It is confession galore as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) intensifies investigation into the $2.1billion arms deals under the Jonathan Administration.
Accord Party (AP) admitted yesterday that its chieftain and former Governor of Oyo State,Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja, got N100million from the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, ahead of last year’s general election.
The confession came on the heels of those of Afenifere frontliner, Chief Olu Falae, and Second Republic Presidential Adviser,Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, who also said that they received N100million and N53million respectively from Chief Anenih,in connection with the elections.
Accord Party,in a one-page letter by its National Secretary, Hon. Nureni Adisa, to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, said the N100m was to assist the party prepare for the election.
In the letter entitled: “Release of N100million by Chief Tony Anenih” and dated 8th January, 2016, Adisa said: “Our attention has been drawn to a newspaper report that the sum of N100million was released to the Accord leader, Senator Rashidi Ladoja by Chief Tony Anenih, the (former) Chairman BoT of the PDP.
“We confirm that the sum of N100million was given to the party through our leader after series of meetings between the leadership of Accord and Chief Tony Anenih in preparation for the 2015 general elections.
“The following issues were discussed at the meetings:
The need to support the Presidential candidate of the PDP since Accord had no Presidential candidate.
The need to ensure that peace was maintained to enhance peaceful movement during periods of campaign, elections and after the elections.
The need for the PDP to support Accord campaign effort.
“Accordingly, the PDP (former) BoT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih released the sum of N100million for these purposes through our leader, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja.
“The money released was accordingly used for the purposes as stated above.”
Chief Falae, Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the Babangida Administration, had earlier admitted that the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of which is National Chairman also got N100m from Chief Anenih for the purpose of campaigning for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in the build-up to the election.
His words: “In the build up to the presidential election, the PDP approached the SDP which I chaired.The then ruling party solicited for our support in order for President Goodluck Jonathan to win the March 28 presidential election.
“Anenih related with me as the chairman of the PDP BoT and I did same as the SDP National Chairman. He wrote to me as PDP BoT chairman and I wrote back as SDP National Chairman stating conditions/terms for the alliance. I have the records.
It is true that N100million was given to my party to endorse and work for the Jonathan’s candidature in the 2015 election. We used the money for that purpose and we effectively campaigned for the PDP since we did not have presidential candidate in the election.The money was not for me.”
Falae claimed he had no reason to suspect that they money was from the arms deal.
“No reference was made to the arms deal. So they should not bring me into the arms issue. The relationship was purely interparty affairs,” Falae said.
For his part, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai said that the N53million he collected from Anenih was shared by him and seven other prominent northerners for advocacy visit to northern traditional rulers to mobilise their subjects for last election.
He named the other beneficiaries as one-time Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mamman Anka, Barrister Bitrus Gwada, Alhaji Suleiman Lawal, Dr Bahago, Chief John Macklink from Plateau and Senator Sodangi.
Yakassai said Anenih had requested him to name nine “apolitical but respected individuals from the north” who could help in mobilising the electorate for the election.
He said the money covered the allowances, transportation and hotel accommodation for the nine during the tour which he claimed took them to 18 states in the north.
Places visited, according to him, included Sokoto, Kano, Zaria, Gwandu, Anka, Ilorin, Minna, Zuru, Birnin Kebbi, Dutse, Hadejia and Daura.
The EFCC had traced about N260 million from the Office of National Security Adviser(ONSA) to the account of Anenih who explained in a letter to the anti graft agency that the money was a part refund of the money which former President Goodluck Jonathan instructed him to release to some political groups for mobilisation and post-election peace advocacy.
The former PDP BoT Chairman, who explained that he was not a direct beneficiary of the money, said in his letter to the EFCC that N100 million was given to the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, N100 million to the leader of ACCORD, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and N63 million to a group headed by elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai.
He said the N260 million could not defray the total money, estimated at over N440 million that he eventually doled out from his pocket to other groups and individuals on the instructions of the former President.
Both Yakassai and Falae had already confirmed that they received N63 million and N100 million respectively from Anenih for the purposes specified.