Gbolahan Obanikoro, son of the former minister of State for Defense and Foreign Affairs, in this interview, clears the air on allegations against him in respect of the N4.75billion received from the embattled former NSA.
How do you respond to the allegations that you are a director of the company Sylvan McNamara Ltd and signatory to the Diamond account which allegedly received the sum of N4.75B from the National Security Adviser?
I am not and was never a director of this company and neither am I a signatory to its account or any other account related to the entity. My involvement with this company ended as far back as 2013 before all these incidents and before my father was even appointed as a Minister, so any dealings that transpired after that is of absolutely no concern or business of mine. The bank is available to confirm who the signatories to the account are, and the CAC is also available to confirm who the directors of the company are. I am positive the authorities if at all they are investigating this matter will discover this.
The online news platform Sahara Reporters, reported in story that you bought a home in 2014 as soon as the funds were transferred to Sylvan McNamara?
What a coincidence right? And this home according to Sahara also is a hide out. It’s just silly. I bought a home in the United Kingdom in 2008. I built my home in Nigeria in 2010, and I opted to buy a town home in the United States in 2014 during which period my wife had our 3rd child. My focus for almost a decade has always been on business and the private sector and not politics. I have been working hard and fortunate to run a successful business. So it is definitely not out of place for me, and it is most certainly not a crime to buy a house. I’m truly grateful to Almighty Allah for all he has bestowed on me and my family.
The same online news platform alleged the funds transferred to the account were used towards the rigging of the Ekiti State Gubernatorial Elections which the current governor Ayodele Fayose was victorious. How do you respond?
It seems Sahara Reporters is the only news platform doing the reporting doesn’t it? Look its simple, MO and Sahara reporters have their own thing going on. He sued Sahara reporters both in New York and Nigeria in 2014 and since then I guess he’s had his axe to grind with him, and they’ve been going back and forth since then. Their scuffle has been in the public space for a while now. MO is a politician, and in politics all this is fair game. I’ve been roped into it as you can see, my brother also, I wonder who’s next? Unfortunately, at this time in our country, defamatory and libelous reporting or journalism isn’t restricted and anyone can wake up and say anything without proof or facts without any severe repercussion. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality and that is what the likes of Sahara are taking advantage of.
According to the daily newspapers, the EFCC has begun its investigations, and unanimous sources within link you as signatories to the account?
Like I said earlier, my involvement with this company seized way back in 2013, and I challenge anyone to come forth with any evidence contrary to that. But let me say this; Justice is not served if authorities are taunting any information discovered during the course of their investigation to achieve a predetermined outcome. I think government must thread within the confides of the law.
What are your thoughts on the Presidents anti corruption crusade? I have no problems with it at all. I believe it’s every Nigerian’s desire for corruption to be eradicated or at least significantly reduced. Steps have been taking in the past, steps will be taken now, and further steps will be taken even after President Buhari’s administration. Policies like the Cash less system, the BVN etc were all measures taken to tackle this problem prior to the President. He has now introduced additional measures and gradually as our institutions grow, the better grip we’ll have on this problem.
Have these revelations impacted you and your family in any way? Of course! I am a young man with an adorable wife and three beautiful children, so there is a lot at stake for me. Furthermore, as a young business man these types of unguarded allegations and press have undesirable implications on one’s business. But then again, it is not surprising especially for a family like ours. The Obanikoro name is the envy of many from political opponents of my father and brother to personal adversaries. But that’s ok. We are a God fearing Muslim family and a family deeply united with profound love and admiration for one another. We have individually and collectively accomplished a lot and as far as I am concerned the best is yet to come for the Obanikoro’s. Insha Allah