The former Director, New Media, Peoples Democratic Party, Deji Adeyanju, tells ADELANI ADEPEGBA about how campaign funds were shared and diverted during the 2015 presidential elections
What is your relationship with the suspended Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke?
I met him a couple of times during the 2015 presidential campaign. That was all. We don’t have any personal relationship. We only met during the run-up to the election, in the course of the campaign.
So after then, you didn’t meet him again?
No, we didn’t have any dealing with him until after the election when Femi Fani-Kayode called me that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was investigating him. So he called me to his house; he was supposed to meet a former chief of staff to the president, Brig.-Gen. Jones Arogbofa (retd.), and when I and Fani-Kayode got to his house (Arogbofa’s residence), we met the DG, utilisedNIA there and he gave FFK information about how the EFCC was probing him, Nenadi Usman and others. That was the first time I saw him after the election. We met at the same house again where the DG offered FFK $1m, that he should secretly return the money to the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu and that Magu would not proceed with his investigation. He said Magu would forget about the case and FFK may not be charged to court. FFK, I and the former COS were all there. FFK didn’t collect the money.
Why would Oke offer FFK money to bribe Magu?
The incident occurred few weeks before FFK was arrested. I can’t remember the date precisely, but it happened two weeks or so before FFK was arrested. Oke got wind of the fact that the EFCC was investigating FFK, so he alerted him about it. But FFK knew before then that he was being investigated. I think he offered the money because he was involved at the various levels of campaign funding. He was involved in the disbursement of campaign funds, this I know because I was tactically involved in the campaign. There are some things I won’t want to disclose now for strategic reasons.
Do you think the over $43m that was recovered in Lagos was part of the campaign funds?
It may or may not be, but investigations would reveal whether it was part of the funds. But I know that the NIA DG had campaign funds.
How much was given to him?
I wouldn’t know the exact amount, but I know he was given campaign funds because I was involved in the campaign.
Were other security chiefs given campaign funds?
Many people were given campaign funds, though I wouldn’t know about other security chiefs, but I am sure about the DG, NIA. I know one or two instances when he disbursed money.
Who did he disburse money to?
I won’t want to go into that. I am so sure that campaign funds were given to him. I don’t believe in the stories in the dailies that the money was meant for a particular covert operation, I don’t believe it. Oke had a reasonable amount of campaign funds in his custody.
Did He Utilize The Money For Election Or He Diverted It?
He diverted it. He diverted most of the money. I do not know the source of the money that was discovered in Ikoyi because I was not there when he was hiding it. I obviously can’t know from where he took the money or when he hid it. But I know that he had access to campaign funds and he was very close to Adamu Mu’azu, the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, and the apartment where the money was found used to belong to him.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan alleged in a new book, ‘Against the Run of Play’ by Olusegun Adeniyi, that Mu’azu worked against him. Do you believe this?
I used to work with Mu’azu. I would say I believe it partially in the sense that maybe he did not do enough to make Jonathan win. But he delivered his local government for Jonathan despite the fact that Buhari won and Jonathan lost the election in Bauchi State. When people are saying Mu’azu worked against the former president, I do not have enough facts to support that, but I am of the opinion that he did not do enough to ensure Jonathan’s re-election.
Do you know anything about Folashade Oke, wife of DG, NIA?
No, I have never met her, I don’t know her.
There were reports that PDP campaign materials were found in the apartment, does this suggest that the seized money was part of campaign funds?
Like I told you earlier, it is possible that the money was part of campaign funds. I knew because I was part of the campaign and I know that many people diverted money meant for campaign. That’s one of the reasons we lost the election. So many people betrayed the former president. Jonathan also confirmed it in the Segun Adeniyi book. I believe that people would understand some of these issues. Some people diverted money that was raised for the campaign and squandered it. This was money raised for the campaign. The one we solicited from other sources were also diverted.
Can you identify some of the people who did this?
