PDP crisis: Party workers open fresh can of worms
The crisis rocking the opposition party Peoples Democratic Party took a new turn on Friday as its workers further accused the members of the party’s National Working Committee of being “too corrupt.”
The angry workers also accused the NWC members of demanding N1bn bribe from the Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, before giving him the party’s governorship ticket.
Governorship election will hold in Kogi State in the last quarter of the year.
The workers also alleged further that the NWC members demanded and received N750m bribe from Mr. Ndudi Elumelu with a promise to give him the PDP governorship ticket in Delta State early in the year.
Our correspondent learnt that the money was returned to Elumelu after ex-President Goodluck Jonathan got wind of the incident.
These and other allegations were made at a press briefing organised by the workers at Wadata Plaza headquarters of the PDP in Abuja.
The PUNCH had, in two exclusive stories, revealed the plan by the NWC to sack 50 per cent of its workers and also cut the salaries of those to be retained by the same percentage. In response, the workers accused members of the NWC of squandering N12bn in nine months.
The money was said to have been realised from the sales of nomination forms during the contest for elective offices in the party in 2014.
The workers said this in their response to the letter sent to them by the party’s National Secretary, Prof. Wake Oladipo, on Wednesday.
Oladipo had, in the letter, informed the workers about the decision of the NWC to cut cost and that even those to be retained must also bring a letter of certification from their state chapters of the party before they could be absorbed.
Asking how a buoyant party with more than N12bn could become beggary in just nine months, the workers said all the members of the NWC, led by its Acting National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus, must either resign or be sacked.
They said the political fortunes of the party under the current leadership of the NWC had dwindled and that in order to save the party, Secondus and other NWC members must resign. The workers, who were led by their leaders, Ngozi Ezeh (chairman), and Dan Ochu-Baiye (secretary), said at the press conference that the members of the NWC were in a mission to kill the once buoyant and popular party.
Ochu-Baiye said, “It is no longer news that the political fortunes of the PDP have continued to dwindle since the coming on board of the present NWC in March 2012.
“The party under the current leadership of Secondus as Acting National Chairman and Prof. Wale Oladipo as National Secretary has been systematically and deliberately dismembered and it is being led to the morgue in preparation for its final burial.
“Never in the glorious history of our great party has its fortunes been so hopelessly mismanaged by an inept and dishonest group whose sworn mission is to permanently destroy and liquidate the lofty organisation that facilitate the current democratic dispensation.
“The current NWC members are only hanging on because of the obscene and bizarre bazaar which they have subjected the purse of the party to.”
The workers alleged that the many atrocities committed by the NWC members were responsible for the abysmal performance of the party during the last general elections.
They said, “We make bold to say that responsibility for the abysmal outing of the party should be located directly at the doorstep of the NWC members due to the following reasons: Criminal imposition of unpopular candidates and mind boggling extortion of aspirants.
“An example here is the yet to be resolved allegation by Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, who paid whopping N750m to the NWC to obtain the governorship ticket of the party in Delta State. There are many other victims.
“The same scenario is being played out in Kogi State while Bayelsa State is in the wings. In Kogi, it is widely alleged that the incumbent governor was requested to cough out the sum of N1bn to the same NWC to retain his ticket.”
The workers also accused the NWC of non-release of campaign funds to state chapters and embezzlement of proceeds of sales of nomination forms. They said there was no way any political party could undergo a high level of tortuous mismanagement and would still win elections.
The workers said the NWC members must tell members of the party why they compelled delegates to pay the sum of N10, 000 each into a private account of a company called Morufi Nigeria Limited.
“We are aware that over N1bn was realised from this fraudulent exercise,” they added, calling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to arrest and investigate the NWC members for the alleged fraud.
They asked if it was the same PDP that was once led by Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Chief Solomon Lar, Chief Barnabas Gemade, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Dr. Amadu Ali.
“Is the party still as formidable as when it was led by Prince Vincent Eze Ogbulafor and the erudite Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo? Is it the same Party that was victoriously managed by Dr. Haliru Mohammed?” the workers asked.
They also accused the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, of engaging in anti-party activities.
They alleged that when Metuh lost in his ward and polling booth in the November 16, 2013 governorship election in Anambra State, he openly campaigned for and supported the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance against the PDP.
“He again lost his ward and polling booth in the state Assembly elections of April 11, 2015,” the workers said.
But Metuh dismissed workers’ allegations and described them as baseless.
He said the PDP workers were being sponsored by the All Progressives Progress.
Metuh said, “Their (the workers) call is baseless, falsehood and contrived. They are only playing out the script they were handed by the opposition, the APC.
“Our party is aware of plots by the APC to infiltrate our members and create confusion within the party and that is what these aggrieved staffers are doing.
“How come it is now that the PDP has become a thorn in the flesh of the ruling APC and its government at the centre that these kind of internal protest are sprouting.
“The real issue is for the Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, to resign and also for the acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Amina Zakari, to quit.”
The Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada, told one of our correspondents that it was untrue that members of the NWC of the PDP demanded a bribe of N1bn from him so that they would facilitate or give him ticket as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming election in the state.
In a response by his spokesperson, Mr. Eddy Jacob, the governor advised those making such allegations to find a way to address their problem and stop dragging his name in their internal problem.
Jacob said, “The allegation is false. If the workers of PDP have issues, they should find a way of addressing them and should not drag the person of Capt Idris Wada into what is an internal crisis in the party.
“It is unconceivable that they will make such allegation against Wada. Wada is prepared to face the election and would not accept victory other than through voting process. So I do not know where they are coming from. I advise them not to drag Wada’s name into what I think is an internal party issue”
Elumelu, when contacted over the telephone, declined to comment on the issue, saying he would only entertain questions in a face-to-face discussion.
He said, “I usually don’t talk to the press on phone; I prefer face-to-face communication. I picked the call because I always give people respect by picking their calls.”