Senator Musiliu Obanikoro

Former Minister of State for Defence Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has said that it is painful testifying against his former ally and the immediate Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

Obanikoro, who said this during the N2.2bn fraud trial of Fayose on Monday, noted that they enjoyed a good relationship while they were both members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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However, while being cross-examined by the second defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Obanikoro told the court that he was testifying against Fayose reluctantly.

Obanikoro has since defected from the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), while Fayose remains a member of the PDP.

In court on Monday, Obanikoro said despite testifying against Fayose, he wouldn’t want their relationship to be destroyed.

At a point in the course of being grilled by the defence counsel, Obanikoro burst out, “I’m trying to restrain myself from saying things that will further damage our relationship.”

But pushing him further, Ojo asked, “So, will it be correct to say that you are giving evidence in this case reluctantly?”

Obanikoro said, “It’s painful for me to give evidence against him (Fayose); no doubt about it. It is indeed very painful.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Fayose for allegedly taking N2.2bn from the office of the National Security Adviser for his governorship election in 2014.

The EFCC said Fayose received the money from then-NSA, Sambo Dasuki, through Obanikoro.

At the previous hearing, Obanikoro admitted receiving N2.2bn from Dasuki for onward delivery to Fayose in Ado Ekiti, adding that on Fayose’s instructions, a part of the money was changed into US dollars before delivery.

Under cross-examination by the second defence counsel on Monday, Obanikoro affirmed that he took the money to Fayose in Ado Ekiti as a leader, who was carrying out a mission for his party.

Obanikoro told the court that the N2.2bn he took from Dasuki on Fayose’s behalf was paid into the account of a firm, Sylvan Mcmanara Ltd, owned by one Taiwo Kareem.

Asked what informed the choice of that bank account, Obanikoro said, “We came about that company based on the fact that they made a presentation to then-NSA when the issue of security arose in Lagos and he was convinced that they had the capacity to do the job.”

He said it was Dasuki that appointed Kareem as the sole signatory to the account.

Further proceedings were adjourned till Tuesday.