Fresh crisis brewing in PDP over N9bn ‘leftover’

There is tension in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as some party chieftains are calling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the whereabouts of N9 billion allegedly left in the party’s coffers by Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu.

Mu’azu resigned as PDP national chairman on May 20, 2015, in the aftermath of the party’s defeat at the polls, paving the way for his Deputy, Prince Uche Secondus, to take over in acting capacity.

An ex-National Treasurer of the party, Alhaji Buhari Bala, who worked with the Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC), has, however, dispelled the alleged “squander” of the N9b purportedly left behind by Mu’azu.

In a statement yesterday, Bala described the allegation as a move to de-market the candidature of Secondus in the ongoing chairmanship contest ahead of the December 9, national convention.

“An accounting audit firm audited the accounts of the party and expressed their opinion on the accounts. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also sent in their own appointed auditors to inspect the books of the accounts of the party. They all gave clean bill of health to the books of accounts of the party. Same was reported to all relevant organs of the party.

“I, therefore, advice party members not to make the issue of funds and its appropriation a campaign issue in the forthcoming national convention because it would not fly since no party fund was misappropriated,” he said.

But a former Deputy National Legal Adviser of the party, Barrister Bashir Maidugu, who had worked with Mu’azu, Secondus and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, told Daily Trust in a telephone conversation yesterday that when Sheriff took over in February, 2016, to complete Mu’azu’s tenure, he inherited nothing in the treasury and had to source from his personal funds and other party stakeholders to run the party.

“The true position is that Secondus is the one who came and inherited the money and they bought cars for themselves. At one point, they were withdrawing the money anyhow; nobody even knows how they spent it.

“You know the PDP constitution says that you can only act for three months but he acted for close to a year. Remember that it was the money we collected during the appeal fund: a lot of Nigerians gave us cash.

“Most of the pledges were redeemed within the week and PDP had a lot of money. Part of it was spent on the 2015 campaigns and after the elections we still had money. I don’t know whether it’s up to N9bn, but we had a lot of money left.

“So I think the party should involve the EFCC to unravel the issue: we can’t continue like this. How can it be?” he asked.

Similarly, a foundation member of the party from the North, who spoke in confidence, said the N9bn was squandered because some individuals had breached their oath of office as ministers, governors or party officials.

“Secondus claimed that he sent the money to state chairmen for elections. That is his own line of defence, but there is no chairman that has come out to say they had collected the money. All of them said Secondus should either provide the accounts monies were transferred to or signatories where those chairmen collected the money.

“There is no evidence to that effect…This has brought the party to a standstill in terms of finance and created so much disaffection within the leadership of the party,” he said.

On his part, a former National Vice Chairman of the party for the South South, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said Sheriff actually inherited about N40m, which he said could not even pay staff salary for the first month he assumed office.

 

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