Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has traced about N4.745billion of a diverted $2. 1 billion fund for arms to a former Minister of State (Defence), Musiliu Obanikoro and Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose who was two days ago described as “a mad dog” by the president’s wife Mrs Aisha Buhari.
According to the EFCC, Obanikoro flew N1.218 billion to Akure, a south western state on June 12, 2014 for Fayose, a few days before the governorship election in Ekiti State which Fayose won.
The anti-graft agency quoted some account numbers in which part of the alleged sum was paid into. N137 million was paid into Ayodele Fayose’s account 1003126654 with Zenith Bank, then another N50 million into the same account, and another N118, 760,000.
“Based on the transfers, Fayose moved N300million to a Fixed Deposit Account No 9013074033 with Zenith Bank at 15, Olusola Abiona Street, Olorunda Estate, Alapere Ketu. He has the same BVN-22338867502,” a document by the anti-graft agency states.
“After that, Abiodun deposited another N100million from the N1, 219, 490,000 into Spotless Hotel Account run by Fayose and Helen Olayemi Fayose with Account No. 1010170969.”
These were the accounts frozen by the EFCC which led to the comments by the governor and provoked Mrs Buhari’s outburst.
However, Mr Fayose has denied the allegation, saying he did not receiving any money from the arms procurement fund disbursed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). Sambo Dasuki who was the NSA during the past administration is undergoing trial over the issue.
“I have no financial transaction whatsoever with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro either by cash, cheque or electronic transfer,” Mr. Fayose said in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi.
But how did Mr Fayose fund his campaign? He said it was majorly funded by Zenith Bank Plc, donations from friends and political associates, sales of campaign souvenirs and other fund raising initiatives. The Nigerian lender has denied.
But Mr Fayose said: “EFCC is only acting a movie scripted, produced and directed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of President Muhammadu Buhari just to silence me being a major opposition voice in the country”.
President Buhari’s fight against corruption has been criticized as targeted against the opposition. A report by the UK Telegraph accused the Buhari-led federal government of using millions of pounds of British foreign aid given to Nigeria to help combat Boko Haram terrorists, to fund a witch-hunt against opposition politicians.
So far, no member of the opposition is under investigation for corruption, except the Senate President Bukola Saraki who offended bigwigs in his party for running for leadership of the parliament against their wish.
Governor Fayose insists the witch-hunt is real. But it will not stop him from speaking his mind on issues bordering on governance in Nigeria. “I will not be intimidated!” he says.
As things stand, Mr Fayose cannot be prosecuted until he leaves office as governor; he has immunity. But for his sake, he had better be innocent. Mr Buhari takes no prisoners.