ARMS PROBE: I’ll open up next week, says Falae
By Joseph Erunke
NATIONAL Chairman of Social Democratic Party, SDP, Chief Olu Falae, yesterday, said he has fixed next week to adequately address his alleged involvement in the ongoing arms deal scandal involving the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).
This came as he insisted that the alleged N100 million linking with with the former NSA was given him by former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying he had never communicated with the former security chief since 1987,when he was Secretary to the Federal Government while the latter held sway as the Aide-de-Camp, ADC to then military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Former SGF shamefaced to be linked with scandal
He said he was ashamed to be linked with the scandal, adding that he had not involved himself in any shady deal in his life.
The former presidential candidate of defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD, said those seeking to blackmail him would permanently shut their mouths and have nothing any more to speak about the issue by the time he presents his side of the story next week.
Chief Falae, who addressed SDP faithful, after the party’s National Executive Council meeting, in Abuja, commended them for the maturity they handled the matter since it started.
He said the alliance he entered with the PDP was normal in a democracy, saying he did same for Buhari’s defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, in 2007, when Buhari ran as its presidential candidate.
He said: “Some people are still writing spurious nonsense but I intend to address the press sometimes next week, probably in Lagos, to tell my story so everybody can hear and the blackmailers can shut up for ever.”
‘I didn’t collect one naira from Dasuki’
Also, he said: “I have said so several times and I will say so now as a believer in God, that I did not collect even one naira from Col. Dasuki. Not just that, that I have had absolutely no feelings whatsoever, with Col. Dasuki. I think the last time I saw Col. Dasuki must have been in 1987, when he was ADC to General Babangida and I was Secretary to the Federal Government. So we worked together, that was on 1987.That is 29 years ago. So, ladies and gentlemen, please, put your mind at rest. I have nothing to do with Dasuki. I took no money from Dasuki.
“The N100 million they are talking about, it was the money sent by the PDP to our party, SDP, following our endorsement of their presidential candidate. After a hotly debate, we agreed to endorse their candidate and after the endorsement, they said ‘we know that your party hasn’t got money with which to campaign for our candidate. To enable you campaign effectively for him and your candidate, we want to send you some money and I said thank you.’
“And they sent this N100 million which I transferred to the account of your party. And which was used along other funds I raised for the party to conduct the last election. Remember that I set up a committee here which set up the modalities for distributing the money to the various states, depending on the number of candidates, whether you have a governorship candidate, House of Representatives candidates and the rest,
‘Money was for SDP, not for Olu Falae’
“So, the money was not for Olu Falae, I did not take one naira out of it. And since this party started, with all humility, I have been the sole source of funding for this party. I have used my personal funds, apart from my friends who work in private sector, even in government, under confidentiality, they have contributed money through me to fund this party, because they believe in me and they believe in this party.
“And we did not just endorse Jonathan, because we were not happy about the way that government was running, we told them that if we are going to support your man, you must fulfill certain conditions and those conditions were presented. We told them why we were not happy with their performance. We said they must accept a policy of zero tolerance for corruption, they must create jobs for the unemployed, that they must not spend all their revenue, they must leave some surplus for capital development and they must fight and destroy Boko Haram so that we can know peace in Nigeria and that they must restructure Nigeria so that every part of Nigeria will be happy to be in Nigeria and nobody will want to leave Nigeria. And finally that if the win the election with our support, they should allow us to have reasonable participation in the government.
‘Conditions we gave Chief Anenih in Akure’
“These were the conditions that we gave them when Chief Tony Anenih visited me in Akure. They accepted all the six conditions but after he left me, the spirit of God told me to write to him and I wrote a letter containing those six conditions. And he wrote back few days later, accepting all the conditions, saying after consulting all the organs of the PDP including the president, they were happy to accept all those SDP ‘s conditions.
“After accenting those conditions, I came here and you all saw the conditions and you said I should support them.
“So, it was a very principled arrangement, transparent arrangement. You put the interest of Nigeria first.
‘PDP was very desperate’
“When Chief Anenih travelled by road, an 85-year-old man travelled by road from Abuja to Akure, on a very bad road, that told me that their party was very desperate. And so, when he said would you support my party and I gave him terms, many Nigerians would have said settle me, abi? They would have said give me dollars, give me this and that, I would have appointed ministers, appointed ambassadors but I did not ask for anything from him.
“All your conditions were those that can make Nigeria a better place. I think that is patriotism.
“I keep reminding people that I did not just drop from the sky yesterday, I have been a public officer all my life. I became a permanent secretary at 39 years, around that tender age, I ran for departments and ministries. I did not take one naira from the place and I was a young man that needed money to do so many things in life but I didn’t take one kobo.
“Thereafter, I became managing director of Nigeria Merchant Bank, your signature and money came out, I did not take one naira. And that was the fastest growing bank at that time and after that General Babangida invited me to be secretary to the Federal Government and I gave him conditions, that he should negotiate with my bank to release me on secondment to the government and that at all times, during my tenure, I would remain the MD of the bank.
‘As SGF for 5 years, I earn nothing!’
“So, for the five years that I was secretary to the government, I did not earn one naira from the Federal Government. So, this man has never been after money.
“I am sure they know that what I am saying is the truth, that there was no connection between this party or myself with Dasuki. We did not take any money from Dasuki. The money sent to us was by the PDP based on the exchange of letters between us, which establishes the contract.
“I want to say it here, that two parties coming together is normal in a democracy. In 1999, AD and APP came together came together with together to sponsor me like now to fund that campaign.’’
“In 2007, ANPP approached our party for cooperation, to support their candidate who was General Buhari. We agreed and we did just that. ANPP had no money to continue but outsiders and friends of General Buhari contributed money to carry out the campaign for him in the South West. It’s normal, it was normal and it is normal now.
“So, I think I have said enough, let you see clearly and to feel proud of your party and proud of your national leader.’’
‘SDP, only political party with an ideology’
“I said this because I can’t come here witwhout addressing this issue, so that you you know what you take home. We are very proud of the way we have handled this matter. Ours, in my humble opinion is the only political party with an ideology that binds us together. Others are what I call opportunistic hangup for power.
If you look at APC, the ruling party, it’s full of my friends, PDP is full of my friends but we know that those who are APC today were PDP yesterday and vice versa. So, the same group shuffle themselves around, “he said.