Questions have been raised over the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to make public the party’s account three months after promising to do so.
Recall that the main opposition had last year been rocked by 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.
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 because they were suspicious.
The party member 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 housing allowance payment.
In October last year, Ayu 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 first anniversary of the National Working Committee led by him.
The Rivers State Governor had, during an interview, accused Ayu of allegedly pocketing N1bn donated by a Lagos businessman, which was never remitted to the party’s treasury.
Bellnewsonline.com reports that 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, have maintained calls for the resignation of the national chairman over the allegation and claims of lopsidedness in the party’s leadership hierarchy.
Speaking to Bellnewsonline.com on why Ayu has yet to keep his promise of making the account public by December, the Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the National Chairman, PDP, 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).”
On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, said, “Go and ask him (Ayu) now. Am I the one who said it (to make the account public); go and ask him.
“I am not the national chairman; go and ask him.”
When contacted to comment on Ayu’s failure to make the PDP account public, Dan 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.
“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.”
Speaking on the matter, a former member of the House of Representatives and Chairman, Publicity and Communications Committee, Rivers State PDP Campaign Council, Ogbonna Nwuke, has criticized Ayu for his refusal to make public the financial records of the party.
Nwuke told Bellnewsonline.com in a telephone conversation that the development confirmed Wike’s position on the national chairman.
He 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.
“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?”
But a PDP chieftain, Sam Ohabunwa, said Ayu had not reneged on his promise of releasing the party’s financial records.
“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,” he said.
“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.”