After initial denial, elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai has confirmed that Chief Tony Anenih gave him and eight other prominent Northerners N53 million for advocacy visit to northern traditional rulers.
Yakasai said he received the money after Anenih had asked him to suggest nine apolitical but respected individuals from the north who will help mobilize their subjects for hitch free 2015 general election.
In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, Yakassai said that “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.”
One of the named beneficiaries, Chief John Mankilik has denied knowledge of the source of the money.
The former Special Adviser to President Shehu Shagari declared that the N53m disbursed to his team by the former Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) leader catered for the group’s members allowances, transportation and accommodation on a tour that took them to 18 states in the north.
Yakasai, who vehemently denied linkage between the fund and campaigns for former President Jonathan, listed former minister of state, Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mamman Anka, Barrister Bitrus Gwada and Alhaji Suleiman Lawal as beneficiaries of Anenih’s largesse.
Other top respected northern individual, according to him that benefited from the largess included Dr Bahago, Chief John Macklink from Plateau, and Senator Sodangi.
Yakasai had last week denied ever receiving financial patronage from the Jonathan administration in an interview with Vanguard.
He 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.”
Yakasai, who celebrated his 90th birthday last year disclosed that they visited the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, the emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris and the emir of Gwandu.
Others visited were the emirs of Anka, Ilorin, Nassarawa, Minnie, Bauchi, Zuru, Kebbi, Katsina, Dutse, Hadejia and representatives of emir of Daurawa.
Also visited were the Tor Tiv, the Gwom Gbom Jos, Ohimege Igu, Kotonkarfe, Etsu of Abaji, Etsu Nupe and Atta Igala.
But the Secretary of the Committee, Chief John Mankilik, when contacted by Vanguard yesterday denied knowing the source of the fund or how it was spent.
According him, “I was in the Committee, he (Yakassai) was the Chairman and I was the Secretary. He never gave me any money except when we were traveling, he only gave us the money we needed for the journey.
“He never told me the source of the money or how he was spending it, he was the one who knew everything, he should explain how he spent whatever was given to him.”