigeria worsened during the same period, increasing from 62 in 2011 to 119 in 2012.

Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Gates Foundation visited Nigeria in November 2012. During that visit, his foundation entered into a four-year alliance with the Dangote Foundation which promised to provide funding, equipment and technical support to the Kano state government to strengthen polio immunisation.

He had scheduled this March’s visit to consolidate that alliance, meet with President Jonathan, state governors and other stakeholders with a view to generally revving up the war against the pandemic.


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  • Bode Ajeigbe

    The distance between Ghana and Nigeria by road is about eight hours. My emphasis is BY ROAD. When it was said that Mr. gates cancelled his visit to Nigeria as a result of the pardon President Jonathan granted the criminal -Alamieyeseigha-President Jonathan’s defenders including the presidency itself and our minister for foreign affairs said “No Gates did not cancel visit to Nigeria because of the pardon”!!! President Jonathan’s defenders and spokespersons were looking for a “written statement” to this effect. CLUELESS IS THE WORD FOR OUR FOREIGN MINISTER AND PRESIDENCY ON THIS MATTER. If those who run the foreign ministry and the Aso Rock presidency do not know that MOST SENSITIVE FOREIGN AFFAIRS DECISIONS ARE CONDUCTED VIA BODY LANGUAGE IN OLD AND MODERN TIMES , THEY NEED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL. The other thing is that the Nigerian presidency -past and present- thinks you we can get a good NIGERIAN BRAND IN AND OUTSIDE NIGERIA by erecting the “most sophisticated ministry of information PROPAGANDA and pouring oil money into such propaganda.” No a country’s foreign image AND GOOD BRAND rests on SIMPLE HONEST ACTIONS OF ITS LEADERS AND CITIZENS. I teach in a foreign university. I have tried many times to lead my foreign students to Nigeria for summer abroad program. Summer abroad programs are hits in foreign schools and they are good image making for any country that is attractive enough to be visited by these students. Each time I tried, each time the university and students shoot down my idea. Reason? Nigeria’s endemic corruption, immoral and unethical leadership which has made Nigeria to be hopelessly unattractive to youths of the world. And the more hopeless thing is that President Jonathan’s defenders come up and tell us it does not matter, meaning “the world can be damned!!!” I have two responses: First the Presidency and the ministers are a pack of hypocrites and dubious people on this matter. Why? They have used NIgerian public money they stole to send their children to these same schools. So they know thru their children the value of summer abroad programs to African countries by foreign students, and the value that brings to African countries that are visited. Yet the Presidency and the defenders of President Jonathan says it does not matter and that the world can go to hell! Second reason is: You cannot damn the world. The world cannot go to hell. if you damn the world, you damn yourself. A word is enough for whoever wants to think. The distance between Ghana and Nigeria BY ROAD is just eight hours. THINK MY BRODAS AND SISTAS.

    • Es3

      Now, who do we believe? Bill Gate’s official feedback on why or your propaganda machine?!

      • Bode Ajeigbe

        Es3, Today is March 26. Mr. Gates was supposed to be on a West African visit-Nigeria and Ghana. Mr. Gates was supposed to be in Nigeria March 27-28. Mr, Gates did not cancel visit to Nigeria before President Jonathan pardoned the criminal Alamieyeseigha. The pardon jolted the moral world. I understand if it did not jolt you, Es3, and other spokespersons of President Jonathan-bot offline and online. The US MISSION in Nigeria reacted. A day after the US MISSION in Nigeria’s response, Mr, Gates cancelled visit to Nigeria. But Mr. Gates DID NOT CANCEL VISIT TO GHANA! Mr. Gates is an American. I told you the most sensitive foreign affairs decision are done by body language. If you like continue to delude yourself. I am sure you are connected to the ministers in Aso Rock and other madams their. They have their children in schools abroad. Please ask them for more literacy and eduction how these things work. Ask them what happened after they give you a cup of coffee and smile. You may be on your way to be sacked from your job. A smile, a cup of coffee and a sack after! I teach in a foreign university as I informed. I know what I am saying. I know you know. But I know that you must still defend a chronically hopeless in moral terms _President Jonathan’s presidency. Nigeria and Ghana by ROAD is about eight hours. You take your decision if you want. THINK Es3!!! Today is March 26 and Mr. Gates is in Ghana. Tomorrow March 27 -is the initial Mr. Gates’ visit for Nigeria. THINK MY BRODA AND SISTA. THINK ES3.

