- Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has testified in court, detailing how N1.219 billion in cash was airlifted to support the election of a former governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose
- Obanikoro appeared as a witness for the EFCC and stated that the money was sourced from the office of the former national security adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki
- Senator Obanikoro explained that the funds were airlifted due to the inability of a defunct bank, Diamond Bank, to handle such a large sum of cash
Legit.ng journalist Ridwan Adeola Yusuf has over 6-year-experience covering politics in Nigeria
FCT, Abuja - Former senator, Musiliu Obanikoro, on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, told Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the federal high court, Abuja, how the inability of a defunct commercial bank (Diamond Bank) to disburse huge sums of money prompted the airlifting of N1.219billion cash to Ayodele Fayose, former Ekiti state governor, for the governorship election in the state.
Legit.ng reports that Fayose is facing trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alongside his company, Spotless Investment Limited. This follows their alleged involvement in N6.9 billion money laundering.
N1.2 bn airlifted to Fayose in 2014 - Obanikoro
When Wahab Shittu (SAN), the EFCC's lawyer asked him to shed light on the source of the said N1.219billion, Obanikoro replied that he only got the information on the money from the former national security adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.
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He told the court:
“I was a minister under Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti state. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election. Some days before the election, I got a call from Governor Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fund-raising for the purpose of that election. When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a phone conversation with the NSA, and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me that N2.2billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd.
"I handed over the N1.219 million cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to a publication by a Lagos-based online platform."
Speaking further, Obanikoro stated an account was created by one Taiwo Kareem and was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for the election.
“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid. Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the funds. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much."
When asked about the source and what the funds were meant for, Obanikoro stated that “it was meant for our election in Ekiti. It came from Diamond Bank. N1.219 billion was moved from Diamond Bank out of the N2.2 billion.”
Justice Dimgba thereafter adjourned the matter to February 27, 2024, for continuation of trial.
I won't run away from Nigeria - Fayose
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Fayose said that he would not abscond from Nigeria when his immunity from criminal prosecution elapsed in October 2018.
Fayose’s spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, said that he had talks with the governor over his future without immunity. Olayinka said Fayose will not leave the country after his tenure expires.
Fayose will face criminal trial - EFCC
The anti-graft agency made the statement when reacting to condemnation that trailed a tweet on its official X (formerly Twitter) handle. EFCC had vowed to resurrect an alleged scandal involving Fayose.
Speaking on the controversy generated by the tweet which was deleted, an EFCC official disclosed that the court would try Fayose.
Publish list of recoveries, Fayose to FG
In another related news, Legit.ng reported that Fayose challenged the federal government to publish all the properties it claimed it had recovered and their owners as well as buyers of the properties when they are eventually sold.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain who made this call in a statement, on Wednesday, February 22, said Nigerians were “no longer interested in being governed with propaganda".
Fayose wants his case discontinued: Atiku's ally
Also, Legit.ng reported that the special assistant on public communication to Atiku Abubakar, Phrank Shaibu, said that Fayose should have been man enough to publicly campaign for Bola Tinubu during the run-up to the presidential election instead of coming out now.
He added that Fayose was only running from pillar to post in order to get Tinubu to discontinue his corruption case at the federal high court.
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