Four members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, have returned the sum of N122.4 million paid into their accounts by the party leadership.
The refunds were made amidst allegations that the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, allegedly bribed the NWC members to cover financial misappropriation of over 10billion raised from sales of nomination forms by aspirants.
The committee members who returned the money are the national vice chairman, South-West, Olasoji Adagunodo; the deputy national chairman, South, Taofeek Arapaja; national vice chairman, South, Dan Orbih and; national women leader, Stella Affah-Attoe.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that, Mr Arapaja got N36 million, while Messrs Orbih, Effah-Attoe and Adagunodo got N28.8 million each.
But in separate letters addressed to the national chairman, dated September 29 2022, the top party officials notified the chairman of their decision to refund the money after “embarrassing media reports”.
Mr Orbih’s letter reads, “My attention has been drawn to a damaging trending story reported in THE NATION Newspaper by Yusuf Alli on September 26, 2022 titled ‘Disquiet in PDP NW over N10 billion nomination fees’.
“Amongst several other allegations, he [Yusuf Alli] alleged that members of the NWC were offered N28 million to gloss over scandalous financial misappropriation.
“To my shock and surprise, it has been confirmed to me by my bank that the sum of N28, 800,000. (Twenty eight million eight hundred thousand Naira) has been credited to my account by the party. I hereby notify you of my decision to pay back the money to the party’s account.
“Kindly confirm receipt of Zenith Bank Manager’s cheques of: N10,000,000, N10,000,000, N8,800,000. TOTAL = N28,800,000 to the Party’s account. A/C: 1000095003, Globus Bank PLC.”
In a similar letter by the national vice chairman Southwest, Mr Adagunodo wrote, “Please be informed that the said payment has become a subject of media story and carried with bad intention by them.
“I hereby inform you of the refund of the Sum of Twenty Eight Million Eight Hundred Thousand Naira (#28,800,000:00) back to the Peoples Democratic Party, Account Number: 1000095003 at Globus Bank PLC. The receipt of the payment back to the account is attached.”
On her part, the national women leader said when N28,800,000,00 was credited to her account, she reached out to the national chairman and was told the money was for her two years house rent as NWC member, unfortunately the money has become subject of controversy in the media.
“Since after the lodgment of the money into my Bank Account, I have been inundated with many phone calls from Party members, friends, family members and the general public, insinuating that the said money has been given as a Bribe to bring me and other NWC members on the side of The National Chairman, following the crisis between him on one side and the Governor of Rivers State, H.E Governor Nyesom Wike/ Wike’s Group on the other side.
“In addition, some National Newspapers/Social Media Platforms have also carried stories accusing the NC members of being placated with Bribe of N28,800,000.00”.
“This development has made me very uncomfortable. Having found myself in such an embarrassing situation, I am hereby refunding to the Bank Account of our Great Party at the PDP National Secretariat.”
On his part, Arapaja wrote, “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 Nara (N15,000,000,000.00).
“This led me to browse through my various alerts, and I discovered a transfer of Thirty-Six Million Naira (N36,000,000.00) from the Party.
“I have my reservation about this money transferred into my account and for personal reasons wish to return it accordingly.”