SDP raises the alarm over plot to arrest Olu Falae

• Says party, not Falae, collected N100m from PDP

Ahead of the Ondo State gubernatorial election, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), on Thursday, raised the alarm over the alleged plot to arrest its national chairman, Chief Olu Falae, by linking him with the ongoing arms probe under the office of the immediate past National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd).

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, on Thursday, the national publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Alfa Mohammed, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call those behind the plot to order in the national interest, saying that “the motive behind the plot is to keep our chairman out of circulation before and during the election, and thereafter release him.”

Mohammed, who explained that contrary to the rumour making the round that Falae collected a sum of N100million from Dasuki for the 2015 presidential election in order to support the re-election of President Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, said “it was not Chief Olu Falae that collected the money but the SDP which had a working agreement with the PDP at that time.”

While insisting that such an agreement was normal in a democracy, he dismissed the claim in some quarters that it was Falae that single handedly collected the money which was now being linked to the arms scandal at the office of the national security adviser.

He said that the truth of the matter was that Chief Falae, in his capacity as the national chairman summoned the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and informed the party that Chief Tony Anenih, in his capacity as the chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the PDP, had visited him in his house at Akure, to request for a working electoral arrangement with the SDP towards the 2015 presidential election.

According to him, “Chief Falae further informed us that he gave Chief Anenih six conditions which the PDP must fulfill before he could present their request to the (SDP) for consideration. The oral discussion was followed by a letter from Chief Falae, asking Chief Anenih and PDP to confirm acceptance of the six conditions in writing.

“The money promised by the PDP was not received for about two months and was only received on 25/3/15, three days to the presidential election. It is important to note that following the delay in the arrival of the money, the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the SDP mandated Chief Falae to raise and advance to the party, some funds pending the receipt of the financial support promised by the PDP.

“Subsequently, the national chairman transferred N30.5milion to the party’s headquarters account on 3/2/15 and arranged lodgments of N70million on the same account on 6/2/15, making a total of N100.5million.

“On receipt of the PDP contribution on March 25, 2015, the Central Working Committee further requested that the national chairman should further transfer a sum of N66.150million to the account of the national secretariat of the party for disbursement to various state chapters of the SDP for prosecuting the elections.  A disbursement committee was setup to effect the disbursement according to identified needs of the states.

“The Central Working Committee further decided that an amount of about N12.1million should be transferred to some leaders, stakeholders and candidates for election purposes while a sum of N21.7million was made as a token refund to the national chairman out of N100.5million he had advanced to the party. About N78.1milion is therefore, still outstanding out of the funds arranged and advanced by the national chairman. From the foregoing, it is clear that it was the SDP as a party that utilised the money provided by the PDP for legitimate election purposes.”

He recalled that in 2007, “Chief Falae was the national chairman of Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA). In that year’s general elections, while other parties in the country did not support General Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the DPA under the leadership of Chief Falae adopted General Buhari as its presidential candidate since the DPA had no presidential candidate of its own.

“It is on record that the DPA made financial contributions of about N20million to Buhari’s campaign in the South West which was championed and led by Chief Olu Falae. If that did not constitute a crime or an offence to warrant investigations then, inter-party electoral cooperation in 2015 can neither be novel nor constitute a crime.”