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Woman Scorned, Pardon Granted | Lessons from Vicki Pryce & Diepriye Alamieyeseigha

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Not So Sweet Revenge
When relationships end, there’s always that one party who is left to wonder why life has dealt them such a serious blow. This tends to be followed by incessant self-questioning and doubt. On some days, they wake up angry at the world. Life as they knew it, no longer makes sense. At their worst, they tend to be consumed by bitterness. They’ll do everything and anything to get their pound of flesh.

Human beings are sensitive. Nothing makes us happier than feeling loved. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage“. Nothing has the impact of gladdening the heart than reciprocated love whilst nothing can prove as heart wrenching than a rejected love advance.

For Vicki Pryce, the respected British economist, the latter is applicable. When her politician husband, Chris Huhne told her he was leaving her to be with his mistress, she was consumed in blind rage. She wanted her pound of flesh. She wanted to hurt him and would go to any length to do so. She called up journalists, developing relationships in a bid to use them in her motive to punish him for having the temerity to walk out on her. Eventually, she found a story that would fly.

Apparently, he had pressured her into taking penalty points on his behalf years back when he was caught over speeding. She told her story to the press hoping that it would bring her man down and he would have no choice than to resign. He denied it for a while but when it became clear he was going to be prosecuted for perversion of justice, he tendered his resignation. His ex-wife didn’t get off the hook despite her defence of marital coercion. She and her ex-husband were both sentenced to eight months in prison.

Lesson: Don’t let the need to get revenge consume you.

I understand it can be difficult but we should try to live and let go safe in the knowledge that things always get better.  Had Vicki Pryce not been so obsessed with getting revenge and causing him great embarrassment, she would not have to spend the next 8 months of her life away from her 3 children incarcerated!

On Accountability
In America, two prominent African American politicians have been convicted over the past few weeks. Kwame Kilpatrick, the former Mayor of Detroit, who was once known as the ‘ Hip Hop Mayor‘, has been convicted for corruption. The Guardian reports “Jurors convicted Kwame Kilpatrick of a raft of crimes, including racketeering, conspiracy, which carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in jail. He was portrayed during a five-month trial as an unscrupulous politician who took bribes, rigged contracts and lived far beyond his means while in office until the fall of 2008.” It is a given that Mr Kilpatrick would do some jail time. Jesse Jackson Jr, the son of the famed Civil Rights leader and past US Presidential aspirant, an ex- Congressman in his own right, pleaded guilty to misuse of campaign money. He had admitted to using these campaign funds in a personal capacity to purchase frivolous gifts.

Accountability is the cornerstone on which democracy is built. It acts as a way through which we can keep our representatives on their toes to do the right things. By remembering they are answerable to us, there’s an incentive to do the right thing and make sensible decisions. The incidents I mention are clear exercises in Accountability. The three politicians know this and it explains the reasoning behind their apologies and pursuit of penance.

There’s also the recent presidential pardon granted by President Jonathan to the ex Bayelsa governor, Diepriye Alamieyeseigha. Years back, the rotund figure popularly known as ‘Alams’ was a footnote in one of the more memorable cases pursued by the EFCC. As the story goes, Alams was arrested at London Heathrow with 1 million pounds in cold cash after returning from a tummy tuck procedure in Germany. He was prosecuted by the Metropolitan Police for Money laundering and according to the story that made the rounds; he jumped bail by disguising himself as a woman and using a dodgy passport to get on the Eurostar train to Paris. From there, he got on an Air France plane to Cameroun from where he would travel by boat to his home state. By granting Alamieyeseigha presidential pardon, the government has dropped the ball.

The presidential pardon mechanism generally exists for state issues. By granting pardon to a man convicted of robbing the commonwealth, it has surely abused the process. This is not to even highlight the obvious debt owed to Alamieyeseigha by Jonathan. It’s all ifs and buts. However, it’s highly unlikely the President would have evolved from unknown Deputy Governor to Governor to lame duck Vice President to uninspiring President were it not for Alams getting caught.

An accountable society would demand more than the flat excuse proffered by the Presidency that the pardon was granted because he was “remorseful”. How can one say a man who celebrated breaking both international law and domestic law as brazenly as Alamieyeseigha did when he returned to Bayelsa in 2005 is remorseful? This is a man who three years ago attributed his travails and persecution to the “vindictive Olusegun Obasanjo” for not supporting his 3rd term bid. That is not being remorseful or sorry. The first step to forgiveness is self-acceptance of one’s wrong. To attribute it to political opponents strikes me of a man in denial and a failure to accept that one has wronged. So to suggest that this move was made as a result of showing contriteness does not sit well.

An accountable government would provide a stronger and more bullet proof response. An accountable government would not even make decisions that fly in the face of reason and sensibility in the first place. I dream of a Nigeria where our politicians feel accountable to us, the electorate, and seek forgiveness when they fall short like all humans are bound to do. For instance, there have been allegations that President Jonathan, when serving as Governor of Bayelsa diverted $1million (One hundred and fifty million naira) from Bayelsa’s Poverty Alleviation funds to sponsor Thisday’s Music Festival where Beyonce and Jay Z performed. As far as I know, there has been nothing from Aso Rock denying this.

