Doyin Okupe, former presidential aide, has told a court former President Goodluck Jonathan paid PDP’s National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh, N400 million for the party’s publicity effort.
But when confronted with the evidence of N400 million wired to Metuh’s Destra Investment Ltd from the office of the former NSA Sambo Dasuki, witness Okupe said, “It looks strange to me. The president could have paid for the campaign activities himself.”
As a defence witness in the on-going trial of Metuh at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Wednesday, Okupe said the leader of the party, Jonathan, usually issued money for the party’s activities, and could also ask a subordinate to handle such assignment.
According to Jonathan’s former public affairs manager, sometime in November 2014, the leadership of the PDP was concerned about the bad press the PDP was getting, and was ready to turn burnish the party’s image.
He said Mr. Jonathan had told him that Metuh and some spin doctors had some suggestions on how to go about this.
He said a meeting was called to discuss the matter, and that then Senate president, David Mark, chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, and a former Anambra governor, Peter Obi, attended.
According to the witness, Metuh and his team of media consultants made a presentation at that meeting, on what they could do.
He said that some suggestions were made by the party, as to what would be added to the project presented by Metuh. It was after then Jonathan instructed that Mr. Metuh be paid N400 million for the project.
“Very early in the morning, I got a call from Chief Metuh who told me that he had received N400 million from the president,” Okupe told the court.
“As a candidate to election, the president had immense capacity to response. And this was demonstrated by the amount of money the president was able to raise, during the fund raising activity in the villa.”
According to him, funds became available to the president, “which he also made available for projects that he felt would enhance his cause.”
But Okupe claim he was not aware of any particular source of the money, except that Metuh was paid by Jonathan.
Metuh has been on trial for weeks now, after his suits–at the appeal court and the apex court in Nigeria—for his case to be dismissed crumbled.
The prosecution, EFCC, believes the money was part of the $2.1 billion arms vote Dasuki squandered on the re-election effort of former President Jonathan in the 2015 general election.