How Fayose, Obanikoro, others used soldiers to rig Ekiti poll — Army Captain
Captain Sagir Koli of the 32nd Artillery Brigade in Ekiti State, who released an audio recording which purportedly has the voice of the then Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Ayo Fayose, in the June 21 governorship election and others meeting on how to allegedly rig the election, on Saturday, insisted the clip was authentic.
In an interview by Sahara TV which was monitored bySUNDAY PUNCH, Koli narrated how soldiers were allegedly deployed in Ekiti to manipulate the poll in favour of the ruling party.
The recording purportedly captured Fayose; Brig.-Gen. Aliyu Momoh, who was in charge of the election; Osun PDP governorship candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore; Minister for Police Affairs, Jelili Adesinyan; and former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, in a meeting where they allegedly gave directives to the military to favour the PDP.
He stated that none of Fayose, Obanikoro and other Peoples Democratic Party leaders could deny being at the meeting.
Fayose, Obanikoro and Omisore however, denied both the meeting and the voices in the audio clip.
The Army captain, who has been on self exile after he released the audio tape, said he was ready to testify against those at the meeting should they file a suit in court.
He also said, “It came as a surprise to us. Three weeks to the election, Brig.-Gen. (Aliyu) Momoh was brought in. When he came, he asked us to work with him. When we entered Ekiti State, we started to see a different thing. The commander said this is his direction and we had to follow him.
“He said he was working for the Presidency. He said it categorically. ‘Look, I’m working for the Presidency and anything I am doing, follow my directions. That was what necessitated the compromise in the election.
“The commander asked all the troops to work with Peoples Democratic Party thugs to make sure that his given assignment was done.”
Koli said he played an advisory role in the election as an intelligence officer. He said there were tactical commanders on ground who covered the 16 local government areas of the state.
“Each local government area was assigned a major or a captain, with soldiers to cover those areas adequately. Those tactical commanders were given specific directives on what to do. The PDP and its teams had what they called ‘contacts’; they were PDP supporters and thugs.
“What the commanders were ordered to do was to work directly with those contacts and make sure that whatever those contacts wanted, they should do it. That was the directive. After giving the directive, we moved round the 16 LGAs to ensure compliance by the tactical commanders,” he said.
He added, “They (security operatives) were assembled at the Forward Operational Base adjacent the Ekiti State Government House. He (Fayose) was given a task force. The task force was composed of military components, the Police, Mobile Police Force and security operatives from the DSS (Department of State Security). They were asked to go and work with the PDP contacts in the 16 LGAs.
“Additionally, a sticker was designed and a hand band. On election days, ordinarily and constitutionally, we restrict movements from 06:00 to 18:00 hours. Those stickers were given to PDP supporters; that anybody or any vehicle seen with that sticker should be allowed unlimited access on the Election Day, and that was what was done.”
Speaking with SUNDAY PUNCH, Adesiyan on Saturday admitted that there was a conversation but it was at a scene in Ado-Ekiti, when Fayose and the General engaged in an altercation which almost resulted in a fight.
He explained that the General was accused of being bribed by Governor Kayode Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress, which led to a heated argument between him (the general) and Fayose.
Adesiyan said, “Nigerians are not dummies. These people are mischievous; somebody recorded the scene but let everybody listen to it. Listen to it yourself and get back to me.
“Fayose accused the General who supervised the Ekiti election of taking bribe from Fayemi and APC, that was two days before the election. They called me because they said the General disarmed policemen and I told him to allow the policemen to do their job.
“I was there, Fayose was there, Otunba Omisore was there, Senator Obanikoro was there. I am not denying that there was a conversation but it was not what they are saying.”
Omisore also debunked the allegation of rigging, saying it was an attempt by the APC to tarnish his image.
The media aide to the Osun PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Victor Oriola, made the denial on his principal’s behalf in a response to SUNDAY PUNCH’sinquiry on Saturday.
Omisore’s response read in parts, “In order to set the record straight, we say empathically that the offensive YouTube (audio) was unfounded and meant to hoodwink the unwary and portray the PDP and its leaders across the South West in a bad light.
“How did Omisore and those mentioned in the YouTube (audio) rig election when all the stakeholders in Ekiti voted for Fayose? Initially, the APC claimed it was stomach infrastructure that won the people’s mandate for Fayose. When that would not fly, they say it was photo-chromic rigging.
“Now, it is army and police who were coordinated to rig for Fayose, what balderdash!”
Again on Saturday, Fayose dismissed the audio.
His Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said the governor had no time for frivolities and was more interested in bringing good governance to the people.
He said, “We are not interested in this media hype. If they (APC) have such evidence, they know where to go.
“If you, as a military officer, have such information, is it the opposition that you go to?
“The tribunal is there. They can go to the appeal court and file fresh evidence, if it would work for them.
“All this noise shows they don’t know what they are doing. We are not interested in this trash because the video is a fake. Where is the military officer? Does that Captain Koli exist?
“They should provide evidence that PDP members were given special stickers and hand bands.”
A source close to Obanikoro said on Saturday the former minister would no longer respond to the allegations about his alleged involvement in the rigging of the June 21 Ekiti governorship election which was purportedly recorded on tape.
When one of our correspondents called Obanikoro on the telephone on Saturday, his phone rang out while a text message was not responded to.
Also, a text message and phone call made to his media aide, Ohimai Amaize, were not responded to.
However, the source close to the former minister told our correspondent on the condition of anonymity that Obanikoro was being careful because he had just been nominated as minister by President Goodluck Jonathan
The source said Obanikoro was to be screened by the Senate on February 16 and the allegation could affect his chances.
Repeated calls made to the Acting Director, Public Relations of the Nigerian Army, Col. Sani Usman, on Saturday were not successful.
The calls to his mobile telephone line did not connect. Also, Sani had yet to respond to a text message sent to him on the issue as of the time of filing this report on Saturday night.
However, an intelligence source said the 15-year old brother of Koli, who was reported to have been tortured by military operatives, had since been released and was not in custody of the Army.
The source said, “I can tell you that the boy is not being detained; he was released long ago. So it is not right to say that he is in custody of the Army.”