Many people alleged that the former chairman diverted campaign funds that were given to him and other monies raised by the party. Many states complained that they never got money. Even the Ekiti State chapter of the party complained that they never got any money for campaign. Those are some of the reasons why the PDP lost the election and Jonathan was defeated. If we must do a re-appraisal, we must speak the truth and put the record straight. So many people have said he diverted funds, so people who should have received funds said they did not get it, which means maybe he actually worked against the interest of the party. You never can tell sometimes; political interest changes. Those who wanted Jonathan out had their reasons and they had many friends in and out of government who gave out documents from the Presidential Villa to them. The only person who can betray you is your friend.
Did state governors also divert funds?
I am not sure, I don’t have any information on them.
Do you have record of those that leaked classified documents?
Those are things I cannot delve into for certain reasons.
But you know them?
I know some of them, but I cannot delve into it at the moment. They were in the Villa; they were the people Jonathan trusted with his life. They were the ones who were leaking documents to the opposition. At a time, they even recorded the former president’s meetings and gave it out to the opposition. It was that bad. Jonathan was betrayed by the people he trusted.
Are you saying the leakage helped the All Progressives Party to win?
Yes, it did. Imagine President Buhari doing something in the Villa and the opposition knows.
How was APC able to infiltrate Jonathan’s inner circle?
I think the former president trusted people too much. Unlike President Buhari who has surrounded himself with only northerners, and his family members, as caucus inside caucus, kitchen cabinet inside the kitchen cabinet, so where would the betrayer come from? Jonathan was surrounded by people from different ethnic groups. He was not that secretive; he did not enjoy tribal loyalty and all that. He easily trusted people and was very accommodating. He tried to be as truly Nigerian as he could be. Maybe that was why he suffered so much at the hands of betrayers. He has started talking and I believe people would get to understand some of the things we are talking about, they would know that the people he trusted actually betrayed him.
Do you think the United States and the United Kingdom contributed to his defeat?
Jonathan has said that, he must have information at his own level that could prove what he said. As for me, I think what contributed more to his defeat was the perception about the war on Boko Haram. The North didn’t want him to be re-elected and the issue of the missing girls wasn’t managed well. All that America did was just to put a little pressure to make sure the election held.
What’s your assessment of Buhari’s anti-graft campaign?
It is one-sided, selective and targeted mainly at the opposition. That is not saying Magu has not done well as head of the EFCC, I must commend him. But he must stop the media trial and be mature. He must stop being excited over nothing. Discovering cash is not the same thing as securing conviction for the corrupt people. He must be focused. The EFCC spends more money on car purchase than on legal services. So you can see why they would lose cases in court. He must realise that he is not there to play to the gallery. He is there to ensure a strong viral anti-corruption agency. He is there to do justice at all times to all manner of people and he should refuse the temptation to be used against the opposition just like what happened under former president Obasanjo who used the EFCC to fight perceived opponents and that is what is happening now.
When Obasanjo was in power, anybody that criticised his government would definitely not go scot-free at the hands of the EFCC. That is not what the EFCC should be about. Magu, by my assessment, has done reasonably well, if not for the political issues he is dabbling into. He has no business investigating campaign funds and arresting people like the Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who didn’t know the source of the money he was paid for media services. Things like this would definitely rubbish the anti-corruption war. Arresting people like the former PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, and Fani-Kayode was also wrong because they didn’t ask that money should be paid to them. They were given money to do media campaign projects.
Are you saying EFCC should have gone after Jonathan?
The person (Jonathan) that ordered the money to be paid was not arrested, so why should people like Dokpesi and FFK be arrested and prosecuted? If I go to the market to buy oranges with stolen money, is it me that should be arrested or the orange seller? That is why I said EFCC is messing up the anti-corruption war. However, if EFCC had not gone after those who used campaign funds to do media projects, I would have said that the corruption war is on course. If a government official diverts money meant for a project, that is corruption, you can arrest and prosecute him. But when you arrest those who don’t know anything about the money, how does that qualify as a fight against corruption? If they found him (Jonathan) culpable, they should have gone after him. If they knew the former president was involved in corruption, why didn’t they go after him? Why are they going after the errand boys? If somebody pays you for adverts and services were rendered, how is that corruption? Like I have said, Magu has tried, but he needs to be more focused and stop playing to the gallery. This is not a reality television show.
