Obanikoro confesses he was at Ekiti rigging meeting, claims that Jonathan Sent Him

February 19, 2015 9:17 am

Minister of Police Affairs first confessed, later Governor Ayo Fayose
confessed too but said they were just there to accuse the Army officer.
And now, report says has also confessed.

Contrary to earlier denials, the embattled Obanikoro has confessed to
several Senators in Abuja that he indeed participate in the election-eve
meeting in Ekiti in June 2014 in which a group of politicians and
ministers met with a Nigerian Army General to rig the governorship
election in favor of Ayodele Fayose, the candidate of the People’s
Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State.

The meeting, now known as “EkitiGate”, was secretly taped by an Army
Captain who was subsequently forced to flee for fear of his life.
Despite the scandal, President Jonathan went ahead to nominate Obanikoro
for the second time, and he is already lobbying Senators to give him a
pass during his upcoming nomination hearing.

It is in the process that he has confessed to some Senators that he was
indeed present at the rigging meeting in Akure, on behalf of President
Jonathan, to ensure that PDP wins the Ekiti election.

Obanikoro’s story is that he was simply making “peace” between the Army
and Ayo Fayose at the meeting, claiming that he was not party to any
conversation about rigging. On the contrary, Obanikoro, who was at the
time the junior Minister for Defence, is overheard clearly on the tape
bragging about the authority granted him by President Jonathan (he said “if I am happy tomorro evening, the sky is your limit… I am the one who will sit on your promotion“).

Prior to admitting his involvement to the Senators in private, the
former minister met with President Jonathan to discuss the tape and his
role. A presidency source said Obanikoro told President Jonathan he was
present at the meeting but claimed that a part of the audio-recording
was “doctored”.

They said President Jonathan had called him to the meeting to discuss
how to mitigate the damage created by the leaked tape. He told the
Senators categorically that it was Jonathan himself who had sent him to
Ekiti to help Fayose win the election. On the tape, Obanikoro says, at least twice, that he is on a “mission” for the President.

He also reportedly told President Jonathan at their meeting that he had
asked his US-based lawyers to do a separate voice analysis of the tape
and that the lawyers came back with “proof” that certain aspects of the
tape had been doctored by Sahara Reporters to make the regime look bad.
Baking on that assurance, President Jonathan told a team of reporters
from the Wall Street Journal during an interview that the tapes were not
real and that he would not investigate the incident.

Obanikoro also told President Jonathan that his US-based lawyers had
assured him that they could file some cases against Sahara Reporters in
the US to “teach Sahara Reporters and its publisher, Omoyele Sowore” a
lesson. He explained to the president that with enough financial
support, his lawyers would file the case and also employ private
detectives to take down Sahara Reporters. President Jonathan reportedly
nodded at the idea, and asked Obanikoro not to worry.

Following that meeting, the former Minister began a series of legal
threats last week claiming to have sued Sahara Reporters, as well as The
Punch newspaper and Premium Times, both in Lagos. But up until now,
those newspapers are yet to be served copies of any lawsuit.

On Tuesday night, Obanikoro, who is also a US citizen, assured some of
the Senators that his US lawyers had already filed the libel suit
against Sahara Reporters in New York.

On Wednesday, Obanikoro deployed a small rented crowd of protesters to
hold placards in front of the National Assembly to denounce the All
Progressives Congress and his involvement in the Ekiti saga.

It is to be noted that two other key participants at the meeting, Police
Minister Jelili Adesiyan and Ayo Fayose, the beneficiary of the Ekiti
governorship rigging, have admitted that they were at the meeting that
was taped by the Army Captain.

For Obanikoro’s role in the rigging of the election, APC has advocated
his being banned from holding any public office, and asked the Senate
not to confirm him.

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