The Labour Party’s national treasure, Oluchi Opara, has alleged that corruption and financial mismanagement rocked the party under Julius Abure’s leadership, with billions of naira unaccounted for.
In a news briefing in Abuja on Monday, Ms Opara alleged that Mr Abure, since becoming the party chairman, engaged in activities that undermine the party’s principles.
According to Ms Opara, Mr Abure diverted N55 million of the N3.5 billion earned from the sales of forms and other fundraising activities for the 2023 elections for his personal use.
“Under Mr Abure’s watch, over N3.5 billion was raised from the sale of nomination forms for the 2023 general elections,” stated the treasurer. “However, apart from the proceeds of the sale of forms from his home state of Edo -which was diverted to Mr Abure’s private accounts, he only declared N55 million to me as treasurer, of the over N3.5 billion raised, pocketing the rest for himself.”
The treasurer also claimed that the N958 million the party raised during off-cycle elections last year had “vanished” under Mr Abure’s watch.
“During off-cycle elections in several states last year, the party raised around N958m from nomination forms and donations. These funds have completely vanished under under Mr Abure’s oversight – with zero paper trail,” Ms Opara said.
She added, “His appetite for power has grown unchecked, and he has deliberately undermined my duties and authority as stipulated in the party’s constitution.”
Ms Opara, who also accused Mr Abure of forgery, said the chairman denied her “access to the party’s financial records and bank accounts.”
However, the party’s national publicity secretary, Obiora Ifoh, denied the allegation, saying Ms Opara read a concocted statement drafted by external forces “to tar the image of the party”.
Mr Ifoh, who said Ms Opara’s tenure as the national treasurer ends in a few weeks, claimed no embezzlement issue had been raised earlier about Mr Abure since he became the party’s chairman.
“With the exception of the national treasurer, whose tenure is about to end in a few weeks’ time and who has served for eight years as national treasurer without a single record of party accounts, no other member of the national working committee has raised any issue of embezzlement against our national chairman who made a pledge on the assumption that the party has to be revamped,” said the publicity secretary.
Mr Ifoh also denied Ms Opara’s claims that the party earned N3.5 billion, adding that the Labour Party was under scrutiny by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Let it be said that the Labour Party has not earned N3.5 billion as claimed and that the national chairman has not embezzled any money that belongs to the party as alleged. The records are there, except that Ms Oluchi Opara doesn’t even understand simple accounting, even as a treasurer.
“The party engages an external auditor, and our account is under constant scrutiny by INEC or other regulatory bodies,” he added.
Also refuting the national treasurer’s claims that Mr Abure owned several houses and property, he noted that the party’s disciplinary committee would summon Ms Opara and take measures against her.
Source: Peoples Gazette
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