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Controversial allowance: Ayu fails to make PDP account public

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It is three months after the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, promised to make the account of the party public and he has yet to do so.

Naijablitznews.com reports that Ayu had in October last year promised to make public the income and expenditure account of the party public by December after its presentation to the National Executive Committee to mark the one-year anniversary of the National Working Committee led by him.

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The National Chairman made the pledge following accusations of mismanagement of party funds by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who also alleged illegal payment of housing allowance to members of the NWC and members of staff at the party’s secretariat.

The controversy that the accusation generated resulted in the subsequent return of the alleged illegal funds to the party’s coffers by those affected.

In total, the sum of N1.3bn was approved by the party’s leadership for disbursement to the beneficiaries.

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The decision was sequel to a memo presented by the party’s National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, at a meeting attended by 13 members of the NWC, while six members sent in apologies.

The Deputy National Chairman (North), PDP, Ambassador Illiya Damagun, presided over the meeting as Ayu was said to have travelled out of the country.

The document read in part: “Housing Allowance for NWC/ Staff: The National Secretary presented a memo requesting (the) NWC to approve the payment of housing allowance to members of the NWC and the staff (members).

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“The National Vice Chairman, NW, suggested that the memo be amended by separating the deputy national officers from (the) NWC and also said the housing allowance should be approved considering how much it would help members (of the NWC) and staff (members).

“The National Treasurer commended the National Secretary for ensuring that staff (members) were also beneficiaries of the housing allowance.

“The National Auditor suggested that the two-year salary set aside should be invested.

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“Subsequently, the NWC approved a total sum of one billion, three hundred and seventy-eight million, two hundred and eleven thousand, five hundred and eight naira (N1,378,211,508) only for the payment of housing allowance to the NWC, deputy national officers and staff (members).”

Following Wike’s allegation, the Deputy National Chairman (South), Taofeek Arapaja; National Vice Chairman (South-South), Chief Dan Orbih; and National Women Leader, Prof Stella Affah-Attoe, returned sums ranging from N28.8m to N34m paid into their accounts on the grounds that they were suspicious.

They each wrote to Ayu and expressed their displeasure with a media publication suggesting that the money was paid as a bribe to secure their support. The national chairman, however, denied that the payment was a bribe and said the NWC members collectively agreed to the payment of the housing allowance.

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Following the controversy Wike and his allies insisted on the resignation of the national chairman over the allegation and claims of lopsidedness in the party’s leadership hierarchy.

Wike and his allies, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; Abia State Governor, Ikeazu Ikpeazu; and Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, maintained that for equity justice and fairness the national chairman had to step aside for a southern chairman.

The Rivers governor had also accused Ayu of allegedly pocketing N1bn donated by a Lagos businessman, which was never remitted to the party’s treasury, an allegation the national chairman denied.

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When contacted on why Ayu had yet to make the account public as promised, the Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the National Chairman, PDP, Mr Simon Imobo-Tswam, said he had yet to get details from his principal.

Imobo-Tswam stated, “I don’t have that information yet; let the spokesman (of the PDP) speak on it; it is not his (Ayu’s) personal account that is to be published, it is the party’s account.

“I am in the village as we speak; I am bereaved; so, you can talk to him (party’s spokesman).”

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When one of our correspondents contacted the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, he said “Go and ask him (Ayu) now. I am the one who said it (to make the account public); go and ask him.

“I am not the national chairman; go and ask him.”

On his part, Orbih stated, “Go and ask him (Ayu); what is my business with him publishing the account or not publishing it; I don’t comment on these types of issues.

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“Meet the national chairman and ask him why he has not published the accounts, and not me. Ask other party members. I am an NWC member and not the one you should ask.”

A NEC member and Enugu State branch Chairman of the PDP, Augustine Nnamani, said he was not granted permission to speak on the matter.

“I am not authorised to make any statement on the issue please; I am not the appropriate person to talk about it,” he said.

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The national chairman had set up a committee headed by the National Legal Adviser, Kamaldeen Ajibade, to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations of inducement of the NWC members.

Ologunagba had in a statement said, “The NWC at its meeting on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, thoroughly examined the surprising publication by a peculiar newspaper, which reported that the housing allowance legally paid by the party to its national officials was a bribe.”

Meanwhile, a former member of the House of Representatives and chieftain of the PDP, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, has criticised Ayu for his refusal to make public the financial records of the party.

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He said the development confirmed Wike’s position on the national chairman.

The former Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications said, “This (Ayu) is a man who does not live up to his commitments.

“He said if a northerner emerged the presidential candidate of the party, he would gladly step aside as the national chairman and give space to the South. He did not.

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“He has said that he was going to declare the financial records of the PDP, but he has not. So what advice do you want to give to a man who is unwilling to play by the rules?”

However, a PDP chieftain, Sam Ohabunwa, said Ayu had not reneged on his promise of releasing the financial records of the party.

Ohuabunwa said that the PDP was a well-set-up organisation with its procedures and systems.

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He stated, “It has its accounting protocol. Assuming the year ends in December in any company, it cannot be on the second day of January that the account will be ready.

“When the year ends, it takes some time to get returns from all the chapters and branches of any organisation.

“Then you prepare your account. After this, you bring in an auditor who will do his job and then, you present it to the organ of the party from the National Working Committee, the National Executive Council, and the Board of Trustees before it becomes a public document. Ayu cannot make an account and bring it to the public the same day.”

