Yinka Odumakin, is the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere. He was spokesperson to President Muhammadu Buhari when he contested the 2011 presidential election under the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC). In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he denied the allegations of betrayal and inconsistency leveled against him by Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC). Excerpts:

You recently advised Prof. Sagay to resign his appointment as chairman of PACAC if he wants to criticise the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). He just responded to your admonition by saying he has no respect for you because of your inconsistency. He also accused you of dumping Buhari after he lost the 2011 election and pitched tent with former president, Goodluck Jonathan. What is your response to that?

Yes, I just read Professor Sagay’s vituperations now and he told some half-truths and outright lies against my person. First of all, I don’t know whether it is old age when he said that I wrote a book for the PDP. I want him to bring out a copy of the book.

He also said I demonstrated for the PDP. I want to him to state where the events took place in which I participated in demonstrations for PDP. I have never been a member of PDP in my life. I have never campaigned for the PDP. In 2014, preparatory to the 2015 election, yes, I supported former president, Goodluck Jonathan on the basis of his promise to implement the outcome of the 2014 national conference.

If I have that situation again tomorrow, where I have a candidate that says I will restructure Nigeria and another candidate that is keeping silent about it, I will support the candidate that says I will restructure Nigeria. The restructuring I was talking about during the 2015 elections, that is where the country is today. You can see everywhere you go today, every section of the country is demanding that Nigeria must be restructured and the ruling APC has set up a committee on that.

It was on the basis of that restructuring that I worked for President Buhari during the 2011 elections. Go and look at the manifesto of the Buhari/Bakare campaign. The first item on their manifesto is restructuring of the Nigerian federation. That was the basis on which I worked for General Buhari in 2011’.

I worked for General Buhari in 2011 free of charge. I didn’t collect any money or salary from him. He is alive. Although, he gave me a gift at the end of the election, I will not deny that but I never told him ‘this is how much you will pay me’. I never received any salary throughout the period I worked for him.

Prof. Sagay said you came to his house in 2011 with a greeting card and you told him that Buhari is the best man for Nigeria. Did that conversation actually took place?

It was true that I met Prof. Sagay in his house in 2011 when I was General Buhari’s spokesman. But that six months is just a short episode in my public life. When General Buhari campaigned in 2003, it was one Eze that was his media manager. In 2007, it was Sam Nda-Isaiah, publisher of Leadership newspapers that was his spokesman. In 2011, I, Yinka Odumakin was his spokesman. In 2015, he didn’t have any spokesman. If I decided to work for the man during that election, that did not make me his permanent spokesman. I never joined the CPC. In fact, when they wanted to move over to APC, they set up a committee headed by Nasir El-Rufai (now governor of Kaduna state) in which I was a member. I went to Abuja and I told El-Rufai that I am not a member of the party and would not work with the Committee.

How do you respond to the allegations of inconsistency leveled against you?

I think the man Nigeria should be worrying about for his inconsistency is Prof. Sagay. He reminds me of that bird Chichidodo in Ayi Kwei Armah’s book who said that he hates excreta but his best food is maggot. When Prof. Sagay was in private practice, he was defending corrupt persons and fighting the trial against corruption. When the late DSP Alamieyeseigha was arrested for money laundering in London, Prof. Sagay was railing against the British system. When Alamieyeseigha jumped bail, Prof. Sagay said it was an exciting thing. When reminded the action would tarnish Nigeria’s image, he said it was the British government that is embarrassed and not Nigeria.

But when he was made chairman of PACAC, within weeks he said that Alamieyeseigha must be extradited to go and face corruption charges. The same man who was defending Alamieyeseigha is now saying he should be extradited to UK. So, where is his consistency? He sees corruption only in the camp where he is not feeling alright. It is only in Nigeria that such a man will be made to head such a sensitive committee without looking at his background; a man that was openly campaigning for corruption. Now that he has been made the chairman of the advisory committee against corruption, what advice has he given to the president which has helped in the fight against corruption except turning himself into an attack dog, attacking everybody all over the place?

Are you still standing by your earlier statement that it is bad behaviour for Prof. Sagay to be working for APC government yet attacking the party?

I repeat what I earlier said that it shows lack character for Prof. Sagay to feel so bad about the APC yet holds to the appointment from a President the party produced. President Buhari was not an independent candidate for goodness sake!. He came to power through the platform provided by APC. It is morally wrong for Prof. Sagay as an appointee of the president to be attacking the party through which platform the president came to power. If he wants to attack the party, he should leave the place and go to his chambers and be attacking them. He cannot eat his cake and have it at the same time.

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