Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum International Limited, Chief Arthur Eze, on Monday evening said the controversial pardon granted former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, was based on an advice given to President Goodluck Jonathan by God.
Eze, who was at the Presidential Villa to see Jonathan for undisclosed reasons barely 48hours after he donated N1.6bn to the President’s village church, told State House correspondents that the pardon granted Jonathan was what any man who fears God should do.
“What Jonathan did is what a man who fears God will do. If I have an opportunity as president of Nigeria, I will do the same. All of us are human beings. What he did was correct. We are not fighting war. Jonathan took advice from God. God has told him to show mercy. The Bible says blessed are those that are merciful for they shall see God,” the oil magnate said.
On reports that the government of the United States was considering cutting ties with Nigeria over the pardon, Eze said US did not have the constitutional right to dictate what happens in a sovereign nation like Nigeria.
On the public outrage that followed his donation to the President’s village church, he said those who were criticising him were confused.
“God gave me the money to contribute to the church. The money is not meant for Jonathan to put in his pocket. We are thinking of thanking God for what He has done for Otuoke. It was abandoned for many years. They had no water, no electricity until when God brought Jonathan to change that place. Let the people have a place to worship God. Those criticising me are confused people,” he said.
Eze donated the money at a fund-raiser in Lagos to fund the construction of the St. Stephen’s Anglican Deanery and Youth Development Centre, Otuoke, in Bayelsa State, the home town of the President.
The centre is expected to have a formal educational training facilities, hospitals and a skill acquisition centre where youths can learn trade skills and receive start-up capital, among other things.
Apart from Eze, who was the largest individual donor, other wealthy Nigerians who were present during the event and donated generously included Jim Ovia, Oba Otudeko and Tony Elumelu. In total, about N6bn was said to have been raised for the event.