Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae, has insisted that he never took money from former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki.
“Beyond that, I want to assert that I never had any relationship with Dasuki. I knew Dasuki way back in 1986-87, when he was ADC to General Babagida and I was Secretary to the Federal Government. Since he left that government around 1987, I had no contact or dealing with him; absolutely none,” said Falae in an interview published by Vanguard.
“The N100 million they are bandying about in the media, the one that I know about, it happened as follows: Chief Tony Anenih, a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, phoned me late January last year and said he would like to see me; he would like to come from Abuja to see me in Akure. And he came. He came with someone, and I, too, invited somebody to be with me. The four of us were together in the meeting; and Chief Anenih said they were observing that my party, SDP, had no presidential candidate and, therefore, they would want us to ask our supporters to vote for his own party’s candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I told him that, in principle, there was nothing wrong with the two parties collaborating, but that the collaboration must be a principled collaboration: it must be based on principles. I told him that there were certain things we desired the government to do but they had not done for the people, and that if we were going to support their candidate, they must commit themselves to make changes in those areas. He asked for the areas? I said number one, their party must be prepared to restructure Nigeria from the colossal unity system, and the best way of doing that was to fully implement the report of the National Conference 2014.
“Number two, that the party must commit itself to a policy of zero tolerance for corruption because I saw that corruption was monumental in what they were doing. Number three, I said the party in government must destroy Boko Haram and give stability to Nigeria. Number four, there was mass unemployment and youths were getting frustrated, that they must articulate programmes to create jobs for the unemployed. Number five, that I observed that the party in government was spending virtually our entire revenue on recurrent expenditure, that they must reduce recurrent expenditure so as to generate surpluses to finance capital development like roads, schools, hospitals, etc.
“Item number six, that if we accepted this tide and accepted them, then if the party won the election, we will expect reasonable participation in that government. And he said they were totally happy with all these strict conditions, that the conditions were acceptable to them; in fact, he said they were already implementing some of them. So, on that note, he returned to Abuja. But after he left, I decided to write to him in order to document this relationship. The letter I wrote to him, again I listed the six conditions which I had mentioned in our oral discussion. And three days later, he wrote back to me saying that he had consulted all the stakeholders of his party including the President and they were all happy to accept those conditions to work with the SDP in the election’s that were forthcoming. So, having accepted our conditions, I proceeded to Abuja to summon the meeting of my party executive and decision making organs and made the presentation to them. There was a very robust debate and, at the end of the debate, the executive committee of my party endorsed their request that we should work with Jonathan in the elections,” Falae said.
Speaking further, the former presidential candidate of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) and Alliance for Democracy (AD), said: “I want to emphasize that the most critical factor that turned the debate in favour of Jonathan was because he had said he would restructure Nigeria and that he summoned the National Conference as a great step in that direction. And to most of us in the SDP and in Afenifere, restructuring Nigeria is the most important, single political objective that we pursue in Nigeria today; and whoever commits himself to that objective, we will support him. I want to remind you that, in 2007, when the then General Muhammadu Buhari was running for the President on the platform of ANPP, six parties, including my party; we were then called DPA, went for similar collaboration. In fact, they turned round to make me the Chairman of the Buhari Campaign Committee in the South-West, although I was not a member of their party. And in that collaborative effort, I and some other friends of Buhari contributed money to run the campaign. We held a mammoth rally at Mokola, Ibadan. So, what I am saying is that, collaboration between two parties is normal in democracy; and the collaborating parties, it is normal for them to contribute money to ensure that their joint project is implemented. That is exactly what happened on this occasion.
“Now, after we had endorsed the candidacy of President Jonathan, I think a week or two, Chief Anenih phoned me and said that he knew that SDP didn’t have fund to campaign effectively for our candidates. Therefore, they will be sending us some money to enable us campaign effectively and Jonathan was now our joint candidate. That was the note on which he sent the N100 million they are talking about.
“And on receiving the N100 million, I promptly paid it into the account of the SDP at the First Bank in Abuja. And from there, I set up a committee of the party to work out the modalities for distributing the money among the various state branches of the party and campaign organisations. Taking to account the number of candidates for House of Assembly, Senate, House of Representatives, governorship, weight was attached to it and they did it rationally and fairly.
“Plus our own money, which was much more than the N100 million, the money was distributed to the state organs for executing the campaign and the elections. In summary, we had no contact whatsoever with Dasuki. We took nothing, not a kobo from Dasuki. The money that came to us was from the PDP through Chief Anenih to me as the Chairman of SDP, which I then passed on to my party. My party held a press conference on Monday, January 11, 2016, where they declared that I gave them the money in full, promptly and they used it for the elections. So, those who said the money was given to Falae are lying, the money was only sent through me to my party and my party has acknowledged receipt in full. The money did not come from Dasuki but from the PDP.
“By the way, I have read in the media where Chief Anenih said that the money he sent to me and some other people was his own personal money and given on behalf of his party, not from Dasuki and later he got reimbursement from Dasuki. All that has nothing to do with us: we knew nothing about it, we did not approve of anything, not our duty either, legal or moral, to find out where PDP was getting the money to pursue its campaign. So, in summary, we took no money from Dasuki, the money given was for the party and not for me, it was delivered to the party, the party has acknowledged receipt in full,” Falae said.