Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State has changed his tune about his allegation that US law enforcement authorities had indicted Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, for her alleged involvement in a financial scam. Mr. Fayose had once stated that Mrs. Buhari could not dare to step foot in the US, asserting that she would be arrested.
However, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in the US a day ago, apparently forcing Mr. Fayose to soft pedal on his unsubstantiated claim that US authorities were seeking to arrest and prosecute her. Mrs. Buhari is in the US to participate in a series of meetings in the Washington, DC area, including a function at the United States Institute of Peace and another event with Nigerian groups.
SaharaReporters learned about Mr. Fayose’s newfound reluctance to sustain his allegations in a conversation with the governor’s spokesman, Lere Olayinka.
Governor Fayose had alleged several times that Mrs. Buhari would dare not visit the US because she was involved in the William J. Jefferson scandal, a bribery scandal that ended the political career of one of Louisiana’s Democratic members of Congress. Former Congressman Jefferson is currently serving a 13-year sentence after he was convicted in US court for charges that included accepting bribes from Nigerian officials.
Without adducing any evidence, Mr. Fayose had publicly contended that Nigeria’s First Lady was the woman who facilitated fraudulent and corrupt transactions in the United States with Mr. Jefferson. However, media investigations and reports by SaharaReporters and the New York Times provided photographic and other evidence that the woman involved in the Jefferson case was not the wife of Nigeria’s president. The woman named in the Jefferson case is an entirely different Aisha Buhari who is still living in the United States.
An investigation by SaharaReporters revealed that Mr. Fayose once had his visa to the US revoked by the American Embassy in Abuja as a result of the governor’s alleged involvement in corrupt practices and sponsorship of violence against his political opponents.
Mrs. Buhari has indicated that she plans to sue Mr. Fayose for defamation on account of his repeated statements.