Former Minister of Aviation and the head of the Media and Publicity Directorate of President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has said he did not receive funds from the former president and the embattled National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Fani-Kayode said contrary to insinuations contained in a report, the campaign directorate which he headed was never in receipt of any public fund rather got most of its funding support from private individuals and companies during the 2015 electioneering.
In a statement issued by the former minister yesterday in Abuja, he said private individuals and companies paid their contributions into a designated account which was provided and controlled by the then Directorate of Finance.
“I have never received one kobo from President Jonathan, Dasuki or any other member of Jonathan’s government. I have never been in receipt of any public funds and neither was I the beneficiary of any payments in cash, transfer, cheque or otherwise from any government official during the tenure of President Jonathan,” he said.
While distancing himself and the directorate from any wrong-doing as was being alleged by an online news medium, Fani-Kayode described the report that he was given N1.7 billion by President Jonathan as false.
“I read with amusement the allegation that was made by Sahara reporters, the unofficial media wing of the Buhari administration, the SSS and the EFCC, that I was given N1.7 billion cash by President Jonathan. This is false. A few hours later, they changed their story and said that I received N1.7 billion from the office of the former NSA, Dasuki. This is also false.
“As the Director of Media and Publicity of the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation, I received money on behalf of the Directorate of Media and Publicity which I headed from private individuals and companies during the election campaigns but these were not public funds but private contributions specifically for the presidential and other campaigns,” he said.
Explaining the way monies were received and transmitted during the campaign, Fani-Kayode said monies were transferred into his account set up for the purpose of running the publicity and media aspect of the campaign for the whole country by the Director of Finance of the Presidential Campaign Organisation.
He said the money that was paid to the directorate was used in a lawful and responsible manner, and that by the time the campaigns were over, it had paid all of its bills for services rendered and did not owe any media house or anyone else.
According to him, “Most importantly, my directorate, and as far as I am aware, the Jonathan/Sambo presidential campaign organisation did not receive any public funds from any government official or office to run our campaign. Of this, I am absolutely sure and I am very confident because I made a point of asking and insisting that this must be so. These are the facts and I eagerly await my accusers, persecutors and detractors.
“Not a kobo of public funds was spent by or given to my directorate during the campaign, and as far as I am aware, no public fund was spent by or given to the organisation. Presidential campaigns all over the world cost huge amount of money, and Nigeria is no different.
“These private individuals and companies paid their contributions into a designated account which was provided and controlled by the director of finance and from there, she transferred it to the accounts of the various directors and various individuals who were running for public office that the PCO supported.
“I opened an account specifically for the funds that were used to run my directorate and fund all our activities in order to ensure accountability and transparency. We also audited our accounts regularly and insisted on the highest level of professionalism from all those who worked for or with us.
“Since when did such matters become a crime or subjects of criminal investigations? If it was a crime to speak up for Jonathan during the campaign they should just say so.
“If it is a crime to be a member of the PDP and to be in opposition, they should just say so. If it is a crime to speak up for and defend President Jonathan and key members of his government after he has left office, they should just say so.
If it is a crime to oppose the Buhari administration and speak up against his gross violations of human rights that they are indulging in and the violation of court orders they should just say so.”
Fani-Kayode said he was aware of the attempt by the government and his enemies to discredit him, adding that the sole aim is to “smear my name and silence me by alleging all manner of wrongdoing.
“ I am not in the least bit perturbed. As always, my innocence will fight for me and my God will never forsake me. I know that this government is capable of doing anything; of inducing anyone to say anything and that they have no sense of decency, justice or fair play.
“They are prepared to charge anyone just for breathing the air if needs be and they can attempt to frame up anyone who they believe is a thorn in their flesh.
“I have always known this yet I refuse to run away or to be silenced and I will not be cowered.
“Though I have been warned and told over and over again by those among them who care for my well being that I have been listed and targeted for persecution, I am not in the least bit concerned about their evil plans for me. My life and destiny is in the hands of God and not theirs and He will fight for me.”