A former Special Assistant On Media And Publicity to Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Doyin Okupe, has told a court how his former boss paid the spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, N400 million for the party’s publicity effort.
Okupe who appeared on Wednesday as a defence witness in the trial of Mr. Metuh, who is accused of diverting funds meant for the purchase of arms for the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
He said that as the leader of the party, Mr. Jonathan issued money for the party’s activities, and could also ask a subordinate to handle such assignment.
Mr. Okupe said that sometime in November 2014, the leadership of the PDP concerned about the negative perception people had towards the party, had to embark on a project to re-brand the party and position its Public Relations Machinery to appeal to the electorate.
He also said a meeting was called to discuss the matter, which had in attendance party heavyweights; President of the Senate David Mark, Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, and Chief Peter Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State
Mr. Okupe said the former president instructed that Mr. Metuh be paid N400 million for the project. He also said that Mr. Jonathan had great capacity at the time, to raise funds from people.
“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.
“There are people who may not necessarily show their support in public; who privately give their support to the president. Substantial funds became available to the president, which he also made available for projects that he felt would enhance his cause.”
Mr. Okupe said Mr. Metuh and his team of media consultants made a presentation showing what the PR efforts would constitute.
Asked to comment on the bank statement which showed that Mr. Metuh’s company, Destra Investment Ltd., received N400 million at about the same time from the office of the National Security Adviser, for security services, as indicated by the electronic payment schedule of the bank, Mr. Okupe said:
“I don’t know anything about this. It looks strange to me. The president could have paid for the campaign activities himself.”
Responding to questions regarding the stated source of the money, Mr. Okupe said he was not aware of any particular source of the money, except that Mr. Metuh was paid by Mr. Jonathan and that he (Mr. Metuh) also laboured hard to source for funds for the campaign of the party.
The case has been adjourned till Thursday.