Jonathan Names Pardoned Ex-Boss to Nigerian National Conference

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was pardoned by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan after being charged with laundering 1.8 million pounds ($3 million) in the U.K., has been appointed to a national conference to propose changes to the constitution.

He will be one of 492 people attending the National Conference that starts on March 17 and will last for at least three months in Abuja, the capital. Jonathan convened the meeting to propose changes to the constitution and submit them to parliament.

This will be the most visible public role the former governor of oil-producing Bayelsa State will play since Jonathan, who was Alamieyeseigha’s deputy from 1999 to 2005, granted his former boss a pardon on March 12 last year that allowed him to return to political life.

Alamieyeseigha skipped bail in London in November 2005 and returned to Nigeria where he served a two-year jail term, after pleading guilty to corruption charges.

The main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, has rejected the National Conference, saying that Jonathan called it to deflect criticism of his government’s handling of an Islamist militant insurgency in the northeast and allegations of corruption.

Africa’s most populous nation is due to hold a general election on Feb. 14. Jonathan, 56, hasn’t said if he will run in the vote.

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