        • Es3

          Bode,
          Even if you teach in a foreign school, that does not that make you a ‘wisdom pot’? If Bill Gates felt so gored by Alams pardon and wishes to cancel his earlier planned trip to Nigeria, as an American that he is, why wouldn’t call a spade a spade?!
          What if Ghana is one hours away from Nigeria by TREKKING, if Gates has another thing more urgent and far pressing contending to the dates he assigned to coming to see you, can’t he re-schedule? Is it Alams pardon only that can call for rescheduling?
          I stand my grounds on this for a couple of reasons:
          1. I contributed more anyone on this forum to the successful conviction of Alams in the law courts and this is part of the reason I refer to some of us here as emergency activists!
          2. I know a thing or two about Presidential pardons elsewhere and on pardons generally, being not for the saints but repentant sinners.
          Thank you.

          • Bode Ajeigbe

            My point to you Mr Es3 is simple. The world is a small global village. You must know others, while others must know. In other words, we Nigerians must know the western world while the western world works hard to know us. That is the point of my telling you where I taught. In other words, I am telling you that you must know those you are dealing with, just as they go to any length to decode you/us and know you/us deeply in order to be able to predict us. Okay? From your posts you pretend you do not care about Nigeria’s image. That is fine. But some of us bother to reply you and other defenders of President Jonathan because we know you are LYING. Why? Most Jonathan’s men and women(ministers) have their families abroad. Most of them steal and then invest abroad-eg Alamieyeseigha’s property in Maryland US. So you know what you are doing. So when you pardon a criminal you have sent a negative image to the world about yourself. And the world WILL NOT tell you in black and white that they oppose it. Like I said they will give you a cup of coffee and a smile and when you turn your back, they use the dirty word on you. In other words they turn their backs on you. That is what is called diplomacy. Nigeria play it that way too. All countries do. That is the point Es3. But you may claim you do not care that Gates shunned Nigeria. That is fine and a different argument. But even for that argument, you do care. Why? Most of your sponsors in Aso Rock hold the citizenship and Green cards of the country you are claiming you do not care about. Most of them send their children to the schools in the same country you are claiming you do not care shunned you. See what I mean? You pretend. It is because your sponsors pretend a lot -this is the reason they are dubious and therefore very immoral and a disgrace to us.

          • Es3

            Bode,
            You make assumptions on what you hardly know of! That I don’t care about Nigeria?! When I started and breaking my head on the communal well being of this country, these emergency critics were at best snoring!!! I thought if I’m nor killed (and declared lost), I may just fall down and die by the sheer enormity of documentary evidence at my disposal!!
            For anyone who dare care to know, I started caring from the time of the totalitarian regime of IBB, investigating and ferreting crucial information out for use by the ‘resistance movement’ at the risk of my very health and life, even yet to let off till date! Yet, you are now coy assuming that I do not care about Nigeria?! I over care – if there is a word like that!
            The US and other advanced world parole their criminals ahead of their JAIL TERM end for showing signs of remorse and seeming repentance and we know how some of the beneficiaries treat the largese. In some cases, they review their jail terms downward at no external prompting for ‘exemplary behaviour’, why???!
            Here on Alams further information came out on how Alams had reached an understanding (with agreement) with late Yar’adua and judiciary before prosecution on his after jail term life. Now the agreement is being kept by the government after he had shown signs acceptable to the government as a repentant sinner and you believe a capital crime has been committed because Jonathan pardoned Alams?
            I had asked a question that none of you have answered yet and which is: Are we sure this uproar is not just because it is Jonathan that granted the pardon, yes because when OBJ did same on another corruption case involving Salisu Buhari, we had heard a whimp from quarters???!

      • Tobibs

        You this moron!!! What do you need? a cookie???? how could people be so daft???

        • Es3

          Tobibs,
          I bet you are exactly, even worse than what you want to pin on others!
          How do I know? For not being to take a contrary opinion (different position) standing with your head intact tells a lot about you that you may not be willing to share!!!
          You can as well pass for one in urgent need need to be examined upstairs, and that’s the ugly truth?!!!

