BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Disquiet in PDP over ‘Housing Allowance’

...Olugbondiyan says ‘it is normal practice’ …I smell mischief - Ologunagba

As recent allegations of attempts to bribe members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee members continue its ripple effect on the party, Chieftains believe that there is nothing abnormal over the issue.

The development has continued to elicit reactions from the party Chieftains

Some have also described the drama and the various dramatis personae, as an attempt to play to the gallery, by those who have returned the money.

Former National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Olugbondiyan on Friday, expressed fears that the unending crises may weaken the party’s preparations for the 2023 election.

Olugbondiyan, described the fund as “legitimate earnings since the NWC members were not on monthly salaries.”

The move by six out of the 19 NWC members to retune the money is said to have unsettled the party’s top hierarchy.

According to Olugbondiyan, “it is the normal practice in the party to discuss such issues with everyone in attendance while minutes if meetings were usually taken before such money shared.

He added that “It is strange that people are talking about the money legitimately earned as if it were a bribe.”

A member of the NWC who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, berated the party’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu for not calling a meeting of the NWC to debate the “sharing” of the money before disbursements were made.

“This issue has assumed this dimension, because no meeting was called for this purpose of deliberating and discussing the issue, before disbursements were made.”

But this assertion was debunked by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Olugunagba, who insisted that the disbursement passed through the necessary due process.

“This money passed through all necessary due process before disbursements were made.

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“Ologunagba revealed that “this money was paid three weeks ago, why did it take them so long to notice that it was in their account, secondly, why did they returned the money through bank drafts from another bank, different from the banks the monies were paid into and lastly, why did they not also return the ones we paid to their aids, or did we also bribe those ones too?”

The party’s image maker, who insisted that the party did a proper analysis in the statement covering the disbursements, wondered why the party NWC members are bent on rubbishing what they had struggled to build.

The issue of financial misdemeanor first came to public knowledge when a member of the Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Chinemerem Madu, first raised alarm over an alleged plot to scuttle the campaign of the party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Madu, in what appeared to be a preemptive attempt to divert attention from the real issue, had fingered an unnamed National Vice Chairman of the party as the brain behind the plot.

He also alleged that “the National Vice Chairman, whose name he didn’t mention, has confessed to have been heavily bankrolled.”

According to him, “Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are alerted of furtive moves by a compromised National Vice Chairman and a couple of members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to derail our Presidential Campaign and scuttle the deserving victory of our Presidential Candidate, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar at the 2023 general elections.

“This National Vice Chairman and his cohorts who confessed to have been heavily bankrolled are approaching and offering members of NEC sums ranging from N25 million to N28 million each to address a damaging press conference with fabrications aimed at derailing the Presidential Campaign.

“The said National Vice Chairman had approached me personally as a member of NEC to inform me of plots to orchestrate a heavily funded Press Conference to be addressed by select NEC members seemingly calling for the resignation of the National Chairman, Sen. Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, but actually targeted at frustrating the Atiku Abubakar Presidential bid.

“He pointedly confessed to me that the demands and agitation of his group has not been against the Party Chairman, as the public have been made to believe, but against Atiku Abubakar.

“He also vowed that nothing will assuage the group which is now bent at derailing the PDP Presidential Campaign.”

Disclosing when the plot will be hatched, the NEC member said that it would be carried out soon after the inauguration of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and official commencement of campaigns.

He said: “Central to this plot is the timing of the damaging press conference, which has been scheduled to hold soon after the inauguration of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and official commencement of campaigns with a view to unsettle the PDP Presidential Campaign and scuttle Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential bid.

“Part of the scheme is to use the press conference to throw up heavily concocted script which will contain unprintable damaging claims, assertions and allusions that will trigger confusion within the Party and sidetrack the Presidential Campaign

“The said National Vice Chairman informed me of how huge sums have been paid to certain media houses and social media influencers to isolate and escalate the damaging content of the press content and throw up negative narratives to frustrate the campaign.

“As a loyal and very dedicated Party man, I am obliged to alert PDP leaders, members, supporters and the general public and expose this furtive scheme against Atiku Abubakar, which is completely against the national interest.”

He warned the PDP members and the general public to be alert, adding that any NEC member involved in such a press conference had obviously fallen to the juicy financial offer by the said National Vice Chairman and his paymasters.

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