Contrary to President Goodluck Jonathan’s dismissal of the Ekiti rigging audio recording as a fabrication that is not worth his attention, the spokesperson for his campaign, Femi Fani-Kayode has admitted that the tape is genuine but that the characters involved in the meeting captured in the recording were not discussing how to rig the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti state.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Mr. Fani-Kayode said his team had listened to and reviewed the recording and that it came to the conclusion that the opposition All Progressives Congress turned fact on its head by claiming that Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state; former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro; and the Minister of Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, who featured in the recording, planned how to rig the election.
“We have listened to the audio clip and we make bold to say that the discussion that took place in it did not make any mention of any form of rigging in the Ekiti state governorship election and neither did it contain any evidence of any conspiracy to rig,” he said.
Mr. Fani-Kayode also said rather than attempting to orchestrate rigging, what the audio clip clearly revealed was Governor Fayose expressing concerns that a military commander was not acting on information about illegal movement of weapons into certain parts of the state.
“The Governor and others were apparently worried that safety of the voters and INEC officials could be compromised if security measures were not strictly enforced,” he said.
Mr Fani-Kayode’s admission of the authenticity of the tape is another chapter in the series of contradictory responses from the ruling party and those at the centre of the vote rigging plot.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, last Friday, Mr. Jonathan said he would not investigate the authenticity of the audio recording because it was a “fabrication.”
“It’s all fabrications. Why should I investigate things that are not real?” he asked.
Using forensic analysis that compared the voices in the recording with public record samples of the individuals in the recording, Guardian Consulting, The New York-based security firm, that helped authenticate the recordings, confirmed that the tape was genuine.
“The voices from the recording were subjected to a Forensic Voice Frequency Comparison against known samples and were found to match to a 98 per cent degree of certainty,” the firm said.
Mr Jonathan’s dismissal of the tape as a fabrication came after Mr Obanikoro denied taking part in the meeting and threatened to sue PREMIUM TIMES and Sahara Reporters for their vigorous reporting on the matter.
Mr. Adesiyan confessed that the recording was genuine but that it was more of an altercation between Mr. Fayose and Mr. Momoh after the former accused the latter of favouring the then governor of the state, Kayode Fayemi.
“Fayose accused the General who supervised the Ekiti election of taking bribe from Fayemi and APC, that was two days before the election. They called me because they said the General disarmed policemen and I told him to allow the policemen to do their job,” he told the Sunday Punch newspaper.
After initially claiming his voice was manipulated using speech software such as Natural Voices, Mr. Fayose later admitted during a political event in Ekiti that it was his voice that was captured in the tape but claimed he was rebuking Mr. Momoh for favouring the APC.
“If you listen to the tape about military rigging in Ekiti. Listen to the tape you will see that I was the one accusing the army of compromise. Listen, take time to listen. But they would come back with propaganda and saying it all as if the whole world of propaganda belongs to them,” he said.
While challenging the APC to do a critical content analysis of the discussions in the audio clip, Mr. Fani-Kayode said it was the APC that rigged the governorship election in Osun state.
“During the course of those elections, some of their agents gathered in secret locations where they thumb-printed ballot papers in favor of their governorship candidate, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola,” he said.
Mr. Fani Kayode also played a video tape he claimed proved the APC rigged the election in Osun state.
“It is ironic that instead of purging itself of its own insatiable appetite for rigging and cheating, the APC, through its Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, chose to call a press conference in which he alleged that our leaders were ordering soldiers to rig in Ekiti state.
“This is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black,” he said.
APC, Buhari calling for violence
At his press conference, Mr. Fani-Kayode also accused the APC and its presidential candidate of veiled attempts to instigate violence in the country, while also undermining the nation’s armed forces.
“It is now very clear to us that the APC is determined to cause security breaches in the next few weeks. This has been confirmed by their vigorous campaign of calumny against the military and their consistent demand that soldiers must not be deployed for security surveillance at the polling booths in the forthcoming elections,” he said.
Mr. Fani-Kayode also alleged what he termed subtle threat of violence by Mr. Buhari at an APC leadership meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
“General Buhari said that the patience of the APC and its leaders were on test. One wonders what he means by that and what he and his supporters intend to do once that patience runs out.
“In an AFP news report of Friday, February 6, 2015, he was asked if he would accept the outcome of the presidential election no matter how unfavourable. Listen to his answer: “I am not going to lose; so I won’t answer that question.”
“Again, only yesterday, Wednesday, February 18, 2015, in an interview on ARISE Television, General Buhari was asked what his reaction would be if he loses the election. His answer was: “We shall see.”
“As far as we are concerned, these are ominous and subtle threats to unleash violence on the Nigerian people and all those that he perceives are his enemies in the event of his losing the election,” he said.
Mr. Fani-Kayode said Mr. Buhari has succeeded in inflaming the destructive passion of his supporters in the northern part of the country on many occasions in the past.
“We recall his unacceptable remarks on May 15, 2012 when he said “if what happened in 2011 should happen again in 2015, the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood”.
“We witnessed the orgy of violence that they unleashed shortly after the announcement of the results of the 2011 presidential election, which the Sheik Lemu Committee, in its report to the Federal Government, said was caused by Buhari’s inflammatory statements.
“We recall with sadness the massacre of some of our vibrant youth corps members who participated in the 2011 election as INEC’s ad-hoc staff in Bauchi State.
“We are concerned that the same thing may happen again given General Buhari’s divisive and inciting comments coupled with the APC’s violent disposition,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said.
He said the attempt by the APC to discredit the use of soldiers by promoting some “misleading audio footage of the so-called rigging during the Ekiti governorship election, in which one Captain Sagir Koli was the dramatis personae, is childish and absurd”.
He said the Nigerian Government deployed soldiers in the Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections and all those elections were devoid of violence.
“Remarkably, the APC won in Edo and Osun; APGA won in Anambra, Labour Party won in Ondo while PDP won only in Ekiti State,” he said.
He added that the basis on which the APC is agitating for the exclusion of soldiers from the election by sponsoring court cases is patently dubious and untenable.
“The reason that the APC and its leaders do not want soldiers deployed is to be able to intimidate voters and unleash violence on the polity once they lose the elections.
“They know that it would be far more difficult for them to do that when soldiers are on the streets.
“With these dishonourable tactics and desperate acts by the APC, we are the ones who should be worried and who should be complaining but, unlike Buhari and the APC, our patience is not running out because we are committed to a peaceful election and we completely reject the option of violence,” he said.