Facts have emerged about events leading up to the approval and disbursements of various sums of money to members of the National Working Committee as well as Secretariat Staff of the Peoples Democratic Party, as Housing allowance.
A document sighted by AttNews revealed that a total of N1.3bn was approved by the party leadership for disbursement.
The decision was a sequel to a memo presented by the party’s National Secretary, Sen. Samuel Anyanwu at an NWC meeting attended by 13 NWC members while 6 members sent in apologies.
The Deputy National Chairman (North), Amb. Illiya Damagun, presided over the meeting because the National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, was abroad.
The document read in part “Housing Allowance for NWC/ Staff: The National Secretary presented a memo requesting NWC to approve the payment of Housing allowance to members of the NWC and the Staff.”
In the comments section, the document read: “The National Vice Chairman NW, suggested that the memo be amended by separating Deputy National Officers from NWC and also said the housing allowance should be approved considering how much it would help members and staff.
“The National Treasurer commended the National Secretary for ensuring that staff were also beneficiaries of the housing allowance.
“The National Auditor suggested that the two year salary set aside should be invested.”
Subsequently, “The NWC approved a total sum of N1 billion, three hundred and seventy-eight million two hundred and eleven thousand, five hundred and eight Naira (N1, 378, 211,506) Only for the payment of Housing Allowance to NWC, Deputy National Officers and Staff.”
Those who sent in apologies were: National Vice Chairman (South East), Chief Ali Odefa, his South South counterpart, Chief Dan Orbi as well as their counterparts from the South West, and North Central, Hon. Olasoji Adagunde and Theophilus Dakas Shan respectively.
Others were: National Woman Leader, Prof. Stella Efface-Attoe and Deputy National Secretary, Setonji Koshoedo.
Recall that four senior members of the NWC namely: Taofeek Arapaja, Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Dan Orbi National Vice Chairman (South-South), Woman Leader, Prof. Stella Efface- Attoe, returned sums ranging from N28.8m to N34m which was paid into their accounts after describing the payments as suspicious.
They each wrote letters addressed to the National Chairman expressing displeasure with a media publication which suggested that the money was paid as a bribe to secure their support in order to cover up an alleged financial impropriety.
However, in the attendance register sighted by Vanguard, Arapaja’s name appeared as number two after that of Damagun who presided over the meeting.
The controversy generated by the refund led to calls by some party leaders for the national chairman to step aside. Others felt it was an orchestrated plot to destabilise the party by making “a mountain out of a molehill.”
There has been tension between party leaders sympathetic to the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and those loyal to the party’s Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar who has remained a pillar of support for Ayu.
While Wike and most of his supporters have withdrawn their support for the Presidential
Campaign insisting Ayu should step aside first, the party’s campaign is expected to be officially flagged off in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday.