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EFCC sets up special team to grill Fayose over corruption charges

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has set up a special team to interrogate Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State next week. Fayose, who has been governor since October 16, 2014, will lose his immunity at exactly 11.59pm on October 15, 2018, thereby giving the EFCC the constitutional right to arrest, detain and prosecute him.

The governor is expected to report at the EFCC head office in Abuja to meet with the commission’s Director of Operations, Umar Mohammed, after which he will be grilled by a team of operatives.

Fayose is under investigation for allegedly receiving over N1.2bn from a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), through a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

The money was allegedly handed over to Fayose during the build-up to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
His aide, Abiodun Agbele, and others had been arraigned by the EFCC but Fayose was excluded because of his immunity.

“We are expecting Fayose to show up at our office next week. He has nowhere to run to since he is under security watch and cannot leave the country through any land border, seaport or airport. We have also set up a special team of investigators that will interrogate him immediately after the expiration of his tenure,” said an EFCC source.

The governor is expected to be arraigned after investigations, which is apart from the alleged N1.2bn fraud and also include alleged contract fraud.

A spokesman for Fayose, Idowu Adelusi, said his principal was ready for the EFCC, noting that the governor had written a letter to the EFCC indicating his readiness to appear before the commission next week.

“Governor Fayose is an honourable man. He will not run away. He has already stated that he will make himself available next Monday once his tenure expires. He made this clear in a letter recently. Even when he was not under immunity, the governor honoured the EFCC invitations.

“The EFCC is not a court of law and cannot declare a person guilty. The governor will be available next week, no doubt.”

Meanwhile, Fayose has filed a N20bn suit against the EFCC for placing him on watch list and directing security agencies to arrest him, if he attempts to travel out of the country.

He said the directive against him despite being a sitting governor breached his constitutional immunity and exposed him to public opium and ridicule.

Fayose had in a September 3, 2018 letter by his counsel, Obafemi Adewale, given the EFCC 72 hours to withdraw the request/directive to security agencies and publish a written apology in three national newspapers and the social media.

A statement issued on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the suit was consequent upon the EFCC’s failure to accede to his demands as contained in the letter.

Recall that EFCC had tweeted on July 16, 2018 through its official twitter handle @officialEFCC concerning Governor Fayose that, “The parri (party) is over, the cloak of immunity is torn apart and the staff broken, Ekiti Integrated Poultry/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon.”

In the suit, Fayose demanded among other things; an order of the court mandating the EFCC to pay the sum of N20bn as general damages to what he called “flagrant, deliberate, pre-meditated and reckless libel and unprovoked attack on his character and reputation and the breach of his constitutional right/immunity as an incumbent governor.”

He asked the EFCC to tender a written apology, which should be circulated to all security agencies in Nigeria and that same should be published in at least three widely read national newspapers and the social media.

The governor also sought a declaration that the statements contained in the EFCC’s letter of September 12, 2018, and addressed to all security agencies n Nigeria portrayed him as a criminal, a fugitive and a run-away from the law, and that the statements were not true, were malicious, and not fair.

He asked the court to further declare “that the EFCC’s letter placing him on watch list and directing his arrest on sight even while a sitting governor is unconstitutional as same offends the clear provision of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which clothes him with immunity against arrest and prosecution as an incumbent governor.”

“That the tweet by the defendant (the EFCC) through its official twitter handle, which was widely circulated through social media and published in Punch Newspaper (online) of 16th July, 2018, with the particular wordings pleaded in the statement of claim filed along with this Writ is not true, is malicious, is not a fair statement and presents the plaintiff as a fraudster thereby ridiculing him and reducing him in the eyes of reasonable and right-thinking members of the society.”

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Expulsion: I’m still Imo APC leader – Okorocha

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Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has said he is still the leader of the All Progressives Congress in the state despite his suspension by the state chapter of the APC.

Okorocha said this on Sunday in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo.

He said his recommended suspension by the Marcelenius Nlemigbo-led executive of the party in the state was not a source of worry to himThe statement said: “Contrary to what has been read in some sections of the media, the Imo State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, never at any time suspended or expelled its leader, Governor Rochas Okorocha from the party and has never contemplated doing that and won’t have any reason to think about that.

“There is also no faction in Imo APC. There is only one APC in the state with Daniel Nwafor as the chairman and Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the leader. Any other group claiming to be a faction of Imo APC must obviously be a gang of 419ers or league of fraudsters who are experts in issuance of dud cheques and collecting billions for jobs not done.

