Today is 17th November 2014 and it was a great day for us in court. I give thanks to God. After we made our no case submission I was discharged and acquitted of 38 counts out of the 40 count charge that the EFCC proferred against me a number of years ago.
I have been fighting this matter and have waited for this day for the last 7 years when the nightmare first started. God has once again proved how faithful He is to His own. Only He could have done it. He promised that He would do it and He did it. To Him alone be the glory.
Where and how did it all begin? In 2007 after we left office and the late President Yar’adua came to power, the most vicious and insidious campaign of calmuny, misrepresentation, fabrication and persecution was unleashed against those of us that had served President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government faithfully, diligently and loyally, that were members of his inner circle and that were labelled as ”Obasanjo” or ”OBJ” boys. These so-called ”OBJ boys” included people like Nasir El Rufai, Nuhu Ribadu and a number of others. Each and every one of them have a story to tell.
Mine is as follows. In 2008 the Yar’adua administration alleged that I stole 19.5 billion naira (114 million USD) from the Aviation Intervention Fund when I was Minister of Aviation. This was despite the fact that the Senator Anyim Ude-led Senate Aviation Commitee had investigated the matter thoroughly in a highly celebrated and well-attended public hearing and gave me a clean bill of health on this allegation.
Despite that clean bill of health the EFCC insisted on conducting their own investigation. After their so-called investigation, they arrested me, detained me illegally for 10 days and locked up, humiliated and tortured most of my staff, political associates and political appointees.
They also purged most of my known loyalists from government positions and key appointments and they went out of their way to destroy them. This was all done in an attempt to coerce them into making false statements against me and to implicate me.
Eventually they charged me to court but there was no evidence of any wrongdoing on my part and eventually all charges were dropped for want of evidence.
Later that same year they came back again and alleged that I stole 6.5 billion naira (38 million USD) from the Safe Tower Project when I was Minister of Aviation. Again there was no evidence of any wrongdoing on my part and once again, eventually, all charges were dropped for want of evidence.
Yet as a consequence of the clear and precise orders that they got from the top they refused to stop. That order was that I must be destroyed at all costs.
Rather than get better things actually got far worse. It became an obsession for those in the corridors of power at that time to discredit, humiliate, shame and jail me even though they knew that I had done nothing wrong.
In 2009 they ambushed me, arrested me, detained me for another 10 days at Ikoyi prison and finally hit me with a 47 count money-laundering charge. They alleged that I laundered 200 million naira (1,169,000 USD) whilst I was Minister of Culture and Tourism and whilst I was Minister of Aviation respectively between 2006 and 2007.
I contested their claims and maintained that I was innocent of all the charges. After 4 years of going in and out of various courts before no less than three separate judges they changed their minds, reduced the number of counts from 47 to 40 and alleged that I did not launder 200 million but rather 99 million (679,000 USD).
We contended that they had not even made a prima facie case let alone prove the allegation. Consequently we entered a no case submission before the presiding judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court in Lagos, on 10 November 2014.
Exactly one week later, on the 17th November 2014, and a good six years after the money- laundering charges were first filed, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia considered their 40 count charge and ruled that in 38 out of the 40 counts a prima facie case had not been made against me and that I had no case to answer.
I was therefore discharged and acquited of 38 counts of the charge without even having to enter a defence. Those counts represent the amount of 96.5 million naira (664, 000 USD).
The remaining two counts represent the sum of 1 million naira (6000 USD) and 1.1 million naira (6,500 USD) respectively which they allege that I laundered whilst I was Minister of Culture and Tourism in 2006. The court has directed that I present my defence to these two allegations.
I look forward to doing so on and we shall begin that process on December 8th 2014. On that day we shall provide a vigorous defence to these spurious and politically-motivated allegations and charges. I remain confident in the belief that we shall prevail and that that which the Lord has started, He is faithful to complete.
By the grace and mercy of God victory was ours today and victory will be ours again tomorrow and indeed always. The bible says ”many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them of them all”. My innocence has spoken for me at every turn, the Lord has delivered me and I do not have one iota of doubt that He shall continue to do so.
It is the doing of the Lord and it is marvelous in our sight. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Lord shall perfect His work and deliver me completely from the hands of my enemies.
I thank all those that have stood by me, encouraged me and prayed for me over the last seven years and indeed throughout this grueling ordeal. It was indeed a difficult period and a great test for me and my family.
Most important of all it proved one thing to me: that without a test there can be no testimony. It proved that without a mess there can be no message. It proved that without trials and tribulations there can be no vindication or lasting victories.
It proved to me that without going through the hottest fire there can be no purification and refining. It proved to me that until you fall down and touch the bottom you cannot get up and rise to the top.
It proved to me that without any pain there can be no gain. I have been to the bottom of the valley and I have survived it: now I shall rise to the top of the mountain.
A special thanks goes to my darling wife Regina for never giving up on me and for always trusting in me. She is so strong and, unlike me, she never flinched for one second throughout this entire ordeal. Without her I couldn’t have made it through the last seven years.
She is a great believer in the power of God, a true Daughter of Zion, a Princess of the Kingdom and a woman of unshakable faith and unimpeachable virtue and integrity. She the mother of my beloved daughter Remi and she is my heart and my strength: a precious gift from God.
I bless the name of the Lord for all that I have been through and for delivering me from the hands of those that seek my destruction and death. I thank Him for His faithfulness. To Him alone be the glory.