Alleged N4.7bn fraud: PDP chieftains disown Obanikoro, Fayose

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Following the reported decision by the former minister of state for defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro to testify against Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state and his aide, Mr. Abiodun Agbele, over allegations bearing on the sharing of the sum of N4.7billion, some members of the Peoples Democratic Party have distanced themselves from the two party big wigs.

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Our correspondent learnt that since Obanikoro’s return to the country and especially with his recent decision to cooperate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and stand as a state witness against Governor Fayose, many chieftains of the main opposition PDP have been avoiding getting too close to the embattled former minister.

A source in one of the state chapters of the opposition party said that with the new dimension assumed by Obanikoro’s case with the EFCC, panic had gripped many party chieftains, who had become apprehensive that they might be implicated as having been involved in the alleged fraud.

Many of them are now said to be threading with “serious caution” concerning the matter in order not to partake in any untoward consequences that might result from the current ordeals being experienced by both Obanikoro and Fayose in the hands of the anti-graft agency.

The source stressed that panic engulfed the camp of some party chieftains, especially with Obanikoro’s agreement with the EFCC to testify against Fayose. He added that the development had compelled most of them to distance themselves from the actors involved in the alleged fraud.

He said, “With the fact that Obanikoro has agreed to testify against Fayose, most of the chieftains in this party have decided to distance themselves from the case and people involved because of what may happen at the end. We all know what is at stake, and we understand that the implication of this at the end may be more than what anyone expects. So, as it is, all of them, especially from Ekiti, are no longer comfortable with the situation and do not have rest of mind”.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Dayo Adeyeye, told our correspondent that he would rather prefer to keep mum over the matter.

Adeyeye said, “The case is not a matter I will like to speak on because of certain reasons; I prefer to maintain silence over it.” Similarly, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Lagos State, Mr. Gani Taofik, said maintaining silence over the matter was necessary at this time, rather than interfering in it.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t like to say anything on that development as it is. I personally, I don’t want to interfere in the case because my personal opinion on it may not go well with them. Let us just have it like that,” Gani said.

But a former member of the National Assembly, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, said that the EFCC should not handle the matter and the persons involved in the alleged fraud with kid gloves. Fasanmi stressed that the law must take its course in dealing with the accused persons.

“Corruption is a hydraheaded monster that has destroyed our society. With the state of our nation, we all know that corruption has not helped us. Though the fight may not be easy, by the grace of God and support of the masses, we will overcome. The fight must go round and whoever is involved, no matter how big they are, have to be dealt with. Corruption is killing our nation and we cannot fold our arms and watch. Imagine the current situation in the country; we want to go and borrow $30billion, whereas more than that has been stolen by politicians. For all this to be curtailed, we have to start from somewhere.

“The Obanikoro issue is a good development. Whoever is involved, whether Obanikoro or the man in my state, the law should take them up. I want every sector to be dealt with. As you can see, even judges are facing the music. So, I support the move. Obanikoro may testify against Fayose, but both of them, if found guilty, should be dealt with,” he said.