The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the voluntary return of ex-minister Musiliu Obanikoro to Nigeria as “dramatic and compromised,” following the latter’s alleged confessions to the anti-graft agency, EFCC.
Mr. Fayose said he will not be distracted by Mr. Obanikoro’s reported confessions that he transferred N2.3billion to the Ekiti leader from the Office of the National Security Adviser to fund his 2014 governorship election.
The governor, in a statement on Wednesday signed by his Special Adviser on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the report was a plot by the Federal Government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to implicate him “at all cost.”
Mr. Obanikoro, who turned himself in to the EFCC on Monday, has been in EFCC custody since then facing interrogation on allegations of corruption and receipt of funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser without contract awards.
The former minister of state for defense arrived Nigeria on Monday after leaving the country in 2015 amid the corruption allegations. He was alleged to have facilitated the disbursement of the funds to Mr. Fayose in the build up to the 2014 election in Ekiti through Biodun Agbele, an associate of the governor.
A report by Punch Newspaper on Wednesday said Mr. Obanikoro had owned up to the EFCC on the transfers.
A source close to the former minister also confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Obanikoro was “cooperating” with the anti-graft commission and had written at least two statements to that effect.
But Mr. Fayose dismissed the report, saying it was the commission’s usual media trial.
“This project ‘Fayose must be implicated at all cost’ will definitely not put food on the tables of Nigerians and for all I care, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its collaborators can keep running from pillar to post while I keep delivering good governance to Ekiti and its people,” he said.
“We have gone past this stage of media trial, EFCC should rather keep its gun powder dry, when we get to the bridge, we will cross it. They said more than this in the 2006 poultry scam blackmail, despite that, I am the governor today.”
While noting that his reaction to the report was only “to fulfill all righteousness,” the governor said “those who arranged the dramatic and compromised return of Senator Obanikoro to Nigeria obviously did so in continuation of their project ‘Fayose must be implicated at all cost.”
He however said he was not bothered because his election was legitimately funded.
“As far as I am concerned, I am busy here in Ekiti attending to the welfare and well-being of my people. I won’t be distracted,” the governor said.
He said the EFCC should also beam its searchlights on the funding of APC elections.
“Since we are now in the era in which financial assistance from Nigerians to fund elections is being criminalised, the international community, especially those funding EFCC must insist that the commission probes the funding of APC elections before further funds are released to the commission,” he said.