PDP Urges Obaseki to Speak on Bribe for Ticket Allegations

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Godwin Obaseki

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

At yesterday valedictory session, the outgoing leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charged Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to immediately provide explanation to Nigerians particularly party members on the processes that led to his nomination as governorship candidate of the party and tell the truth about the allegation of bribery made against the National Working Committee (NWC) members.

Also, the party also narrated how the suspended National Chairman, Uche Secondus, and rejected and reported attempt by a governorship aspirant to bribe the NWC.

This was as the acting National Chairman, Elder Yomi Akinwonmi, said though Secondus-led NWC did well, he did not lead the party to win the 2019 presidential election.

In a veiled reaction on the allegations that some NWC members collected bribe before giving Obaseki ticket, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, while speaking on the tax collector controversy, said: “They are tax collectors. Let them challenge me and I will come out with more facts. Nobody will rubbish me by raising false accusations against me. I will fight back.”

But speaking at the valedictory session, the outgoing National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, of the Secondus-led NWC denied collecting any form of gratification or bribe before clearing and giving the party’s ticket to Obaseki to contest the September 2020 Edo State governorship election.

According to Ologbondiyan at the valedictory session, “Let me state without mincing words that the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, owe the members of this NWC the responsibility of clearing our names before the public.

“I will like to place on record that this NWC did not demand any form of gratification from Obaseki before he got the ticket of our party.

“It is also important to restate that this NWC did not demand any form of ‘tax’ from Obaseki neither did we collect same. He, therefore, owes it a duty to clear our names.”

Ologbondiyan, whose speech was interrupted many times by rounds of applause by his colleagues, insisted that the outgoing NWC had done its best to reposition and rebuild the party resulting in regaining some of the states.

“Before the 2019 elections, we had already added three governors from Sokoto, Kwara, and Benue States. The Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives led a good number of their colleagues to team up with the party. The APC adopted a reckless maximum rigging to snatch Ekiti and Osun States.

“We rebuilt the party in content and character and this made it attractive. We came out of the election with 17 governors, the APC stole Imo State while three governors later left the party to pursue personal endeavours which was not as a result of NWC’s fault.

“The 2018 elective national convention which produced our presidential candidate was adjudged the best. It was keenly contested and not by consensus. At the end, none of the aspirants left the party.

“The NWC carried out reforms that stopped the use of ‘Ghana Must Go’ to win nominations or tickets; restructured the workforce and adopted a smart approach. For many years, the party was unable to conduct online registration of its members. Today we have our members registering online and our party has become digitally prepared ahead of any other party in our country.”

Also, the outgoing National Secretary, Umaru Tsauri, narrated how Secondus called to inform him that a governorship aspirant during the 2019 general election came to bribe members of the NWC, but said: “We rejected the said ‘Kola money’, and asked him to use it to fund his campaign.”

Also, the outgoing acting National Chairman, Akinwomi, said the NWC under Secondus performed creditably, except that “we did not win the 2019 presidential election. We have done our best.”

According to the acting chairman, “Secondus tried his best but could not take us to Aso Rock, but we pray that Iyocha Ayu and his team will take us there.”

In his comments, the outgoing Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, called for the amendment of the PDP constitution to accommodate the deputies of the members of the NWC.

The outgoing deputy national publicity said the best remedy to address the plights of the deputies is to scrap position of deputies or amend the PDP constitution

Also, the National Legal Adviser, Emmanuel Inoidem, stated that the Secondus-led NWC inherited a debt profile of over N3.5 billion, but stated that as they are leaving office, there is no single debt left for the incoming NWC.

At the Court of Appeal, he said PDP won 43 out of 44 cases and won all the party’s cases at Supreme Court.

He explained that PDP handled the cases in house and there are no cases of imposition of candidates and no ‘Ghana must go bags’.