In an era when revelations continue to pour in on how money meant to fight insurgencies in the north eastern part of the country was shared among some chieftains of the former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Elder Tanko Yakassai admitted, Wednesday collecting money from Chief Tony Anenih.
However, he said the money given him and 8 other prominent northerners (N53 million) was for advocacy visit to northern traditional rulers to mobilise their subjects for 2015 general election.
Chief Anenih, former PDP Board of Trustees (BOT) has explained in a letter to EFCC how he disbursed the N260 million paid into his bank account from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Anenih wrote to the EFCC to state, among others, that he gave N63 million to a group coordinated by Alhaji Yakassai, for the 2015 presidential election.
In an interview with a national daily, Yakassai admitted the receipt of the money: “Yes, myself and 8 others collected N53m from chief Tony Anenih to pay advocacy visit to prominent northern emirs to mobilise their subjects for a hitch free 2015 general elections”, he said.
The former President Shehu Shagari Special Adviser stated that the development followed a request by the PDP stalwart to make available to him list of “9 apolitical but respected individuals from the north”.
He declared that the N53m disbursed to his team by Chief Anenih catered for the group members’ allowances, transportation and hotels accommodation on a tour that took them to 18 states in the north.
Yakassai who vehemently denied links between the fund and campaigns for former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, listed former minister of state, foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mamman Anka, Barrister Bitrus Gwada and Alhaji Suleiman Lawal as beneficiaries of the money.
Other beneficiaries includes, Dr Bahago, Chief John Macklink from Plateau, and Senator Sodangi.
Yakassai had last week denied ever rrcieving financial patronage from Jonathan administration.
The former political aide to second Republic NPN President had in the interview said “I want to make it categorically clear that no officials of the last regime either Mr. Jonathan, his lieutenant, agents, contractors or person having links or relationship with the last administration gave me cash on behalf of that regime for a reason.”
Yakassai, who celebrated his 90th birthday last year disclosed that they visited the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, the emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris and the emir of Gwandu.
The list of other first class chief visited by Yakasai’s team also includes, The emir of Anka, emir of Ilorin, emir of Nassarawa, Minnie, Bauchi, Zuru, Kebbi, Katsina, Dutse, Hadejia and representatives of emir of Daurawa.
Other prominent rulers visited further includes, The Tor Tiv, the Gwom Gbom Jos, Ohimege Igu, Kotonkarfe, Etsu of Abaji, Etsu Nupe and Atta Igala.
Yakassai further revealed that his team were rescued from Gombe while on scheduled visit to the Emir when insurgents attack the city.
The Elder Statesman said “I want to make it abundantly clear that I didn’t received money from Chief Anenih in my private capacity as Tanko Yakasai but to a patriotic individuals who are interested in the peaceful coexistence of the polity”.