- Ruling party dismisses allegations
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop lying to Nigerians over alleged move by the ruling party to mop up N250 million from its governors to fund the activities of its convention.
The opposition party accused APC of attempting to divert N6bn meant for the development of states under their control to finance their forthcoming national convention.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said it was unbecoming that an administration that has been accusing others of corruption and publishing fabricated â€˜lootersâ€™ listsâ€™ would try to deceive Nigerians and divert public attention from their sleazes.
â€œAPC is corrupt. Our investigation revealed that many of the APC governors are being coerced under the orders of the presidency and the leadership of the party to move in huge sums of money in cash into the APC coffers, bulk of which have already been frittered away by corrupt leaders in the party and agents of the presidency.
â€œMore saddening is that the money is being pulled from funds derived from federal bailouts and other monies budgeted for critical development projects in various communities, many of which have now been stalled, leaving the people deprived and impoverished.
â€œIt is appalling that this is the same party and administration that have been accusing others of corruption and publishing fabricated â€˜lootersâ€™ listsâ€™ just to deceive Nigerians and divert public attention from their sleazes.
â€œWe challenge the APC to publish the names of the governors, ministers and other APC political office holders, who have already brought in money as well as inform the nation on why they are moving the money in cash contrary to financial regulations, if the source is not proceeds of corrupt activities.
PDP said the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari have refused to open up on the sources of funds for their very expensive 2015 presidential campaign, which have been revealed to have been stolen from states under their control.
â€œThis time, they are again coercing governors to steal money meant for development and payment of salaries to finance their 2019 campaign.
â€œWhat many Nigerians are yet to know is that the APC actually plans to rake in a total of N14 billion from government coffers, out of which it has already planned to procure expensive cars for their national officers as well as share to their leaders close to President Buhari.
PDP further said that its findings showed that the N671 million recently reported to have been stolen from APC account by some national officers who allegedly moved the sum to their private accounts is linked to diverted public funds.
â€œThere is documentary evidence and the APC has failed to offer explanations to Nigerians on that.
â€œThe APC reeks and is completely guilty as it reasonably ought to have known that the funds it has been receiving form part of illegal activities of government officials who have been diverting funds from states and government agencies, particularly the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to fund the wasteful lifestyle of their party leaders and the 2019 re-election bid,â€ PDP said.
On its part, the PDP said it has reformed and re-branded, as a political party, and remained open. It challenged the APC to declare same.
After denying the allegations last Saturday, the APC again yesterday dismissed it.
It said it never asked its governors to contribute N250 million each to enable it organised the forthcoming congresses and convention.
The party in a statement issued by it National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi,Â explained that what transpired during the meeting of the National Working Committee (NWC) and the governors of the party held at the partyâ€™s secretariat last Thursday was that many of its governors were behind schedule in the payment of their party dues.
According to the spokesman, while some of the governors have been up-to-date with the payments, a few others have not paid at all.
He said the governors were therefore requested to pay up, especially in view of upcoming party activities.
â€œIt is therefore possible that a governor that falls in the category of those that has not paid since inception could owe up to N250million. Therefore, it is grossly misleading, if not downright malicious, for your report to simply apply this sum to everyone and multiply by the number of governors.
â€œFor avoidance of doubts, party dues are paid by all members of the party holding positions, either by election or appointment. Therefore, members of the National Assembly as well as cabinet ministers also remit a percentage of their earnings to the party
Meanwhile, the ruling party has made public its audited account for the 2015 election year.
The audited account which was obtained by THISDAY at the weekend, APC puts its total expenditure for year 2015 at N2,382,669,973. Regarding the election expenses, APC said it spent N676,078,349 during the 2015 elections.