All is not well with the Enugu state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC over disagreement among stakeholders on the non-release of about N1.3 billion meant to pay delegates to the last National Convention and Special Presidential Convention of the party.
The development came as some members of the state chapter on Monday stormed the national secretariat of the party in protest against the state chairman and the governorship candidate.
The crisis is threatening preparations for the presidential rally of the party slated for January 11 in Enugu.
According to the protesters who submitted a written petition to the Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee NWC of the party, both the state chairman of the party, Ugochukwu Agballah and the governorship candidate, Uche Nnaji must be made to give financial account of the party in the state.
This was as both men denied the allegations, saying the state chapter has not received the said funds from the national leadership.
Fidelis Edeh, Director-General of Nwakaibie Uche Nnaji Campaign Organization, told journalists that the onus is on the national secretariat of APC to confirm if such funds were released.
“APC should be the one to confirm and not the candidate,” he said.
Enugu State APC chairman, Agballah, said the claims made were untrue, insisting that they were yet to be mobilized financially by the national leadership.
“We are yet to get any money. The governorship candidate is the person funding the campaigns,” he said.
However, leader of the protesters and Chairman, Concerned Members of Enugu State APC, Comrade Adolphus Ude and chairman, said there had been “impunity, gross misconduct, fraudulent administration, embezzlement of party funds, and impunity being perpetrated by the state chairman and the governorship candidate.”
Ude who doubles as chairman, “Mainstream Enugu APC” and pioneer deputy chairman of the party in the State, said the national secretariat must get the duo to explain how the sum of N283 million meant for the expression of interest and nomination forms was spent.”
He said the money was to ensure that the party fields candidates for the governorship, and all the National Assembly and State Assembly seats in Enugu State to shore up her fortunes and also ensure that the party secures at least 25% of votes cast in the 2023 presidential election in the State.
They further contended that the sum of $1.5 million (N1.050 billion) being allowances for Enugu State delegates to the 2022 national convention and presidential convention has not been paid to the delegates.
Speaking further, he said: “These and related matters such as the irregular and controversial emergence of the new state executive, which are also before the courts, were laid before the national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, while he was the chairman of the APC Reconciliation Committee.
“Our notable party leaders in the state were also on a protest visit to the national leadership in August 2022 where they submitted a petition calling for the removal of Ugochukwu Agballah as the State party chairman and appointment of a Caretaker Chairman to save the state chapter of the party from destruction and disgrace. The signatories and delegation included; Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sullivan Chime, former Governor of Enugu State; Barr. Eugene Odo, former Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly; Ambassador Christian Ugwu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Poland, among many others.
“Although the chairman promised to look into the issues, we can understand that pressing party matters such as the national convention and presidential primary, overseeing the various primary elections and the party’s preparations for the 2023 general election, which he had to undertake immediately after his election as the national chairman must have preoccupied him.
“Unfortunately, all the issues we forewarned against and more are happening in the Enugu State chapter of the party and we believe that unless urgent and drastic steps are taken, the party faces a disastrous and scandalous outing in the state in the forthcoming general election.
“There is also the issue of hijack of the funds provided for preparation for the forthcoming 11th January 2023 presidential rally in Enugu and visit by our presidential candidate, Awiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima.
“Although serious damage has already been done to the party by the duo of Agballah and Nnaji, who in the real sense are not interested in the wellbeing and victory of the APC, but only in making brisk business at the expense of our party, we believe that the national leadership of the party; our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu; his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; and our President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, could still work with the leaders and mainstream of the APC to remedy the situation before the general election.
“We are calling for the immediate removal of Agballah as the chairman of the APC in Enugu State and the appointment of a Caretaker Chairman to pilot the party through the 2023 general election.
“We call on the national leadership of the party to cause Agballah and Nnaji to immediately make available to the state’s delegates to the national convention and presidential primary election the allowances totaling about $1.5 million given to them.
“We call on the national leadership of the APC to cause Agballah and Nnaji to immediately account for the sum of N283 million released to them for the expression of interest and nomination forms for all the elective offices in Enugu in the 2023 general election.
“We call on the national leadership of the party to cause Agballah and Nnaji to release the funds made available for the preparations for the forthcoming presidential rally in Enugu.
“As loyal party members, we re-emphasize the need to address with dispatch these issues raised in our protest letter submitted here in order to reposition our party for resounding impact in the presidential election in the Enugu State.”
Elections: Cultists Masking As Party Support Groups In Rivers, Says Wike
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Monday said some party support groups in the state are a vehicle for thuggery and cult activities sponsored by disgruntled politicians ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Wike’s remarks follow reports that about 30 members of the Atiku Support Organisation were arrested by armed policemen during a meeting in the state capital.
The governor, in a state broadcast, called on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the state, which he said are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
“We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores,” he said.
“Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.”
The governor also called attention to the presence of “desperate politicians” whom he said are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
“I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
“Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State,” Wike added.
See the full transcript below:
STATE BROADCAST BY
HIS EXCELLENCY NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, CON, GSSRS, POS
ON THE RISING CULTISM AND RELATED
ACTIVITIES ACROSS RIVERS STATE
My dear people of Rivers State
The 2023 general elections are less than three weeks away. Political activities are in top gear, with political parties and candidates intensifying campaigns across the State.
