A former secretary of the Ekiti State chapter of the governing Peoples Democratic Party, Tope Aluko, on Sunday revealed how former President Goodluck Jonathan gave the then candidate of the party, Ayo Fayose, large sums of money and military support to help rig the governorship election held in the state in 2014.
Mr. Fayose however reacted swiftly, describing the claims by the former PDP secretary as simply a new distraction from the APC in Ekiti State.
The governor said Mr. Aluko deserved no response from sane minds.
Speaking on a political programme, Politics Today, on Channels Television, Mr. Aluko narrated how the state’s chapter of the party convinced Mr. Jonathan to part with huge sum of money and direct the military and other security agencies to cooperate with the PDP and ensure the party wins the election at all cost.
“Before the primaries, we had this belief that because Jonathan was coming out for second term and because we are going to be the first election in the south-west, at a meeting, we told him (former President Goodluck Jonathan) that north-east, north-west and north-central may not be too sure for him because the Hausas are clamouring for presidency and that you now have south-east and South-south, you must manage the South-west”.
“It was on the basis of that that we told him that he must manage South-west.
“Because of his interest, even before winning the primaries, we did so many security reports to tell Mr President then that he must make sure that we manage South-west zone and it was because of that that he gave us the head of security agencies,” Mr Aluko said.
The PDP chieftain was also quoted as telling reporters in Abuja that Mr. Jonathan actually gave Mr. Fayose $37 million (N4.7 bn) which was used to rig the election.
The then incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi, conceded defeat after the Independent National Electoral Commission, declared Mr. Fayose winner of the election.
Before the election, security operatives from the State Security Service, acting as a “Strike Team” arrested some chieftains of the APC, including then spokesperson of the party, Lai Mohammed and others.
Troops of the Nigerian Army also blocked all roads leading into the state, and the planes of some APC governors, including those of Rivers and Edo States, were denied landing rights.
Mr. Aluko on Sunday said the then Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and that of Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, were made to give attention to the election because “we know that APC was everywhere in the southwest and we must naturally capture part of southwest if we want to balance what our brothers in the north were likely to bring on”.
He also revealed that there was an agreement to take out some members of the APC to ensure that they do not give adequate support to their members.
“There was a strike team, a mixture of the SSS, military, the mobile police… that is about all.
“We had a meeting at Aso Rock on security and funds. We were given security and funds.
He listed the persons at the meeting to include Mr. Jonathan; the then national chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, Governor Fayose; and himself (Aluko).
“At the meeting President Jonathan agreed that if he needed Ekiti, he would support us to ensure that we delivered.
“At the second meeting we had Obanikoro, Jelili, Omisore… It was a combination of Osun and Ekiti people and they were discussing how we were going to move to take the South-west.
“Before the primaries, His Excellency, Ayodele Fayose, said that we can only win using the military,” he said.
Rigging claims confirmed
After the election in 2014, an Army Captain, Sagir Koli, revealed how some top officials of the federal government and the PDP used the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to rig the governorship election in Ekiti and Osun States.
In a statement he released, titled, “How Nigerian Army personnel were used to rig Ekiti and Osun States Gubernatorial Elections 2014”, Mr. Koli gave details of all that transpired between himself, his commanding officer, two ministers and some politicians prior to the elections in Ekiti state.
Mr. Koli, who came back from his self-imposed exile and was reinstated to the Army recently, stated in his statement released early last year that he was officially deployed as the 32 Artillery Brigade Intelligence Officer to provide credible Intelligence for the success of the Ekiti State governorship election.
“At about 2030 hours on June 2014, a day to the election proper, the commander, Brigadier General AA Momoh told me to escort him to a place where the State Minister for Defence wanted to see him.
“Reaching the place (Spotless Hotel in Ado- Ekiti), which serves as coordinating campaign office for the PDP candidate Mr. Ayodele Fayose, we met the Minister himself, Minister of Police Affairs, Mr Fayose, Mr. Iyiola Omisore, one Honoruable Abdulkareem and host of other top PDP chieftains,” he said.
The Army Captain revealed that the “presidential team” told the brigade commander at their meeting that day that they were on “presidential assignment” and they could not afford to fail.
They also told him that they were there to “remove any obstacles” that would block their victory and that the commander was key in achieving that objective.
“Therefore, he has no option but to collaborate with them. They said, if the commander play(ed) with them, his promotion is in their hands and the president and the chief of army Staff would be very angry with him and he knows what that means,” Captain Koli said
He also said having convinced the Brigade Commander, the team, directed that soldiers on election duty must work hand in hand with the PDP agents and give them all necessary support they needed without limitation.
“They ordered the arrest of selected APC stalwarts that could greatly assist the party during the election including the DG campaign organisation for Dr Fayemi Mr. Bimbo Daramola.
“They directed that soldiers must block APC members’ access to the electorates but all PDP supporters’ movement anywhere using a designated sticker with inscription, “National Security Task” it should be noted that some of these PDP agents were given NYSC uniforms because we were well briefed by the commander,” the Captain said.
Mr. Aluko, who was reported to be the Chief Returning Officer for the PDP in that controversial election, was quoted as saying he was forced to come forward with the revelations because Mr. Fayose betrayed him and derailed from the original plan they had for the development of Ekiti state.
Mr. Aluko told reporters that Mr. Jonathan initially gave Mr. Fayose a first tranche of $2 million in March 2014 for the primary election.
He said cash was collected at the NNPC headquarters in Abuja and was taken to Mr. Fayose’s private home in Abuja before it was moved to Ekiti.
“Immediately after the primary election, we collected another $35 million from Jonathan on June 17, 2014. The money was brought to us by the former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
“We all assembled at the front office of Spotless Hotel, Ado Ekiti, owned by Fayose. Thereafter, the cash was taken to a Bureau De Change in Onitsha where it was converted to N4.7 billion”, Aluko added.
Aluko not worthy of response from sane minds – Fayose’s aide
The Special Assistant to the Ekiti State Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, reacting to Mr. Aluko’s revelations on Sunday described the former PDP scribe as simply a new distraction from the APC in Ekiti State, saying he did not deserve response from sane minds.
Mr. Olayinka said Mr. Aluko was already “beclouded” by his desperation to seek
revenge against Mr. Fayose because of the governor’s refusal to make him his Chief of Staff.
He accused Mr. Aluko of lying.
The governor’s aide, who said it was shameful that the APC was refusing to accept a “scandalous electoral defeat they suffered 19 months ago” asked whether it was also soldiers that rigged the 2015 presidential, senatorial, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly elections that the party lost woefully in Ekiti.
“For Aluko to be taken seriously, he must first have to report himself to the police to be tried for perjury and committed to prison for three years since what he is now saying is different from what he said under oath at the Election Tribunal, being the only witness called by the PDP and Governor Fayose.
“If after giving evidence under oath at the tribunal that the Election was free, fair and credible and that security agents, including soldiers performed their duties creditably well, saying something else more than one year after is an admittance by Aluko himself that he is not a stable character.
“It is also a demonstration of the fact that giving the right offer tomorrow, the same Aluko can also address the press tomorrow to deny all what he said today. He can even deny his own existence since he can deny what he said under oath just because he was not made Chief of Staff.
“Therefore, we won’t bother ourselves, responding to what a political parasite chooses to say because he wouldn’t have said what he is now saying today if he had been made Chief of Staff to Governor Fayose and it is sure that if he is called today, and given the right offer, he will begin to sing another song,” Mr. Olayinka said.