GOVERNOR Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, yesterday, accused the Presidency of wasting valuable time in a desperate plot to get him at all costs saying that the schemes would not in any way put food on the table of Nigerians.
Reacting to ‘revelations’ by the erstwhile Minister of state, defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro that he passed on funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser to support Fayose’s 2014 election, the governor charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to equally beam its searchlight on the campaign funds of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The development came as sources said that, the EFCC, may put Obanikoro to very stringent bail conditions. The return of Obanikoro to the country and the questioning by the EFCC Vanguard learnt yesterday, might also have reopened fresh issues within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP over the utilisation of the money. Stakeholders in the PDP were about the time of the election on edge over claims and counter-claims that the money was not appropriately shared and distributed as earmarked. Even more, there were claims yesterday that the bank charges were not paid by the receivers.
Obanikoro returned to Nigeria on Monday after many months away and proceeded straight to the offices of the EFCC. He was reported to have disclosed that he handed over the sum of $5.37 million to Fayose for the election.
Besides Governor Fayose, others who reacted to the development yesterday, included the Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, and erstwhile Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abubakar Tsav.
In his reaction, Governor Fayose in a statement issued by his special assistant on new media, Mr. Lere Olayinka described the latest development as a plot by the presidency and the APC to divert the attention of Nigerians from the nagging problems of poverty and the suffering in the land.
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on good governance, he said:
“This project ‘Fayose must be implicated at all cost’ will definitely not put food on the tables of Nigerians, and for all I care, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its collaborators can keep running from pillar to post while I keep delivering good governance to Ekiti and its people.”
Dismissing reports that Obanikoro confessed that he passed on money to him, he said: “We have gone pass this stage of media trial, EFCC should rather keep its gun powder dry when we get to the bridge, we will cross it. They said more than this in the 2006 poultry scam blackmail, despite that, I am the governor today.”
Noting that his reaction was to fulfil all righteousness and not leave anyone in doubt, he said: “those who arranged the dramatic and compromised return of Senator Obanikoro to Nigeria obviously did so in continuation of their project ‘Fayose must be implicated at all cost’, but I am not bothered because my election was legitimately funded.
“However, if this is why they are intimidating judges and the judiciary, it won’t work as far as my own matter is concerned as no one can play God.
“As far as I am concerned, I am busy here in Ekiti attending to the welfare and well-being of my people. I won’t be distracted.”
While challenging the EFCC to also beam its searchlights on the funding of APC elections, Governor Fayose said; “Since we are now in the era in which financial assistance from Nigerians to fund elections is being criminalised, the international community, especially those funding EFCC must insist that the commission probes the funding of APC elections before further funds are released to the commission.”
We knew Fayose lied on arms scam — APC
The APC in Ekiti Sate, however, dismissed the governor’s denial, saying “we knew before now that Fayose was involved in the diversion of the $2.3 billion arms deal.”
Speaking with Vanguard, the APC Director of Publicity, Taiwo Olatubosun said, “We, of course, knew that Fayose is a liar and a greedy individual that can do anything to enrich himself at the expense of the entire people of Ekiti State. We are not in any way surprised by the confession of Obanikoro that he actually conveyed such a huge amount of money to the governor.”
Olatunbosun said: “We want to say, as we have always been saying that the long arm of the law will catch up with him and he should stop making noise which in a way can cause distraction into the real issue of his selfishness, oppressive way of life and innate spirit to exploit not only the people of Ekiti State but the Nigerian people. No wonder when the issue of the newly released Chibok girls came up, he was making unnecessary ranting in order to delude the people as if the issue of the kidnapped girls was not real.
“We knew he would continue in his usual characteristics and deceitful manner to want to distract the attention of the public, but I want to say again, no matter how fast he runs, the long arm of the law would catch him, very soon,” Olatunbosun said.
Tsav on his part asked the Ekiti State House of Assembly to immediately commence impeachment proceedings against the governor.
‘’If Obanikoro said he gave Fayose money, he should be believed because both of them were accused by an army captain, Koli, who knew the things that happened. That was how Fayose said that Zenith Bank gave him money which was not true. The House of Assembly in Ekiti should commence impeachment proceedings against Fayose, who has shown that he is not fit to be there.”
Also a Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed said: ‘’It is very unfortunate that corruption has dealt with this country. It is a basic fact that has been established that money moved from the office of NSA through Obanikoro to Governor Ayodele Fayose. But Fayose has been very lousy trying to be a judge in his case; this is very unfortunate’’.
He went further, “I am not in doubt that both Obanikoro and Fayose are guilty of these charges. However, Fayose has been trying to cry more than the bereaved. My prayer is that politicians and judges will not destroy this country because of corruption.”
Efforts to get Senator Iyiola Omisore proved abortive as a text message sent to his media adviser, was unanswered.