Some politicians and members of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation who were given money to campaign for the ex-president have threatened to implicate the ex-President if they are arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC had last week alleged that some directors of the Peoples Democratic Party Campaign Organisation and some ex-ministers received N3.145bn during the campaign. The money, according to the anti-graft agency, emanated from the account of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The commission said the Director of Publicity of the organisation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, received N840m; a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae, received N100m; while N320m was also paid into the bank account of the Goodluck Support Group, an association which played a major role in Jonathan’s campaign.
The EFCC had also said that a former Governor of Imo State, Achike Udenwa, and a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri, got N350m in two tranches while the Director of Finance of the campaign organisation, Nenadi Usman, got N36.9m.
The commission, it was reported, was extending its probe to all PDP governorship candidates who also received money from the same account.
The EFCC explained that monies were transferred from the account of the CBN to a Federal Government account from which the money was transferred to the account of Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.
It was from the Joint Dimension’s account with Zenith Bank that the money was shared to various individuals and campaign organisations inaugurated by Jonathan.
The two people who were in charge of funds were the Director of Finance, Nenadi Usman, and a former Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, who played an advisory role. It was also Anenih who insisted that Falae be given N100m.
Some of the groups that received money from the account were the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, the Goodluck Support Group and the zonal chapters of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation.
Some political parties that also collected money from Jonathan are the SDP and Accord Party through Chief Falae and former Governor Rashidi Ladoja respectively.
However, some of those indicted by the EFCC have vowed not to go down without a fight.
They told our correspondent that they received the monies based on the assumption that they were not public funds.
A former minister under Jonathan, who was part of the campaign team, said, “Jonathan is beginning to annoy all of us because we are being dragged through the mud and he is keeping quiet. When we were given the monies, we were told that they were sourced from private individuals.
“Now, the EFCC has stated that the money came from the account of the CBN and the EFCC has also provided evidence that the monies came from the CBN and the agency has told us to refund the monies. We have spent everything on campaigns.
“We are being disgraced on the pages of newspapers and yet Jonathan is keeping quiet. I am not a military man like Sambo Dasuki. I cannot spend weeks in custody. If I am arrested, I will let the whole of Nigeria know that Jonathan was the one that gave me the funds. Let Jonathan return the money. I cannot pay for another person’s sins.”
Another PDP chieftain told our correspondent that apart from the CBN, other government agencies such as Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation all provided funds for the Jonathan campaign.
He said, “Dasuki never acted alone. The Department of State Services knows that he got Jonathan’s approval. His trial is being stalled because of what he knows. The CBN also had approvals from Jonathan. The CBN transferred these funds based on a memo signed by the former Permanent Secretary at the Villa.
“Let the EFCC go after Jonathan if they want the monies back. We cannot refund what we did not steal.”
A former presidential aide who is also being investigated by the EFCC told our correspondent that if the anti-graft agency arrested every person connected with the monies and Jonathan was left alone, then it would be a selective anti-corruption war.
He said, ““Maybe it is time for some of us to testify against Jonathan and expose everything. He and his Presidency officials did all these things without us knowing and now instead of owning up and taking full responsibility for his actions he wants to leave the innocent hanging.
“He doesn’t care whose life is destroyed. He only cares about himself and whatever deal he has with Buhari. The former NSA is suffering because of him. Olisa Metuh is suffering because if him. The DG NIMASA is suffering because of him. Diezani is suffering because of him and so many others.
“Everything they did was with his approval and permission yet he has now left them to hang all alone. How can he sleep well at night? Now he wants to sacrifice his entire campaign organisation and the strongest directors that he has even though they did nothing wrong and they were not part of his scam.
“We warned Anenih, Fani-Kayode, Ahmadu Alli, Nenadi Usman and all the others not to stick their necks out for Jonathan and not to help him but they wouldn’t listen. Even Obasanjo called some of them and warned them that he is concealing a lot from them about his actions and funding and that he would betray them but they didn’t listen or believe him. Now look at the mess they are all in.”