The money I received from Anenih was on behalf of Patriotic individuals - Yakasai

Elder statesman and Peoples Democratic Party chieftain Alhaji Tanko Yakasai yesterday said he collected monies from Chief Tony Anenih for advocacy visits to northern traditional rulers ahead of 2015 elections.

He however said the money he collected was not N63 million as Anenih said.

Anenih told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigating $2.1 arms purchase fund that he gave Yakasai N63 million out of the money he collected from former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.

He said the money was given to him not on a personal ground but “as a team leader of the nine - man advocacy committee.”

Yakasai who spoke to Daily Trust by telephone said, “The money was meant for the nine-member team that I chaired that toured the 19 northern states to seek traditional rulers support to sensitize their people for peaceful elections.”

He said he submitted the names of “eight apolitical but respected individuals from the north” for the tour upon request by the former PDP board of trustees’ chairman.

He said “I didn’t received money from Chief Anenih in my private capacity as Tanko Yakasai but on behalf of patriotic individuals who are interested in the peaceful coexistence of the country.”

He said his team visited 17 of the 19 northern states and Abuja. He said they couldn’t visit Borno and Yobe states because of insurgency.

He explained that the money was not meant to bribe anybody as speculated.

“The federal government was afraid of the brewing tension across the country. And it saw the need to sensitise the traditional rulers to douse this tension by mobilizing their subjects for peaceful polls,” he said.

He said his committee didn’t give any traditional ruler money “because there was no budget from the federal government for that.”

He said they spent 30 days visiting at least two traditional rulers per state beginning from January 14, 2015.

The former political adviser to President Shehu Shagari said in the course of their tour they visited the Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar, emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II, emir of Zazzau Shehu Idris, Emir of Gwandu Muhammadu Bashar, Etsu Nupe Yahaya Abubakar.

Other monarchs visited included the Tor Tiv, Gbong Gwom Jos, Attah of Igala, Ohinoyi of Igbiraland as well as emirs of Bauchi, Hadejia, Zamfara, Dutse, among others.

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