2. We are happy with the generally peaceful campaigns except for the few isolated reported incidents of violence by sponsored rival cults, gangs and support groups in one or two political rallies.
3. We commend the security agencies for providing adequate security cover for all the political parties to carry on with their electioneering activities, including crowded rallies and meetings.
4. The State Government will continue to support the security agencies to sustain the prevailing atmosphere of peace and security for voters to exercise their voting rights without fear or intimidation before, during and after the elections.
5. I assure you that there is nothing to fear as the State government and the security agencies will spare no effort to keep Rivers State peaceful, safe and secure for citizens to go about their normal daily activities.
6. However, we, again, call on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the State, which are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
7. We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores.
READ ALSO: Atiku: Rivers PDP Takes Swipe On Wike
8. Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.
9. We are also aware that desperate politicians are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
10. I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
11. Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State.
12. Anyone with useful information about the camps, gatherings, plans and activities of these criminal elements and their sponsors should forward it to the security agencies for action.
13. I wish to restate that no amount of syndicated misinformation, campaigns of calumny, and diatribes by a section of the media and the political elites will deter the State Government from enforcing the laws of the State against those who vainly claim to be above them.
14. Unlike other States, we have refrained from using the State’s Neighbourhood Corps to enforce law and order by allowing the regular security agencies to do their constitutional work.
15. We pray we may not be forced to reconsider this position if the security agencies continue to encourage and offer protection to some politicians and party leaders to wantonly breach our laws.
16. Thank you, and may God bless Rivers State.
Tinubu’s Men Attack PDP Over N22.5bn Vote-buying Claim
The ruling All Progressives Congress has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party to provide Nigerians with evidence of the N22.5 billion stashed old notes that it alleged the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is desperately seeking to convert into new ones in Kano State.
This is even as the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign council wrote off the claim as a silly figment of the imagination of the opposition party.
The PDP had claimed in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday that it received intelligence that Tinubu and some party leaders are striving to swap the alleged money to facilitate its vote-buying plans ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, further disclosed that the PDP was convinced about the earlier notion that the APC in conjunction with some APC governors is responsible for the biting cash scarcity currently rocking the country.
Ologunagba said, “The party is aware that the N22.5 billion in old N1000 notes was allegedly kept in a Kano State Government facility before being moved to a particular old generation and a certain new generation bank where the regional heads were contacted by the APC presidential campaign to swap the old notes with new ones.
“Further information revealed that the cash is being warehoused by the Tinubu campaign for alleged vote buying in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Sokoto States. A particular APC state governor is reported to have taken delivery of N500 million new Naira notes to actualize the vote buying plot.”
When contacted, the Chief Spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, stated that it would be a waste of time to reply to the allegation.
“I have only one sentence for that. It is an irresponsible statement that does not deserve a response,” he said.
The PCC Director of Media and Communication, Bayo Onanuga, debunked the report, saying the PDP is living up to its fame of coming up with frivolous claims.
He challenged the leadership of the opposition party to cut to the chase by providing concrete evidence to back up its claim.
He stated, “Let them provide the evidence if they uncovered such. It is not enough to dish out cock and bull stories in the name of press Releases. Making senseless allegations every passing day which has become the hallmark of the PDP campaign is not how to win the election.
“Nigerians can’t forget a party of people that looted over $ 2 billion dollars meant for arms procurement when Boko Haram was killing our citizens and almost took over three states in the northeast.
“We challenge PDP to bring out any evidence of their latest allegation otherwise the party of looters should hide its ugly face in perpetual shame.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Director of APC, Bala Ibrahim, urged the PDP to head to the court, security agencies and regulatory bodies like the Independent National Electoral Commission instead of its usual media trial.
“Why issue a statement when you can prove your case in a competent court of law or a regulatory agent like INEC? There are statutory ways of dealing with it.
“I don’t know why people avoid using the court or investigative agencies to make their point. If they have proof, let them tender it. That’s why the courts, security agencies, and national financial units like EFCC and ICPC are there.
“It is obvious the PDP is seeing the sign of defeat and merely trying to rock the boat by coming up with all sorts of allegations to get public sympathy,” he stated.
Tinubu: APC Announces Indefinite Postponement Of Campaign Rally In Oyo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has postponed its presidential rally in Oyo State following the protests rocking the state.
The party made this announcement on Monday.
DAILY POST reports that the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been billed to visit Ibadan on Tuesday in continuation of his presidential campaign.
The party, however, said it will no longer be holding the campaign rally as earlier planned.
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Oyo State, Wasiu Olawale Sadare, confirmed the postponement.
Sadare in a short statement made available to journalists on Monday noted that the postponement became necessary in view of the crisis caused by the scarcity of new naira notes and petroleum.
Sadare in the statement sent to DAILY POST in Ibadan said, “We regret to announce the indefinite postponement of our presidential rally earlier slated for tomorrow (Tuesday).
“The decision was taken, apparently, in consideration to the prevailing challenges facing the people and the need to allow President Muhammadu Buhari work around the situation and ensure that normalcy return particularly as it concerns fuel and currency notes crisis”.
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