by Dare Lawal
The special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, has defended the administration’s decision to appoint a former House of Representatives Speaker, Salisu Buhari, who was convicted for forgery and perjury, as a member of the governing board of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Abati who has recently been placed in a position where he’s had to defend certain morally questionable decisions of the administration, like the pardon granted to a former ex-governor and a paedophile, rose to the challenge, stating vehemently that Buhari was fit and proper for the appointment.
In fact, Abati also refuted claims that the appointment into governing councils favoured mainly PDP members. His argument is however seen as misleading as the list which is public, is clearly populated by members of the ruling party.
Abati’s defence of Buhari stems from fact that the ex-legislator had already been pardoned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo after he had apologised to his colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“Salisu has brought these comments and they are very controversial. People are saying that he was convicted for forgery and perjury under the Obasanjo’s administration. If you recall after that conviction, he not only apologised on the floor of the House of Representatives, the administration at the time subsequently granted him pardon.
“Pardon means you can no longer be punished for whatever offense you have committed. It means that your rights have been restored and you can again legitimately act for the society. The pardon says you can’t be shut out of the society. If you have opportunity again to serve your country, of course, you can be asked to be part of the process,” he said.
He however said that government can still go back on any of the appointments if there was a protest from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) or from the concerned university.