Northern leader and ex-special assistant to former President Shehu Shagari, Tanko Yakassai, has agreed that he actually collected the sum of N63 million from former Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Tony Anenih.
He however said the money was delivered to some prominent Nigerians who went about meeting traditional rulers in the northern part of Nigeria trying to sway their thoughts to ensure “peaceful co-existence” and mobilise their subjects for the 2015 general elections.
The amount was part of the $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms to execute the war against insurgency but which was shared among top Nigerians and members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
In an interview last week, Yakassai, known for his usual criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, said his support for former President Goodluck Jonathan had nothing to do with political party but the need to ensure equity and foster co-existence.
He told the interviewer that throughout Jonathan’s five years stay in Aso Rock, he only met the former President once and that was when he sought the former President’s audience to discuss serious issues of security concern.
In the interview, he denied ever receiving money or any special benefits from the previous administration.
“I want to make it categorically clear that no officials of the last regime either Mr. Jonathan, his lieutenant, agents, contractors or person having links or relationship with the last administration gave me cash on behalf of that regime for a reason,” he had said demanding from the present regime a holistic approach to the fight against corruption instead of targeting “people who are perceived to be either personal enemies or political opponents of the regime. If one is going to fight corruption successfully, one should do it without discrimination, it should be holistic, whether the suspects are your children or mother or wife that is involved, it should be dealt with.”
Yakassai was named by Anenih as one of those who benefited from the N260 million he received from the Jonathan administration in a letter he wrote the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Confirming the receipt of the amount on Wednesday, Yakassai named eight other Nigerians who benefited from the N53 million he got from Anenih.
The beneficiaries, according to him, include former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mamman Anka, Barrister Bitrus Gwada, Alhaji Suleiman Lawal, Dr. Bahago, Chief John Macklink from Plateau, and Senator Sodangi.
As reported by Vanguard newspaper, the list of traditional rulers visited by Yakassai and his team includes Emir of Anka, Emir of Ilorin, Emir of Nassarawa, Minnie, Bauchi, Zuru, Kebbi, Katsina, Dutse, Hadejia, Representatives of Emir of Daurawa, The Tor Tiv, the Gwom Gbom Jos, Ohimege Igu, Kotonkarfe, Etsu of Abaji, Etsu Nupe and Atta Igala.
“Yes, myself and eight others collected N53 million from Chief Tony Anenih to pay advocacy visit to prominent northern emirs to mobilise their subjects for a hitch free 2015 general elections.
“I want to make it abundantly clear that I didn’t receive money from Chief Anenih in my private capacity as Tanko Yakasai but to patriotic individuals who are interested in the peaceful coexistence of the polity,” he reportedly said.
The amount, he said, was meant for the hotel, transport and sundry allowances of the beneficiaries to the emirs and traditional heads.