At Last, Ondo INEC Chief Opens Up, Alleges PDP Offered Him N500m To Rig Election
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, yesterday, while denying bribery allegation made against him by one of the candidates contending for the governorship ticket of the PDP in Ondo State, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, said he had repeatedly spurned invitations from a serving governor, adding that Ibrahim’s grouse against him was that he refused a request for them to meet in London.
Agbaje said Ibrahim approached him through one of his friends who is currently residing in London. Agbaje, who is the Ondo State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, also revealed how he was at a point offered N500 million to rig the last governorship election in Osun State in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, when he was serving there.
Agbaje, who spoke at a dialogue session with a coalition of over 60 Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, led by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, PLAC, said he rejected the money, which he said was brought in a van at night by certain chieftains of the PDP.
The Ondo REC, who said he was a former Director of the Department of State Service, DSS, revealed the money was offered to him at the IBB Golf Course in Abuja, after one of his former colleagues in the DSS, hoodwinked him into following him to the venue.
“So it baffles me now to see allegations being raised against me. I have never met Jimoh Ibrahim in my life. I have never spoken with him in my life. There is one of my friends, an old friend, Mr. Austin Obiagwu who was a former Managing Director of Broad Bank which later merged with Union Bank. He called me sometimes in April this year and said Segun how now, long time! He said when will I come to London, that he has been there for some time. I said ok, that I might be in London later in that April for the ceremony of one of my children and that I will see him then.
“He then told me that there is a friend of his that would want to meet me and that his name is Jimoh Ibrahim. I think he said he was in Accord Party. Either Accord or Alliance Party, I can’t remember. That was in April this year; he was certainly not in PDP then.
“I told my friend that I don’t know him (Ibrahim) and that I have never met him in my life and that I don’t think it is proper for me to see him because I made it a personal policy not to have such interaction with politicians.’’
Speaking on the Osun bribery attempt, he said; ‘’One of his colleagues “picked” him at the end of a conference he attended in Abuja and took him to the meeting where the bribe was allegedly offered. Agbaje said he was shocked and immediately berated his friend.”
“I told them that all my children have been trained and they are all married. I have a house in Lagos and another in Ekiti where I come from. So I don’t know what I will use money for at this age. I told them politely that I would not be part of their deal.”
He said: “The governor in my state had wanted to see me in the government house and I told him that this year, I am not coming to that Government House. He wanted to come to my house and I said you cannot come to my house.”
“I was the ICS of Anambra State, the then governor, who was a candidate, came to my office, he brought money to my office and I said Sir, we do not accept money, that my headquarters had provided all we needed for that election and as Director of the SSS in that region we don’t need the money.”
“The man was annoyed. He said whether I have seen the other people in the other party and I said Sir you don’t know me, that I knew him when he was Permanent Secretary at Dodan Barrack, that if not because he was a very old I would have known what to do. But very politely told him that we didn’t need his money.
“These are some of the circumstances in which I found myself in the past. I was so much flabbergasted when I was reading Punch of upper Sunday and saw that Jimoh Ibrahim mentioned a lot of things against me. I have written to my Chairman on this whole issue to clear my name, as well as asked for two prayers- to address the press and to also go to court. The Chairman has approved the two. ”
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have never met Jimoh Ibrahim before, the allegations are false and at the appointed time I will take action. Like I said, politicians think that they can always buy everybody, but I told them that the Chairman did not send me to Akure to go and be in favour of a particular candidate.”