More Trouble For PDP National Chairman As Candidates Petition Ayu, Others Before EFCC

Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the aegis of the Forum of PDP Candidates and Aspirants for 2023 Elections, have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the national leadership of the party.

The Forum in the petition sent to the EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, alleged among others misappropriation of funds, theft and forgery.

The petition dated September 30, 2022, was jointly signed by the Forum’s Coordinator, Chris Ogbu; Secretary, Dauda Yusuf; and Publicity Secretary, C. Ikenta.

The petitioners in the petition specifically asked the commission to investigate and prosecute the party leaders over allegations of criminal misappropriation of the party’s funds, unlawful disbursement of funds, and bribery and falsification of documents.

SaharaReporters reported last week that four members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) returned about N120 million paid into their accounts by the leadership of the party.

The party officers are the Deputy National Chairman (South) Taofeek Arapaja; National Vice Chairman (South-South), Chief Dan Orbih; National Vice Chairman (South West) and National Women Leader, Prof. Stella Affah-Attoe.

While Arapaja got N36 million of the said money transferred into his bank account, the three others got N28.8 million each.

“I observed a malicious story reported in the Nations Newspaper of 26th September 2022; where it was alleged that members of the National Working Committee were offered humongous amount of money to silent us over an allegation of financial misappropriation to the tune of fifteen billion Naira (N15,000,000,000).

“This led me to browse my phone through various alerts and I discovered a transfer of Thirty-Six million Naira (N36,000,000) from the party. I have personal reservation about the money transferred to my account and for personal reasons wish to return it accordingly,” the letter sent to the party’s national chairman and signed by Arapaja read.

However, the Forum of PDP Candidates and Aspirants listed the embattled National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu and Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Iliya Damagnum, as those to be investigated by the EFCC.

The petition sighted by SaharaReporters on Tuesday lamented that the activities of the party’s leadership have become an international embarrassment.

The petition reads, “It is a matter of national and international embarrassment that the aforementioned members of the National Executive Committee of the Party, without the due authorization of the NEC, has criminally mismanaged and frittered over N10 billion which the party realised from the sale of Nomination Form during the party primaries.

“They had also engaged in various acts of bribery and extortion of candidates without regard to the firm stand of the party in the fight against corruption.

“This allegation is backed up with the recent development of refund of various sums of money by some members of the National Working Committee who unknowingly received the alleged bribe from the trio of Senator Iyorchia Ayu (the National Chairman), Senator Samuel Anyanwu (The National Secretary) and Umar Iliya Damagnum (The Deputy National Chairman (North) into their various account numbers without their consent or authorization.

“Copies of letters returning back the alleged bribe to our party’s account are herein annexed and marked as Exhibit A series.

“It is even more disturbing that after the due nomination of candidates, Senator Iyorchia Ayu (the National Chairman), Senator Samuel Anyanwu (The National Secretary) and Umar Iliya Damagnum (The Deputy National Chairman – North) have now resorted to fraudulently swapping the names of lawfully nominated candidates of the party with names of candidates that lost primaries, all in exchange for bribes and other forms of gratifications.

“Based on the heavy allegations of monumental acts of misappropriation of party funds, financial recklessness, unauthorized disbursements of funds, bribery, forgery, swapping and racketeering of nomination of candidates, abuse of office and gross misconduct in the performance of their respective duties, some members of the National Executive Committee, such as Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja (the Deputy National Chairman – South) has honourably returned the sum of N36 Million illicitly transferred to his bank account without his consent or knowledge in furtherance of the embezzlement so also three other members of NWC whose letters are contained in Exhibit A series above.

“We make bold to state that our great party has never witnessed corruption of this magnitude since its formation and this unfolding show of shame has further damaged the esteemed image and public perception of our Party ahead of the 2023 General Elections.

“There is, therefore, an extremely urgent need, in the overall national and our party’s interest, for your commission to move in immediately and investigate the alleged financial crime of humongous magnitude and possibly charge all that are culpable to the court of competent jurisdiction to serve as a deterrent to others who may have a such plan of commission of same crime ahead of 2023 general election.

“This is not only in the interest of the party but also will save our nation from the national embarrassment before the comity of nations.”

Meanwhile, sources in the PDP Secretariat told SaharaReporters that there is apprehension among party leadership, especially the affected officials over the petition.

With the new development, the crisis in the party appears to have no end in sight.

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