Saturday, April 11, 2020 9:22 pm
By Richard Akinnola
Although he was tried and jailed by a kangaroo tribunal in 1984 by the Military Government headed by Major General Muhammadu Buhari, it’s heart warming that the blemish on the meritorious service of defunct Bendel State Governor, Prof Ambrose Folorunsho Alli has now been removed via the pardon granted by President Muhammadu Buhari. By some restitution, Buhari could be said to have corrected his wrong steps as military leader.
But including pro-Democracy icon and former National Chairman, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro, who was pardoned by the Gowon led government along with Elder Statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and five others in 1966, for another pardon, is another kettle of fish.
The instrument of pardon in the official gazette no 81 of August 12th, 1966 signed by then Lt Col Yakubu Gowon, Head of the National Military Government and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Nigeria listed the following as beneficiaries: Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Anthony Eronsele Enahoro, Lateef Kayode Jakande, Michael Adedayo Omisade, Sunday Ebietoma, Effiong Okon Eyo and Samuel Akanbi Onitiri. They were all mentioned in Government Notice no 1507, 1508, 1509, 1510, 1511, 1512 and 1513 respectively.
Awolowo and his immediate lieutenants were obviously victims of a politically orchestrated trial designed to make the Action Group and its virile leadership buckle under. But undaunted, Enahoro appealed his judgement and got his jail term reduced before finally getting a pardon.
So really what’s the basis of a second pardon for Chief Enahoro who served as Minister of Information and Labour for nine years under Gowon on account of the pardon? It meant those who advised the Buhari administration on this didn’t seem to have done rigorous work. Rather than proceed on some vain arrogance on this matter, the government should own up that it has goofed and correct itself.