But Jonathan said the EFCC was after his family?
He may have proof that I don’t have. I read that his wife was in court over a forfeiture issue. Maybe that’s what he was referring to or maybe there are some other issues. There is no need to personalise the war on corruption, the government should strengthen the EFCC to be able to fight those in government, those who stole money. If the present administration feels that there was corruption under the past government, let them investigate. If investigations are concluded, let them charge those who are culpable to court. We are just opposed to selective anti-corruption war. A situation where Jafaru Isa collected money, his company collected money from the former National Security Adviser, Dasuki, but they are prosecuting only three persons. How can that be described as anti-corruption fight?
Are you saying it was not right to prosecute Dasuki?
The government is right because Dasuki was appointed, but what we are condemning is his continued detention. Dasuki should be allowed to leave the jail on bail and face proper prosecution. The government that disobeyed all court orders, including the ECOWAS court, is not a democratic government. It is a tyrannical government because those are the signs of tyranny. Many of us have never said the government should not try Dasuki, we want him tried in an open court.
What’s your involvement with Nnamdi Kanu?
The attempt to try him in secret is something we condemn because if you try him in secret, they would also try people like us in secret. Somebody can be arrested and they would present masked Department of State Services operatives to say that they are Igbo traders from Enugu and use their testimony to convict him. This cannot be defined as democracy in whatever form. Encourage dialogue with members of Indigenous People of Biafra, instead of killing them. In the advanced world, debate is what democracy is all about; dialogue, negotiation, persuasion, non-violent approach. If some people say they don’t feel like being part of the country, engage them in dialogue or call a referendum like BREXIT, don’t kill them. Over 150 members of IPOB have been killed, that is not how a country should be run. Our approach is that, we want justice for those who were killed and we want the killers to be tried. We want investigations done. I am supporting Kanu because I want to show him that there are more benefits in a united Nigeria than in a divided Nigeria. So, I am standing with him to show him the other side that he is not seeing. That’s basically the reason.
You have also involved yourself in the campaign for the release of Shiite leader, El-Zakzaky?
The greatest way for somebody to protect his freedom is to fight for the freedom of others. The greatest way to fight oppression is to defend the rights of the oppressed. If the peace in Borno State is threatened, and you are in Abuja and you feel you are safe, and so you do nothing and say nothing, gradually, Abuja will become unsafe. There is no moral or ethical justification for detaining El-Zakzaky for over 500 days. No matter his offence or crime, the man should have had his day in court by now. The government had already said in open court that El-Zakzaky did not do anything wrong, that were just keeping him in protective custody. A situation where the government just likes disobeying court orders is not right. People cannot continue to remain silent when things are not right. Basically, the reason why my organisation, the Concerned Nigerians, is showing solidarity with the Shiite leader is because the government said they are a violent group and killed over a thousand of them. These guys have not retaliated to date, they are very peaceful. They have detained their leader for over 500 days, that is unjust and unlawful. The government has continued to disobey orders and this is the reason why I am standing with the group.
Do you believe the APC government is using security agencies to bully the people?
Any government that can detain someone for over 500 days without trial is a bully. They are now suppressing the power to protest and freedom of speech, which is what brought them to power. It’s a complete paradox.
But the government said its critics are those against the anti-graft campaign?
The greatest fight against corruption is within this government. Those in the government are those against the anti-corruption war. You can see the revelations that are coming out. The issue involving the Secretary to Government of the Federation and others, which some people are trying to cover up, is unfortunate. The powerful people in government are the real enemies of the anti-corruption war.