A former presidential aide, Doyin Okupe, has told a court how former President Goodluck Jonathan paid the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, N400 million for the party’s publicity effort.
Mr. Okupe appeared before a federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, as a defence witness in the trial of Mr. Metuh, who is accused of receiving funds meant for the purchase of weapons for the fight against Boko Haram.
Mr. Okupe, a former senior special assistant on public affairs to Mr. Jonathan, said that as the leader of the party, Mr. Jonathan issued money for the party’s activities, and could also ask a subordinate to handle such assignment.
Mr. Okupe said that sometime in November 2014, the leadership of the PDP was concerned about the negative perception of people towards the party, and was of the opinion that something should be done.
He said Mr. Jonathan had told him that Mr. Metuh and some consultants had some suggestions regarding the way forward for the party.
He said a meeting was called to discuss the matter, and that then Senate President, David Mark, chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, and a former Anambra governor, Peter Obi, attended.
Mr. Okupe said Mr. Metuh and his team of media consultants made a presentation at that meeting, on what they could do.
He said that some suggestions were made by the party, as to what would be added to the project as presented by Mr. Metuh.
Mr. Okupe further said the former president instructed that Mr. Metuh be paid N400 million for the project.
“Very early in the morning, I got a call from Chief Metuh who told me that he had received N400 million from the president,” Mr. Okupe said.
He said that Mr. Jonathan had great capacity at the time, to raise funds from people.
“As a candidate to election, the president had immense capacity to response. And this was demonstrated by the amount of money the president was able to raise, during the fund raising activity in the villa,” Mr. Okupe said.
“There are people who may not necessarily show their support in public; who privately give their support to the president.”
“Substantial funds became available to the president, which he also made available for projects that he felt would enhance his cause,” Mr. Okupe said.
Asked to comment on the bank statement which showed that Mr. Metuh’s company, Destra Investment Ltd., received N400 million at about the same time from the office of the National Security Adviser, for security services, as indicated by the electronic payment schedule of the bank, Mr. Okupe said:
“I don’t know any thing about this. It looks strange to me. The president could have paid for the campaign activities himself”.
Responding to questions regarding the stated source of the money, Mr. Okupe said he was not aware of any particular source of the money, except that Mr. Metuh was paid by Mr. Jonathan and that he (Mr. Metuh) also laboured hard to source for funds for the campaign of the party.
The case was adjourned till Thursday.
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