  • Bamikola

    A PREZIDENTIAL CONSTITUTIONAL PARDON: Is designed for “those-who-had-done-wrong” under the national constitution. Did Alamieyeseigha do any-wrong?? Yes!
    And where in the Constitution was/is it written that the likes of he/Alamieyeseigha does not deserve such pardon as reviewed and reccommended by the council of State-of-State???

    • bamikola

      The Problems with Nigerians is that: Most do not have and read “the Nigerian-Constitutions
      containing the Laws-of-Nigerian”, as much as they have and read the “Christian-Bible
      with Laws-of-Moses”; or have and read the “Muslim-Koran containing the Laws-of-the-named-Prophets”..!

      The point is that could many Nigerians be ignorant-of-the-Nigerian-Constitution if they don’t
      read it “religiously”?? The answer: Yes… or May be…!

      • Tobibs

        The overriding problem we are facing in this country is morons like you

    • Dotun

      This is the way it works. (i)President Jonathan swore to defend the constitution and the corporate entity called Nigeria. That defense is physical and moral. It may not be moral for you, and that is fine. We all have different ethical standards. But any president and President Jonathan knows that such defense is both moral and physical hence he will ask his ministry of information to use all kinds of gimmicks to give Nigeria a good name-, this is also the reason Mrs Sarah Jubril, President Jonathan’s adviser is proposing the setting up of a Ministry of Ethics!!!. But good name for a country is not found in words but in morally good acts starting from the president. (ii) Corruption is a threat to the country and any country. Corruption does not build good schools. Corruption does not build good hospitals. This is why the ministers and people in President Jonathan’s presidency and the elites do not send their children to Nigerian schools(because there are no good schools hence there is no Nigeria), they send them abroad. This is why they do not use Nigerian hospitals. It means for our elites and people in Aso Rock, Nigeria does not exist, Nigeria is erased from their minds-and that is a violation. (iii) The pardon of thief Alamieyeseigha is CORRUPTION PROMOTING. And corruption is the reason our money is stolen and spent privately. So a criminal pardon promotes corruption because you have asked criminal yahoo yahoo and 419 boys to move on, you have failed to use the money to build Nigeria, you have erased Nigeria morally and physically. And that is a violation of the constitution. Why? Because -a President swears to BUILD the country. Presidents do do not swear to destroy countries. Pardoning a criminal like Alamieyeseigha destroys the country morally and consequently because you have lost the moral right to prosecute criminals and corrupt people. And that is a physical and moral death of a country. This the way President Jonathan has violated us and the constitution he swore to defend. Does this help a bit Bankola or what is your name again? If it does not help or you need more help, I will gladly help.

  • TATA

    Why should i care?

    • tatu

      You should not care because you do not care about Nigeria.

    • FreeKick

      TATA You shouldn’t really, we know. Go back to you cows…

  • Much ado about nothing~

  • Michael Ijere

    Why must Bill Gates come to Nigeria because he went to Ghana ,does he visit Ghana each time has come to Nigeria in the past ? i think the Gates foundation needs to sue PREMIUM TIMES for this irrelevant and mischievious blackmail

  • Michael Ijere

    Why must Bill Gates come to Nigeria because he went to Ghana ,does he visit Ghana each time has come to Nigeria in the past ? i think the Gates foundation needs to sue PREMIUM TIMES for this irrelevant and mischievious blackmail

  • ross meroe

    This ”Premium Times” junk paper is run by illiterates and slaves. Why doesn’t Bill Gates boycott his own country given the THOUSANDS of criminals including tax evaders, fraudsters and murderers pardoned by his own govt since the time of Lincoln down to Obama? Why does Premium Times think Nigerians give a damn about US hypocrites? At least Alams spent two years in jail for his crimes. How many years have George W Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and co spent in jail for their lies, deceit and mass murder in Iraq in which 2 million innocents were murdered just to get at their oil and gas, to feed fat already bloated American private corporations? What corruption approaches THAT?

  • igbiki

    I thank God for Mr Gates for letting us know our emperor is naked.

    The news is not that he aint coming to Nigeria, but that he has avoided Nigeria and is now in Ghana.

    Some people still needs some soothsayers to know that Nigeria has been snubbed.