THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the controversial millions of naira allegedly paid to the accounts of some of the members of its National Working Committee is their housing allowance.
The Nation had reported that the PDP’s National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, allegedly paid over N100 million to the NWC members after the party’s primaries.
The money was said to be part of the over N10 billion realised by the party from nomination fees paid by aspirants.
Following the report, about four members of the Committee returned N122.4 million paid into their accounts by the party leader.
The NWC 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) Chief Dan Orbih and National Women Leader, Stella Affah-Attoe.
Arapaja got N36 million, Adagunodo, Orbih and Effah-Attoe got N28.8 million each.
However, reacting to the development in a statement that the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, issued on the evening of Thursday, September 29, the party said the money was an entitlement duly approved and paid to national officials and staff of the party.
The statement read, “The attention of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been drawn to misrepresenting reports in a section of the media alluding strange and unfounded motives to the Housing Allowance duly approved and paid to NWC members and staff of the Party
“The NWC has noted that this misleading report stemmed from an unfounded publication by a particular media outlet, which suggested that the Housing Allowance, an entitlement duly approved and paid to national officials and staff of the Party amounted to bribery.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP states in an unequivocal term that no funds were paid into the account of any member of the NWC as bribe for any purpose whatsoever for that matter.”
Ologunagba maintained that the “Housing Allowance being referred to” went through the party’s due process, in line with its conditions of service and the entitlement of its staff and principal officers.
“If any individual, for any reason decides to return money duly approved and paid, such does not in any way suggest that the money was paid as bribe, or indicate that it was illegitimate or unlawfully paid,” he said.
The party urged its supporters to disregard the report, which it described as “misleading.”
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via email@example.com and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.