In a recent recording released by Sahara reporters, it has been alleged 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" in Ekiti State last year.
The audio recordings depict the meeting as being attended by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, then PDP candidate; Senator Iyiola Omisore; a man identified as Honorable Abdulkareem; the Minister for Police Affairs Caleb Olubolade; and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, then Minister of State for Defence. Mr. Chris Uba was also there with cash and soldiers.
Supposedly Governor Fayose reveals in the audio that "he had already bribed an official of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to bring copies of voter ballots with the INEC logo to him that day." Listen to the entire audio and the staments made by Obanikoro and Governor Fayose on the audio below...
According to reports, the purported audio evidence was recorded by Sagir Koli, a Captain in Ekiti State’s 32nd Artillery Brigade on election day June 20th 2014. Koli recently gave the audio to the publication, after he had fled from Nigeria.
Sahara Reporters says the audio recordings were analyzed and authenticated by Guardian Consulting, an independent US-based security consulting company.
So how exactly were the elections rigged? Sahara Reporters say they combined testimony from Sagir Koli with snippets from the conversation to come to their conclusion about the rigging;
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.
Following the release of the audio, Senator Obanikoro has denied the allegations and threatened to sue in this statement, as reported by The News:
Our attention has been drawn to an audio recording released on Thursday by Sahara Reporters, an online news website. In the audio recording, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro is presented as having a conversation alongside current Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, Senator Iyiola Omisore amongst other names purportedly identified by Sahara Reporters as participants in the said meeting.
But these are the facts:
1. That Senator Obanikoro wishes to state categorically and emphatically that you will never find him anywhere in the world talking about rigging an election in favour of anyone. The context of the conversation being reported by Sahara Reporters has been deliberately concocted, manipulated and misrepresented to achieve a predetermined narrative. Nowhere in the purported recording did Senator Obanikoro mention directly or indirectly a plan to rig the Ekiti State elections as the Sahara Reporters narrative suggests.
2. That Senator Obanikoro’s team was approached by an agent of Sahara Reporters to pay for the doctored recording. Senator Obanikoro’s refusal to be blackmailed led to Sahara Reporters going ahead to publish the said recording.
3. That it is an open knowledge that Sahara Reporters is a paid mouthpiece of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and as such cannot be taken seriously and credibly.
4. That the eventual timing of the release of the doctored audio coming on the eve of the ruling of the Osun State Election Petitions Tribunal makes it even more sinister. For all intents and purposes, it is a failed attempt to compromise the outcome of the Tribunal ruling and set the tone for public sympathy in the event of an unfavorable ruling.
5. Old habits die hard. The APC is known for its manipulative antics in the manufacturing of forged certificates, hacking, propaganda and now the doctoring of audio recordings.
6. That Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the APC have failed to explain how their gross unpopularity led to the loss of their wards and local governments to PDP’s Ayodele Fayose.
7. That there was a Tribunal set up for the Ekiti Election. Why was this audio recording not presented to that Tribunal? Having lost an election woefully and at the Election Petitions Tribunal, this is nothing short of a lame after-thought and a futile attempt to pervert the minds of unsuspecting Nigerians against the PDP in the coming general elections.
8. That the role the Nigerian Army played in safeguarding the elections in Ekiti and Osun States remains commendable, to general acclaim, locally and internationally.
9. The APC and their cronies are the ones known for anti-democratic tendencies. Where was Sahara Reporters when free and fair local government elections were annulled by the APC in Lagos State?
10. That beyond this statement, Senator Obanikoro will not dignify the immoral construct of the APC through its hired media platforms with any further response. Senator Obanikoro refuses to be distracted by the failed antics of the APC and is focusing on the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan.
11. That Senator Obanikoro is initiating legal action against Sahara Reporters in New York and Nigeria for defamation of character.
Ohimai Godwin Amaize
Special Adviser on Media Strategy to Senator Musiliu Obanikoro
Governor Fayose also released a statement denying the allegations. He claims that the recordings are fake. His statement as reported by Daily Times:
Nigerians should be reminded of how the APC people lied in 2007 that they recorded how the governorship election was rigged even in the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, but the party could not produce a single photo evidence at the tribunal because their plans to do what is know as Morphing and Syncing was exposed.
Nigerians should also be reminded of the existence of a technology called speech software, which is good at reproducing the sounds, inflections and intonations of a human voice.
There are softwares that can re-create voices and even bring the voices of long-dead notable persons back to life. There are softwares that can turn printed text into synthesized speech, making it possible for anyone to use recordings of a person’s voice to utter new things that the person never said. One of such softwares is called ‘Natural Voices.’
The APC that we all know is a party of crooks, who are capable of doing anything, no matter how criminal to achieve their aim.
They tried all tricks to manipulate the election and failed. Even after wining the election, they tried to prevent Fayose from assuming office but failed.
Now it is a fake audio clip, which is obviously targeted at the next week presidential election.
Another question that should be asked by discerning minds is; if indeed such a meeting took place, could any of those purported to be present at the meeting have recorded the conversation and leaked it to the APC? Or was the supposed secret meeting held in the public such that it was possible for the conversations to be recorded?
This fake audio manipulated with the use of Nigerians, especially the people of Ekiti who overwhelmingly voted Fayose as their governor should therefore ignore this new fabricated lie coming from the APC.