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Credit : The Punch

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Politics

Tinubu calls for calm on naira notes, fuel scarcity

Tinubu
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By Francesca Iwambe, Abuja

The All Progressives Congress, APC Presidential Candidate, Chief Bola Tinubu has called on Nigerians to be calm co learning the scarcity of the new naira note.

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He asked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN not to be “dogmatic” in the deadline fixed for the old Naira notes to stop being legal tender.

In a press statement signed by the APC Presidential Campaign Council Director of Media & Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu said, the masses are the ones suffering from the unintended consequence of the CBN demonetisation policy.

While appealing to Nigerians to stay calm, the APC Presidential Candidate further urged citizens to Nigerians to shun all acts that may destabilise the country in the face of the new naira and fuel scarcity that the country is facing.

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He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for the fuel supply relief being enjoyed in the Federal Capital Territory and urged the company to step up its act to bring relief round the country.

The APC Presidential Candidate promised to unite the country and improve the economy and security if elected.

“This is a challenging period in the life of our country when our people are made to stay on the line for hours to get fuel and even get their own money from the banks.

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“I empathise with Nigerians across the country especially the poor masses who have been made to bear the brunt and pains of the CBN Naira policy and fuel scarcity the most.

“While government continues to work to solve these problems, let’s stay calm, maintain the peace and continue to shun and avoid any act capable of causing civil unrest and disharmony.

“What the opposition and enemies of democracy want is to create a state of national siege and tension that can disrupt the coming general elections and create an atmosphere of strife in our country.

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“We must say no to them. We must be resolute and stand firm to protect our democracy by ensuring we hold our elections in a peaceful and orderly manner.

“I am in this race to bring renewed hope and prosperity to all Nigerians.

“There are no challenges that will be difficult for us as a people to surmount when we stand in unity of purpose.

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“When you elect me, I will work to ensure security, economic prosperity, national unity and cohesion and we will together build a country that will be a source of joy to us all and a pride to every black person everywhere in the world,” Tinubu said.

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Politicians enticing LP members with millions, says Utomi

Labour , Utomi
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A political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Tuesday said that politicians in some political parties were enticing officials of the Labour Party with millions of Naira to facilitate their defection before the presidential election scheduled for February 25.

While blaming politicians for the challenges confronting Nigeria, he said that the country had failed to build real political parties.

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Utomi, convener of The Big-Tent, a coalition of political parties, social movements, and civil society organisations, in support of the presidential ambition of Peter Obi, stated these during the unveiling of the Independent Campaign Council Secretariat of TBT.

According to him, Nigerian youths that were tired of the terrible state of the country, discovered Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, adding that the LP would focus on improving the life of ordinary Nigerians, rather than serving the selfish interest of a few powerful elites.

“The focus of power over purpose has led to transactions of nature where people don’t seem to matter.

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“As we speak, right now, some of those political parties have been paying millions and millions to Labour Party officials to decamp and join them. But they still forget that what we need is a new Nigeria that our children can live in happily without insecurity,” he stated.

While accusing the All Progressives Congress of lacking ideology, Utomi said the party appeared to have only set out to grab power.

He assured that if elected, Obi would move Nigeria from a consuming nation to producing nation.

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Utomi said, “Our country needs to be renewed. It is easy to blame anybody for the problems of Nigeria, but it’s time to forge ahead, look ahead and forget yesterday. The naked truth is that yesterday has been costly, extremely costly.

“The country that was bequeathed to us by our founding fathers was a great country of promise. I am fond of reminding people of 1960.

“Obi talks all the time about going from consumption to production. But we started in 1960 with production.

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“I like to remind people all the time that our founding fathers looked at their endowments and realized that the main reason Nigeria was colonized was the extraction of raw materials to move to Europe. But the colonialists did not bother or try at all to industrialise Nigeria.

“Indeed, at the time of self-government, there were technically two factories in Nigeria.

“However, the pace with which the young men and women who began to take charge in 1956/57 and the speed with which they moved us to production was unbelievable. I believe we can still achieve the same form of transition.

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“Central to the challenge of development that we have is our failure to build real political parties. I believe, that was the beginning of the founding of the APC.

“In the founding of the APC, they focused on grabbing power over purpose which prevented a real political party from emerging and we’ve seen the damages that’s done to Nigeria.”

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Politics

Nobody Will Get Buhari’s 1.9m Kano Votes Of 2015 – LP’s Baba-Ahmed

Datti , Obi
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The vice-presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Datti Baba-Ahmed, has said the over 1.9 million votes President Muhammadu Buhari got in Kano State during the 2015 presidential election will not be won by any one candidate in the forthcoming election.

With 1,903,999 votes, Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated the Peoples Democratic Party’s Goodluck Jonathan who had 215,779 votes in the North’s most populous state.

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“The northern Nigerian votes that were waiting to make up the difference which either of the two other runners-up were hoping to get, [it] turned out that they are not getting it,” Baba-Ahmed said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s special election programme The 2023 Verdict on Tuesday.

“The heavy punchers – Kano, for example – is now a watershed of what its votes used to be. In 2015, the 1.9 million votes of Kano, nobody can aspire to have that which of course Buhari punched Jonathan with the final blow. Nobody is going to get that in Kano.”

The LP vice presidential candidate argued that other battle zones in the North are Kaduna and Katsina.

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Other factors he believed were working in his party’s favour include the rise of the youth in his home state of Kaduna, the increasing awareness of uniting Nigeria, and the non-indigenes all over Northern and Central Kaduna.

“We have pulled a lot of weight beyond the comprehension of the two runners-up,” he added.

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