The walls are closing in on Musiliu Obanikoro, former Minister of State for Defence.
Obanikoro has been singing his way deeper and deeper into trouble, sources at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have told Pulse.
Obanikoro surprisingly turned himself into the waiting arms of the anti-graft agency as soon as he touched down in Nigeria from the United States last week.
The former Lagos State Governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is being investigated for frittering N4.745bn.
The sum came from the $2.1bn meant for the procurement of arms but which was diverted to meet political ends by erstwhile National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, investigators say.
Obanikoro has been with the EFCC since October 17, 2016 and it’s quite the turnaround for a man who only said in June that his trial was a media one – a circus.
“Suggestions of an EFCC investigation have dwelt solely in the realm of rumours, over which I have sued several media organisations to court,” Obanikoro had thundered from his safe haven in the U.S.
“I cannot submit myself to such glaring witch-hunt, injustice and charade but I’ll fight it legally, with God and clear conscience on my side.
“Since EFCC opted to make this a media trial/circus, let them make public any document linking me or any of my children to any financial scam.
“The allegations are lies, not backed by fact or evidence but a burning desire to obliterate the opposition and keep Nigerians distracted. Rumours of extradition are also lies – false allegations cannot stand up to any decent legal inquiry in a civilised system such as in the US”, Obanikoro had barked.
EFCC operatives have told Pulse that it’s a different Obanikoro who has been cooling his heels in custody of the anti-graft agency since last week.
“He’s been singing like a canary. He’s mentioned Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose. He’s also mentioned Iyiola Omisore. You’ll recall that Fayose and Omisore were some of the voices in that Ekiti election rigging audio tape which became public in 2015”.
Obanikoro has confessed to handing over N2.3bn to Fayose; air-lifted through Akure in Ondo State, in two chartered aircrafts.
The money found its way into Ekiti in the run-up to the 2014 Governorship contest in the South West State.
Fayose won that election, unseating the incumbent, John Kayode Fayemi.
Obanikoro has also admitted that he transferred N1.7 billion of the sum to the 2014 Governorship candidate of the PDP in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Unlike Fayose, however, Omisore came up short in Osun State. Rauf Aregbesola of the APC, nullified the billions making its way round the country at the time from the PDP, in his home State.
Obanikoro has also disclosed to investigators that he was disbursing the money following orders from Dasuki.
Dasuki was NSA to then President Goodluck Jonathan.
Another EFCC operative told the press: “He (Obanikoro) admitted that he transferred N1.7bn to Senator Iyiola Omisire out of the N4.685bn paid into the Sylva Mcnamara’s account on the instructions of Col. Sambo Dasuki, the former NSA.
“He said a total of N3.880bn was transferred to Fayose and Omisore from the N4.685bn that was transferred to the company account of Sylva McNamara.
“The former minister told the commission that Tope Aluko (the then Ekti State Secretary of the PDP) and other PDP leaders were present when the dollars were handed over to Fayose, who took them to a room next to where they met.”
An EFCC operative who spoke to Pulse on the basis of anonymity because he had not been authorized to comment on the subject, said: “We have him (Obanikoro) exactly where we want him. The feeling we are getting is that he won’t go down without the likes of Fayose and Omisore”.