Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has denied media reports alleging that he received N1.7billion of the controversial arms deal fund from the office of the ex-National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (reted).
Fani-Kayode, who was Director of Media and Publicity, Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation, during the last Presidential election which Jonathan lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement said he read with amusement the allegation made in the media report.
He said: “I read with amusement the allegation that was made in the media report that I was given 1.7 billion naira cash by President Goodluck Jonathan. This is false. A few hours later they changed their story and said that I received 1.7 billion naira from the office of the former NSA, Colonel Sambo Dasuki. This is also false.
“I have never received one kobo from President Jonathan himself, Colonel Dasuki or any other member of President Jonathan’s government. I have not ever been in receipt of any public funds and neither was I the beneficiary of any payments in cash, transfer, cheque or otherwise from any government official during the tenure of President Jonathan.
“As Director of Media and Publicity of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign organisation I received money on behalf of the Directorate of Media and Publicity which I headed from private individuals and companies during the election campaigns but these were not public funds but rather private contributions specifically for the Presidential and other campaigns.
“Such moneys were transferred into my account by the Director of Finance of the Presidential Campaign Organisation and that account was specifically set up for the purpose of running the publicity and media aspect of the campaign for the whole country and my Directorate.
“These private individuals and companies paid their contributions into a designated account which was provided and controlled by the Director of Finance and from there she transferred it to the accounts of the various Directors and various individuals that were running for public office that the PCO supported.
“The money that was sent to me for my Directorate by the Director of Finance was used in a lawful and responsible manner and by the time the campaigns were over my Directorate had paid all of its bills for services rendered and was not owing any media house or anyone else one kobo.
“The Presidential candidate of our party President Goodluck Jonathan, the D-G of the PCO, the Auditor of the PCO, the Advisor to the PCO and the Director of Finance of the PCO all received reports and saw the results of the efforts of my Directorate. Not only were they satisfied with our efforts but they also commended us.
“Those private individuals and companies that were kind enough to support and fund President Jonathans presidential campaign with their hard earned money were perfectly within their rights to do so and they were more than happy with our efforts as well.
“They also commended us. Even though we ended up losing the election we fought a very virile, strong, visible, historic and aggressive campaign and the Nigerian people can attest to this. The encounter with the APC was an epic one and it was probably the most active and gruelling electoral battle in the history of our country.
“Not one kobo of public funds was spent by or given to my Directorate during the campaign and as far as I am aware not one kobo of public funds was spent by or given to the PCO. Presidential campaigns all over the world cost huge amounts of money and Nigeria is no different.
“This is especially so when it comes to publicity and media. My Directorate was difficult to run and our work was capital intensive. We did not use marshmallows, pebbles, and grass to pay for all the services rendered to us and all the television and newspaper adverts were fully paid for with money.
“Nothing was done or given to us free of charge by anyone. This should not be a surprise to anyone as the APC and President Buhari’s campaign organisation did the same.
“I opened an account specifically for the funds that were used to run my Directorate and fund all our activities in order to ensure accountability and transparency.
“We also audited our accounts regularly and insisted on the highest level of professionalism from all those that worked for or with us.
“Since when such matters have become a crime or subjects of criminal investigations I don’t know. If it was a crime to speak up for Jonathan during the campaign they should just say so.
“If it is a crime to be a member of the PDP and to be in opposition they should just say so. If it is a crime to speak up for and defend President Jonathan and key members of his government after he has left office they should just say so.
“If it is a crime to oppose the Buhari administration and speak up against his gross violations of human rights that they are indulging in and the violation of court orders they should just say so.
“During the 2015 elections the PCO and my Directorate spoke up and campaigned for many PDP members who were running for public office and we funded and worked for them too. That was our job and I am very proud of the PCO and the role we all played despite limited resources.
“I am particularly proud of the efforts of my team at the Directorate and I can assure all those that care to listen and that refuse to be misled by the government propaganda machine that we did nothing wrong. All we did was run an effective campaign and we did so with private funds and not funds from the government.
“I am aware of the attempt by the government and my enemies to discredit me, smear my name and silence me by alleging all manner of wrongdoing but I am not in the least bit perturbed. As always my innocence will fight for me and my God will never forsake me.
“I know that this government is capable of doing anything, of inducing anyone to say anything and that they have no sense of decency, justice or fair play. They are prepared to charge anyone just for breathing the air if needs be and they can attempt to frame up anyone that they believe is a thorn in their flesh.
“I have always known this yet I refuse to run away or to be silenced and I will not be cowered. Though I have been warned and told over and over again by those amongst them who care for my well being that I have been listed down and targeted for persecution I am not in the least bit concerned about their evil plans for me. My life and destiny is in the hands of God and not theirs and He will fight for me and vindicate me.
“As I have always said, the night may be dark but joy comes in the morning. If it was a crime to use moneys that were freely donated by private individuals from lawful and legitimate sources to fund the Presidential and other campaigns let them say so.
“No election campaign anywhere in the world, including that of President Buhari was run with just words, goodwill, grass and pebbles and neither were we given free campaign adverts or air time. All these things were run and paid for with large sums of money.
“This is especially so with publicity and media because that was the lifeblood of the various campaigns. I repeat, there is nothing that we did in the campaign organisation or that my Directorate did that Lai Mohammed, Buhari and the APC did not do in theirs. As a matter of fact they spent far more than we did but I have no idea where they got their money and whether they were private or public funds.
“Most importantly my Directorate and, as far as I am aware, the Jonathan Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation did not receive any public funds from any government official or office to run our campaign. Of this I am absolutely sure and I am very confident because I made a point of asking and insisting that this must be so. These are the facts and I eagerly await my accusers, persecutors and detractors.
“Meanwhile I shall continue to live my life in peace, I shall not be intimidated by the boastful threats of the enemy and I will continue to live my life in the usual law-abiding manner that I have always done.
“It is expedient and necessary for me to speak out now even though the EFCC has not said a word on this matter or even confirmed that there is indeed an investigation going on. This is because the modus operandii of the Commission of late is to leak their intentions to SaharaReporters before they strike and abduct their victims.
“This has happened on a number of occasions and sadly they use such mediums to tell all manner of lies about the case and the accused to the public. By the time they finish they would have convicted their victim in a vicious smear campaign and media trial which is usually plagued and fuelled by lies and falsehood.
“It is for this reason that I have taken this opportunity, whilst I am still at liberty, to tell the Nigerian people the truth and let them have all the facts. I sincerely hope that my statement will help to clarify matters in the eyes of the public regardless of whatever lies that they will soon be inundated with by a desperate, weak and wicked government. I fear them not because my life is in God’s hands. God bless Nigeria,” Fani-Kayode said.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.