The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his willingness to grant posthumous presidential pardon to late Professor Ambrose Alli.
Alli was a former Governor of Bendel State (now Edo and Delta States).
When he left office in 1983, he retired to his family house.
However, after the military government of the then Major-General Muhammadu Buhari took power, he was arrested and sentenced to 100 years in prison by a military tribunal for allegedly misappropriating N983,000 in funds for a road project.
He was later freed when the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, allegedly paid a fine to the government.
Shortly after being released from prison, Alli died on his 60th birthday on 22 September 1989, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Lagos.
Speaking at a memorial service held in honour of the former governor at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, Emaudo, Ekpoma, on Sunday, Obaseki said he was optimistic that at the next meeting of the Council on Prerogative of Mercy, the president would officially grant him pardon posthumously.
“I had an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari while in China and discussed the issue of a (posthumous) presidential pardon for late Prof. Alli.
“The president asked me to meet with the Attorney-General of the Federation. This I have done and I have also written to him.
“The president has subsequently instructed the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to begin the process,” he said.
The Governor also gave the assurance that he was working with his Delta counterpart to ensure that pension due to late Alli was paid to his widow and the family.
The governor lauded the former governor’s development strides in defunct Bendel, noting that the feats were intimidating and accomplished in just one term.
On his part, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta said the state would continue to remember Alli for developing it, adding that the people had a lot to thank him for.
“We are grateful, as his developmental strides can still be seen years after his death,” he said.
Eldest son to the former governor, Andrew Alli, the Ezomo of Ekpoma, regretted that his father was still termed a criminal despite his contributions to the development of Delta, Edo and Nigeria.