Four members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have returned N122.4 million paid into their accounts by the chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu.
The money was said to be part of the over N10 billion realised by the party from nomination fees paid by aspirants for various positions in the 2023 elections.
The party had been enmeshed in financial scandals of recent.
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, Prof. Stella Affah-Attoe.
Arapaja was paid N36 million, Adagunodo, Orbih and Effah-Attoe got N28.8 million each.
However, in a letter to the PDP leadership notifying Ayu of returning the money, Orbi said he was notified of the payment by his bank without any description.
The letter dated Thursday September 29, 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 NWC over N10 billion nomination fees.”
He said members of the NWC were offered N28 million to gloss over alleged scandalous financial misappropriation.
He said in his letter, “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.
“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.”
Similarly, in her own letter, Effah-Attoe said when she inquired about the N28,800,000,00 paid to her account, she was told by Ayu’s office that the amount was for house rent for two years as NWC members.
Her letter read,“When I enquired from your Office, I was told that the said sum is for Two (2) years House Rent for me, as a member of The National Working Committee.
“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.”
In his own letter, Arapaja said, “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.”
Copies of their letters are published below.