‘Buhari Persecuting Fayose For Being Critical Of His Govt’

A civil society activist, Mr Sunny Igboanugo, has described the corruption trial of former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, as more of persecution than prosecution.

Fayose is currently facing trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly receiving N1.3 billion illegally from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, through the former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro.

The former governor was alleged to have used the said sum to fund his re-election bid in 2014. But due to his immunity as governor, Fayose could not be tried by the EFCC until recently when his second tenure in office came to an end on October 16.

Since the expiration of his second term, Fayose has been in custody of the EFCC over the fraud allegation.

The former governor was however granted N50 million bail on Wednesday after his second arraignment before the Ikoyi Federal High Court in Lagos.

But speaking in a phone interview with THE WHISTLER, Igboanugo, who has actively shown support on Facebook for Fayose ever since he was taken into custody by the EFCC, said the ex-governor is not being prosecuted but allegedly being hounded for his political views.

He said, “I believe Fayose’s trial is premeditated…Fayose is not being prosecuted for corruption, he is simply being persecuted for his political views. That is the major reason for his trial. And for me that is injustice.”

Igboanugo aligned his views with the one held by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, William Stuart Symington, who on Monday at the convocation lecture of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, said : “What many consider as the great corruption is stealing of money but what to me is the great corruption is when people are deprived of justice, when you do things without regard for the rule of law.”

The civil society activist said, “If you have read the U.S Ambassador the other day saying the same thing that injustice is the senior brother of corruption. So, that is my position. Every other thing falls apart when there is no justice, including anti-corruption.

“If you’re fighting corruption and your intent is not to find justice, then it collapses on its nose. That is, the public good collapses on its nose.”

He further told our correspondent, “I believe firmly in the advocacy of Fayose since 2014 when he began to warn the country about what is going to happen [if Buhari is elected President]. And he has been vindicated in most ways than one that this country was going to be in big problem if President Buhari wins.

“There is no person that doesn’t know that this country is serious trouble. Those things people were afraid to say, Fayose had continued to hammer on it at the risk of his own life. As for me that is what a hero is made of.”

Asked if he has met Fayose before that he is so supportive of the ex-governor, Igboanugo said: “No. No. No, I have never met him in all my life. I have never spoken to him or met any of his aides. But I have always been one of his greatest fans.”

Asked to give example of perceived corrupt persons that the anti-corruption watch dogs should be prosecuting but who haven’t been prosecuted, the activist mentioned the former Defence Minister Obanikoro and the former SDP governorship aspirant in the recently held Osun state gubernatorial election, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

Igboanugo said, “There are many of them but let us take the Fayose case itself. They said he got the money from the former National Security Adviser (NSA) and it was Obanikoro that brought the money and then you leave Obanikoro out, made him the star witness. Ok let’s say it is acceptable in law that you can turn one of the perpetrators into a witness. It is done, but what about Omisore who was also allegedly given the same money. You now left Omisore out.”

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