Yenagoa—A civic group has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy Governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Great Joshua Maciver is ineligible to run for the November 11 election in the state, alleging that he had a record of conviction and jailbreak.
According to SaharaReporters, the group, Coalition for Social Justice and Equity Initiative, which released documents on Tuesday, added that it had begun a process to approach the court over the alleged ineligibility of the APC deputy governorship candidate.
The Coalition claims that Maciver was convicted by a law court, and was sent to Kaduna State to serve his 10 years sentence but did not complete his sentence and escaped from prison by pretending to be sick and needing treatment.
The group, through its Public Relations Officer, Ezra Areo, also claimed that despite being declared wanted by the Ministry of Interior and the decision of the administration of Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to offer a Presidential pardon to militants during the militancy days in the Niger Delta, Maciver was said to have refused to embrace the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), fearing that the Amnesty programme was a clandestine ploy by the federal government to round him and others up.
Areo stated that “Maciver has over the years publicly claimed to have accepted the Amnesty programme, however, he never presented himself for proper documentation like the 30,000 Amnesty beneficiaries to the Presidential Amnesty team.
“Maciver was not alone in this reasoning as over 10,000 ex-agitators felt the same way.”
The group insisted that a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and APC governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, again allegedly did a great disservice to the party by presenting a deputy governorship candidate with prison history.
The group said, “By the provisions of section 31, 33 and 34 of the Electoral Act, the time for nomination of a new running mate has lapsed. It simply means that the candidature of Chief Timipre Sylva cannot stand alone with a qualified deputy.
“How can Timipre Sylva nominate a man with such questionable records to stand as his running mate? This is in a state which has many qualified and credible individuals.
“Is that how low Sylva thinks of the APC as a party; President Bola Tinubu who is the leader of the party, and the people of the state?”
“The group is asking the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to order the running mate’s immediate arrest for allegedly forging a Federal Government document.
“It is common knowledge that sometimes on the 25th of June 2009 the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Late Musa Yar’adua issued AMNESTY PROCLAMATION wherein he granted amnesty to Niger-Delta Militants.
“It is also important to state that Amnesty is usually and generally, addressed to classes or even communities wherein it allows the government of a Nation or State to “forget” criminal acts, usually before prosecution has occurred. Amnesty has traditionally been used as a political tool of compromise and reunion following a war, which offences are usually politically inclined.”
“In the case of Joshua Maciver, he was allegedly convicted by a competent court of jurisdiction sometime in 2006, and an alleged fugitive which conviction has no relation with militant activity, therefore the amnesty proclamation of 2009 which cannot operate to serve as a pardon for the conviction of the offences committed by Joshua Maciver, which is not in any way associated with militant activities in the Niger-Delta.
“At this juncture it is also imperative to understand the difference between amnesty and pardon. While AMNESTY is targeted towards a group of people for forgetfulness of offences of political nature, PARDON seeks to set aside the punishment of an individual, for a criminal who has been TRIED AND CONVICTED. By the AMNESTY PROCLAMATION made on the 29th of June, 2009, same does not in any way seek to pardon or forget the conviction and sentencing of any individual howsoever called.”
A legal practitioner, Benjamin S. Ogbara had in a letter to the Presidential Amnesty office requested for the full details of the renunciation form and document of Joshua Maciver, claiming that the APC Deputy Governorship candidate owned the Joshua Maciver Militant camp with over 237 militant youths.
Ogbara also claimed that Joshua Maciver had never deviated from the Presidential Amnesty since 2009 and that a suit filed against his non-embracement of Presidential Amnesty before the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa by one Hon. Isikima Ogbomade Johnson, in suit numbered FHC/YNG/114/2023 is ongoing.
But Areo, in the statement, claimed that chieftains of the APC in Bayelsa have been on desperate attempts to allegedly force the Presidential Amnesty Office under Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd.) to insert his name in the Amnesty data base but the efforts failed.
Investigations have also revealed that the Amnesty Office disowned Joshua Maciver as not being a “beneficiary of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua pardon in 2009.”
It was gathered that the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) had through a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, (General Services), Nnamdi Maurice Mbaeri PhD on the 7th of July, 2023 and with reference number SGF 19/S.105/178, requested for confirmation of Joshua Maciver as one of the beneficiaries of the Presidential pardon offered by late President Musa Yar’Adua.
But the Presidential Amnesty Office in a letter dated same 7th of July, 2023 and with reference number OIA/PAP/IAO/Vol.V/417 with Ndiomu’s signature replied the SGF that there is no record in the PAP data indicating that Maciver is a beneficiary of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
According to the letter, “Joshua Maciver’s name does not appear in the data bank either as ex-agitator or delegate registered in the PAP.
Maciva is yet to respond to the allegations while filing this report.