“The only contentious issue in Imo APC is that the national chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole imposed a known PDP member and a known character in the state on the party as its governorship candidate, and by so doing, pushed the party and its members to a very tight corner especially when it comes to the issue of marketing a candidate.

“If Oshiomhole didn’t want the preferred candidate of members of the party in the state, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu for any reason, and if he actually meant well for Imo APC, he would have taken one of the guber aspirants that formed the coalition who are known members of the party, and who is also from Owerri zone since that was the reason some of them in the coalition claimed that made them to leave the government.”

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Letter: Presidency fires back at Obasanjo, says he is a coward

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Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian leader needs a good doctor and in anticipation of a good treatment, a spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari, wishes he should ”get well soon”.

It was part of the response from the Presidential Villa to Obasanjo following the 16-page letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and which he released this afternoon in Abeokuta.

Obasanjo, a partisan in next month’s election, is supporting opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who he had savaged in a book and dubbed a ‘corrupt man’ and even invoked God’s wrath upon himself, if he ever backed Atiku’s presidential ambition.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special assistant to President Buhari regarded Obasanjo’s attack against Buhari as puerile and the “the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the President(Buhari) politically and have resorted to subterfuge.

“This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria”, Garba said.

“The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone’s esteem.

“As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President.

“But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better.

“It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.

“The elections starting in February will be free and fair as promised the nation and the international community by President Buhari.

“What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travellers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.

“Claims that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on the president’s “self- succession project, by recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda, in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count” is not only utterly false, but a copious note from the book on the failed third term agenda of President Obasanjo.

“The man, President Buhari who has taken Nigeria’s reputation to a higher level internationally and is working hard to improve on the records of elections he found in place cannot descend to the level that Obasanjo has himself sunk.

“As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former President said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke.

“A leader who took USD 16 billion “upfront” to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.

“Chief Obasanjo, manifesting a confused state of mind blames President Buhari for the fall of Libya into a failed state and the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and the ISIS, while at the same time calling it an African problem, saying “the struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States,” which really does not amount to saying anything new.

“Nigerians looked up to him as a role model and a ray of hope to ethical and clean leadership until President Yar’Adua called him out to explain what happened to the sixteen billion dollars of taxpayer’s money. It is clear that with him sitting on top of the heap of corruption, he is no different from the crowd he leads”.

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Why Buhari did not attend presidential debate – Spokesperson

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The campaign office of President Mohammadu Buhari has explained why the president was absent for the debate slated to hold on Saturday evening.

According to a statement credited to the campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo SAN, FCIArb (UK), the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is also the APC Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election, President Muhammadu Buhari, could not attend the Presidential Debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria which held today, Saturday, January 19, 2019 for the following reasons:

Firstly, out of several opportunities afforded our candidate to interact with the Nigerian people directly by different organisations, our presidential candidate has taken full advantage of another town-hall meeting organized by another group which held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. He was also joined at that town-hall meeting by our Vice-Presidential candidate who is also the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Nigerians from all walks of life who were physically present and through on-line platforms asked uncensored questions which were adequately answered. It was also transmitted live by various broadcast networks in Nigeria.

In addition, the busy and hectic official and campaign schedules of Mr. President clashed with this programme. Today, Mr. President commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State and campaigned in Niger and Plateau States where his time was over-stretched by the tumultuous and mammoth crowds in both States, (as seen by Nigerians on live television) and only returned to Abuja late this evening.

Whilst we thank the organisers for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which our candidate has demonstrated during past election debates when he honoured similar invitations. Nigerians will also recall that a few weeks ago, our Vice-Presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also attended the debate organized by the same organisations.

Lastly, we note the statement of the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who actually came for the event and left the venue when he did not see Mr. President, who is our candidate. According to him, he would not want to “attack” Mr. President in his absence.

It should now be obvious to Nigerians that for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, this election is all about attacking the person and programmes of Mr. President and not about proffering their own solutions to the problems they created during their sixteen years of misrule, maladministration and looting of the nation’s resources. When they cannot see President Buhari to attack, the content of their campaign becomes hollow, empty and “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Now that Atiku Abubakar had a unique opportunity to explain to Nigerians his own vision and mission without a President Buhari in the picture, he ran away. Afterall, he has his own eight years of crass and grand corruption as Vice President to defend before the Nigerian people.

On February 16, 2019 we urge Nigerians to demonstrate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, through their votes, how empty indeed their campaign has always been and to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who have started the rebuilding process of our great nation.

Thank you.

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