Money Laundering: Doyin Okupe withdraws from Peter Obi’s campaign

A day after his conviction for money laundering, Doyin Okupe Tuesday announced his withdrawal from the campaign of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party.

Until his conviction and eventual resignation, Mr Okupe, 70, was the Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Organisation. He announced his resignation on Tuesday evening using his well-known Twitter handle.

“It’s time to step aside. But I am with PO and the Obidients and the Presidential Campaigns till God gives us victory in Jesus Name (sic),” tweeted Mr Okupe, reiterating his support for Mr Obi (“PO”) and supporters (“Obidients”).

In a letter attached to the tweet, Mr Okupe wrote to Mr Obi recalling a discussion both politicians had about the conviction, which the former called “personal travails”.

“You will recall I briefed you yesterday about my personal travails in seeking justice and clearing my name using the Nigerian Legal System to pursue same,” he wrote.

“I have invested too much energy in your campaign to allow my personal travails to become a source of distraction.

“In the circumstance, I have opted to step aside and plead that you appoint a new Campaign DG, who can continue the assignment with zero distractions.”

Mr Okupe’s conviction on Monday by the Federal High Court in Abuja followed his prosecution by the anti-graft agency EFCC for money laundering to the tune of N700 million. He illicitly received money from former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki Sambi from the funds meant for arms procurement. EFCC charged.

He was jailed for two years but the judge placed an option of a fine of N13 million, which he took and avoided time in prison.

Mr Okupe, a trained physician, is a veteran politician, who was the spokesperson for the Third Republic National Republican Party in the early 1990s.

He was twice a presidential spokesperson, working for Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.

His conviction for money laundering appeared as a setback for the Obi campaign, whose main thrust has been accountability and a break from the old order.

But supporters have hailed his resignation.