THE former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, says the All Progressives Congress spent more than the Peoples Democratic Party which was in power during the last general elections.
Fani-Kayode, who was the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation, said this in a statement on Wednesday while reacting to the probe of some key officials of the PDP by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He said, “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 airtime. 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.”
The ex-minister, therefore, denied reports that he collected N1.7bn from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
He said he neither collected money from former President Goodluck Jonathan nor Dasuki when he was the spokesperson for the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation.
Fani-Kayode said while he was the spokesperson for the campaign organisation, he only received money from donors and other private individuals.
He said, “I read with amusement the allegation that was made in the media report that I was given 1.7bn cash by President Goodluck Jonathan. This is false. A few hours later, they changed their story and said that I received 1.7bn from the office of the former NSA, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd.). This is also false.
“I have never received one kobo from former President Jonathan, Colonel Dasuki or any other member of Jonathan’s government. I never received any public funds. I was not the beneficiary of any payments in cash transfer, cheque or otherwise from any government official during the tenure of President Jonathan.
“As the Director of Media and Publicity of the Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation, I received funds from private individuals and companies on behalf of the Directorate of Media and Publicity which I headed during the election campaigns but these were not public funds but rather private contributions specifically for the presidential and other campaigns.”
He said the money he received during the campaigns were transferred into his bank account by the Director of Finance of the Presidential Campaign Organisation and the account was specifically set up for the purpose of running the publicity and media aspects of the campaign for the whole country and the directorate.
Meanwhile, a former spokesperson for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, has asked the Federal Government not to dabble in the finances the Peoples Democratic Party spent in the last general elections.
Okupe, who condemned the detention of the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, maintained that the way the PDP sourced and utilised its campaign funds was not different from the way the All Progressives Congress sourced its own.
Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, Okupe said President Muhammadu Buhari was losing his respect and integrity in the eyes of the international community by not upholding the rule of law.
He said, “The Federal Government should not try to dabble into or control the finances of the PDP. The way and manner the ruling party is undertaking its selective probe by hounding opposition leaders is unbecoming and very disheartening. Party finances are not the business of the government. The former National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, cannot deny that he didn’t collect money for campaigns during the last elections.
“Why is the Federal Government not asking questions on the sources of the APC’s campaign funds? The way the PDP spent billions of naira to fund its campaigns in the media was the same way the APC did theirs? Where did the APC get its campaign funds from? The opposition must be given the liberty to thrive.”
Reacting to an allegation that a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, benefited from the $2.1bn arms funds, Okupe said the former minister merely provided a service to the PDP during the electioneering and should not be questioned.
Okupe urged the President to be tolerant of criticism even as he condemned a statement credited to the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, in which the APC chair asked Nigerians not to abuse Buhari.
He urged President Buhari to emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan whom he said was insulted by many leaders of the opposition but never retaliated.