Leaked letter exposes Jonathan’s pact with political parties
EFCC explains release of Isa, Metuh’s detention
AMIDST strong indications that some of those who allegedly benefitted from the alleged $2.1 billion arms scandal rocking the nation may head for the courts to seek protection against speculations that they should refund what they received, details of the secret agreement between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and at least two political parties to support the candidature of former President Goodluck have been exposed in Abuja.
Some of those who benefitted from the largesse from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, were said to be contacting lawyers “in case they are arrested because one said he could not be witch-hunted to settle political scores when he was not told the source of funding for a political engagement.”
Others kept mum yesterday as another said: “I cannot respond to what seems a kite being flown to create fear.”
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied claims it was on a witch-hunt of leaders of the opposition PDP following its continued detention of Olisa Metuh and release of Jafaru Isa, an APC chieftain.
On the agreement between Jonathan and parties not fielding presidential candidates, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, had first hinted on the pact when he explained how he spent the N100 million he got from the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih.
A leaked letter dated January 26, 2015 yesterday in Abuja showed that the signatory on behalf of the PDP, Anenih, reacted to the six issues raised by the SDP before it could support the re-election bid of Jonathan in last year’s presidential election.
The letter is said not to be different in character from those of other parties, like Accord Party, which also got N100 million from the PDP.
The leaked letter assured the parties they would be considered as worthy participants in the PDP government if Jonathan won the election.
The letter, titled “Inter-Party Co-operation” reads: “I write to sincerely thank you for your letter dated January 23, 2015, on the above subject matter.
“After due consultations with relevant stakeholders of our party, I am pleased to convey to you our decisions on the issues and to further inform you that the president and the leadership of our party have expressed delight and strong optimism to fully cooperate and work with the SDP in the circumstance.”
On the implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference, which Falae’s party insisted on, Anenih stated: “Please be assured that the report of the National Conference will be implemented to the letter. We believe that having regard to the fact that the National Conference was a baby of the President, he is in a better position to implement it. And this is what he is doing.”
On “zero tolerance to corruption”, he responded: “There is no doubt that our party, the PDP and your party, the SDP, are on the same page on this issue.
Apart from the fact that this administration has done more arrests, investigations, prosecutions and convictions of corrupt cases, the President has continuously laid emphasis on the need to develop an appropriate technology to comprehensively combat corruption and its vices.
The approach, for example, has produced immense results in eliminating corruption that was associated with the distribution of fertilizers in Nigeria in the past.”
On the battle to defeat insurgency, the parties were assured that since it was ‘‘ the primary duty of government to protect the lives and property of citizens and secure the territorial integrity of the nation, the government has consistently made efforts to deal with the challenges of Boko Haram who have established their operational base somewhere between some states in the North-East of the country and the boundary with some of our neighbouring African countries.’’
He added: “Terrorism has become a global phenomenon and fighting it requires the co-operation of not just the entire citizens but the support of the international community. The President is working on this. In his recent visit to Borno and in a rally in Maiduguri few days ago, he assured the people that every inch of Nigerian soil currently under the control of insurgents will be recovered in no distant time.”
On how the government planned to deal with the nagging unemployment situation in the country, the PDP noted that it was a primary focus of the then administration “considering the various programmes designed and implemented since 2011; programmes such as SURE-P, YouWin, Agricultural and Industrial transformation, including the railways that have generated massive employment opportunities for Nigerians.”
The letter added: “The President intends to sustain the tempo and improve on existing records.”
On “reduction of recurrent expenditure and increase in capital expenditure”, he explained, “This is an area that the President is not only ready to give a critical look at but he is also prepared to welcome new ideas and positive contributions from leaders of the SDP.”
Out of the N260 million which Anenih allegedly received from Dasuki, Falae has admitted getting N100 million, just as the Accord Party admitted getting the same sum from him to prosecute the last elections in favour of Jonathan.
A former Political Adviser to former President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, also confirmed getting N63 from Anenih for political advocacy in the north. Unaccounted for is an extra N177 million Anenih said he spent from his pocket.
Acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, told journalists yesterday that while Isa had begun the process of refunding the money in his possession, Metuh had refused to do it.
‘‘From the records, Metuh got over N400 million. He has not said anything because we need the money to be returned so that it will be used for public good,” Magu said.
He continued: “What Dasuki gave Isa was N170 million and he admitted receiving the money. He was with us for four to five days and then he made a deposit of N100 million and entered an undertaking to bring the rest. That does not mean we will not prosecute him. But Metuh, instead of accepting to refund after admitting he collected money has preferred to go on strike.”
Isa, a former military governor of Kaduna State, was arrested last Wednesday by EFCC operatives for allegedly receiving N170 million from Dasuki while Metuh, the spokesperson of the PDP, has been in EFCC custody since January 5.
The EFCC boss insisted the commission was not selective in its anti-corruption war, noting that only people involved in some certain action or inaction of corruption were being invited for questioning.