SaharaReporters has received unimpeachable documents and audio recordings providing substantial evidence that major Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders planned and successfully rigged the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State, and plotted a similar scenario in Osun in 2014.
The audio recordings and affidavit were provided by Sagir Koli, a Captain in the 32nd Artillery Brigade stationed in Ekiti State, who has since fled the country for fear of retaliation. Capt. Koli recorded the conversation on 20th June 2014 when he was asked to accompany his Commanding Officer, Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh, to the meeting. The venue was held at Spotless Hotel in Ado-Ekiti.
The audio recordings depict the meeting as being attended by the eventual “winner” of the election, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti; Senator Iyiola Omisore; a man identified as Honorable Abdulkareem; the Minister for Police Affairs Caleb Olubolade; and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro who was at the time the Minister of State for Defence. Mr. Chris Uba came to Ekiti with huge stash cash and soldiers from the East to carry out the assignment.
The 37-minute recording details the conversation between these men as they bribed Brigadier General Momoh with a promotion for his assistance in carrying out election fraud in Ekiti. In it, Obanikoro is clearly heard informing the group of men, “[I] am not here for a tea party, am on special assignment by the President.”
SaharaReporters further received credible intelligence that President Goodluck Jonathan had instructed the Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh, to use the army in arresting and intimidating opposition politicians before and during the election. The audio recording provides exact details of the plot, with the collaborators almost degenerating into physical combat.
Authentication of Audio Recordings and Proof of Election Fraud
The audio recordings were analyzed and authenticated by Guardian Consulting, an independent US-based security consulting company. According to a report authored by Guardian Consulting, also in the possession of SaharaReporters, the independent company used Forensic Voice Frequency Comparison technology to identify all voices on the recording with audio available in the public domain.
The then Deputy Defense Minister, Obanikoro clearly states to General Momoh that he was not only sent to the meeting by President Jonathan, but “you can’t get a promotion without me sitting on top of your military council. If I am happy tomorrow night, the sky is your limit.”
Governor Fayose revealed that he had already bribed an official of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), the non-political commission charged with organizing elections in Nigeria, to bring copies of voter ballots with the INEC logo to him that day. Fayose, upset that his INEC contact was caught in traffic, narrated his day’s frustrations: “Where are we supposed to be collating the thing INEC gave to us? Soft copies we now printed? Why is my [INEC] contact not with [the ballots]…my contact man [was] sitting in the check point…it took me more than two hours to get this man.”
As the plotters began to argue, Omisore, who was running for Governor of Osun State on the PDP ticket, tried to calm the room: “I would just say that we don’t have to argue so much, we have seen some lapses [today] yes. It’s just this evening, there is nothing happening now that we cannot contain before tomorrow morning.”
Plans to Rig Elections in Favor of PDP
The eyewitness testimony and sworn affidavit by Capt. Koli corroborates the audio recordings of the PDP officials’ plans to manipulate the Ekiti elections. The plotters devised several plans intended to bring about an unlawful victory for PDP candidates in Ekiti State races, including the forging of INEC ballots, the use of the military to facilitate access for PDP operatives and supporters, the creation of a list of APC members to be arrested, and the deployment of a Special Team of military personnel to prevent APC voters from reaching the polls.
The PDP officials told General Momoh that those soldiers on election duty “must work hand-in-hand with the PDP agents” and ordered the arrest of selected APC stalwarts as that could “greatly assist the party during the election including DG campaign organization for Dr. Fayemi, Mr. Bimbo Daramola,” Capt. Koli said in his affidavit.
General Momoh, confronted with criticism by the group, defended himself by saying that “we have done a lot of [APC] arrests.” It would be recalled that there were arrests of APC members in Ekiti during the period. It would also be recalled that many members of the security offices paraded around Ekiti in disguise.
The PDP collaborators also demanded that the military block APC members’ access to the electorate and that moles should “be careful because the consequence will be severe.”
Soldiers were instructed set up roadblocks leading to the polling stations and prevent APC supporters’ access. Additionally, vehicles and individuals with a special sticker labeled “National Security Task” were allowed movement anywhere, and were only distributed to PDP agents.
General Momoh informed the group that there were “about 6 special teams. I have one strike force. I have almost forty soldiers after deployment,” evidently an organized system being used to manipulate voter turnout.
Capt. Koli’s statement explained that based on these strategies, “they succeeded in rigging the Ekiti State election with victory in all the 16 Local Governing Authorities (LGAs). These really inspired them and they were with the euphoria that same would happen in Osun State.”
Indeed, leading into the Osun State elections the Brigadier General posted there was told to take a three-week leave during the elections. His position was temporarily filled by General Momoh, who then repeated the same fraudulent tactics in Osun.
Retaliation Against Captain Sagir Koli
SaharaReporters was provided with additional evidence that proves the military retaliated against Capt. Koli when he released this information. Capt. Koli fled before he was arrested, but the military arrested, secretly detained, and chained his brother Adamu to a bed for nearly five months at the Adekunle Fanjuyi’s Cantonment.
In an exclusive phone interview with from his hideout outside Nigeria, Capt. Koli told SaharaReporters that his brother was starved for periods of time and sometimes “fed worms.” Adamu was only released after a petition, which is also in possession of SaharaReporters, was submitted to the National Human Rights Commission by Barrister Chief K. Akinola Ajayi.
The treatment of Capt. Koli’s brother was so poor during his illegal confinement that he had to be hospitalized due to malnutrition.
SaharaReporters contacted Nigerian Defense spokesperson, General Chris Olukolade as well as Nigerian Army spokesperson, Col. SK Usman, for comment on this story. Both officials promised to get back to us but never did.[Sahara Reporters]