For the country to progress, we need the people at the highest level (The Presidency) to see themselves as accountable to us. Instead of sending subliminal messages against critics, there needs to be a desire to ensuring that the average Nigerian is as well informed as possible. It is from us, executive powers are derived. This creates a chain reaction whereby those at lower levels practice what they see those at the top doing. If the Presidency is accountable to us, the state Governors would feel pressured to. And if they are, their Commissioners would do the same. The general public will equally follow suit. A society of accountability is not too much to ask for.

Photo Credit: ballerwives.com
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Oluwamayowa Idowu is an essayist. The rest of his work can be found at http://mayowaidowu.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MayowaIdowu

16 Comments

  1. Peppy

    March 19, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Thanks, this is awesome

  2. Omototun

    March 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I am pained by the subject matter!! We cannot leave this to the hands of fate either!!…but wait before we get too pissed off…I knew it was only a matter of time before thieves got pardoned!! Our most recent government have been letting criminals go! Militants and then Boko Haram!! In Nigeria it seems only the small small chicken criminals get punished…Here’s the formular: don’t kill one person….blow up thousands of innocent souls; Don’t steal BB phone or even a million naira or two….steal billions…then and only then would you go scot-free!! Our government cannot stand up to such people.
    Chai!! what is wrong with us?? Can we continue like this?? really….can we??

  3. shaun

    March 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

    will there ever be accountability in Nigeria? not if we still have this crop of leaders

  4. Gigi

    March 19, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Alams’ flyers r already circulating the place for a senate seat in 2015. If he gets elected, I will kno that Nigerians are soulless ppl w/o any fight in them…

    This 2015, we must use our collective voice to say a RESOUNDING NO to GEJ and his allies!!!! If he wins (which would have to be by rigging), we must demand justice and a recount in order to preserve the essence of democracy! God, we will not gree this 2015!

    • Ms lala

      March 19, 2013 at 10:49 am

      demand ke…if GEJ win the election am calling for his head…all loose ends must be tied up..sheybi abacha died in office..let him try and win…BELLANAIJA IF YOU LIKE NO POST MY COMMENT..YEYEDEYSMELL..THIS MAN IS A BIG DISGRACE THE WORST PRESIDENT NIGERIA EVER HAD. in my mind baba ibb was bad oo this ode came into office and am now convinced he’s the devil’s advocate.

    • lorenz

      March 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Who said Alams wont win if he runs for senate? Nigerians use only one yardstick to judge who’s corrupt and who’s not; its called contrast. Alams, Goodluck, Sylva, Dickson(in-view); who do u think performed best as governor of Bayelsa? You forget its not all Nigerians that will vote him into the senate; its Bayelsans, and right now they are overjoyed at the pardon.

  5. Chyke

    March 19, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Wh0 knows if Badluck Jonathan charmed Alamiesieya (wateva way dey spell dat name) to rob d state n be caught so he could take over d seat back then? Who knows if dey both planned d robbing n den Alameisiya being d unlucky one got caught n paid d price alone? These politicians are as bad as evil. They are all guilty as sin. Badluck sure knows what he is doing. He n Alemeisiya (hard to spell) must have had a plan back then. BTW! I didn’t see d g.a.y m0lestor he pardoned in dis ryt up abi I no read well? Phewwwww! As tym flies, more stories will be unfolded. Mark my words!

  6. Wee

    March 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Thank You Oluwamayowa.

  7. Dedayo

    March 19, 2013 at 11:05 am

    very well Said…
    Painful to phantom…as rich as our nation is.
    Its going to take major amount of divine intervention n a great deal of courage to turn us around…

    waiting for accountability in Nigerian government is like waiting for rain in the drought, “hopeless and disappointing”

    SAD!!! Maybe one day shaa

    • Dear Nigeria

      March 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Please we cannot give up! I know that is seemingly impossible, but it is times like this when God will raise people up to fight for Nigeria! Keep fighting the good fight and we will see it come to pass!

      dearnigeria.tumblr.com/

  8. Moche

    March 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

    @Gigi … if Alams runs for Senate in 2015 he will win, the people in his senatorial district love him & don’t believe anything the international media have written about his escape from UK
    @BN : awesome write up but as a youth, I’m beginning to loose hope in this country that just says everyman for himself … DSP ALams story na long tin … if he becomes Senator just know he will be there permanently till he dies

  9. Abibi

    March 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Very well said. Its time we put a stop to our government treating us like we have no brains to reason. Nigerians, we can do it again. We’ve occupied Nigeria once, we can do it again. The power of the social media cannot be overemphasised. In our own little ways, lets start with our immediate environment and open everyone’s eyes (for those who can’t see yet) to the realities around us. NO to GEJ 2015, NO to PDP 2015, NO to recycled leaders. Enough is Enough!

  10. Deedee

    March 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Its unfortunate,naija na wa…

  11. lol

    March 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I thought this article was about acting right when u r scorned, then u switched to accountability. Pls one focus at a time

    • fan

      March 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Please leave Oluwamayowa alone, you nigerians can never be satisfied. Focus on the issue at hand and encourage our writers. We need more like him. He is a writer he has freedom to develop his own style

  12. Naija talk

    March 20, 2013 at 12:35 am

    WHAT DO WE DO? WHAT CAN WE DO? LET’S BEGIN!!!! NO MORE TALK AND NO ACTION.

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