The leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday defended its spending of the controversial N12 billion profits generated by the party in the wake of the last general elections.
PDP’s Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, claimed in a press conference at its national Secretariat, Abuja, that the actual amount realized by the party from sale of nomination and expression of interest forms from various elective office seekers across the federation was a little over N11 billion and not N12 billion as reported.
The NWC had last week wrote a memo announcing that half of its workers would be sacked while salaries of the remaining workforce would be slashed by 50 per cent as part of its cost-cutting and reform measures, sparking an industrial dispute. Protesting workers who rejected the planned action accused the party’s leadership of embezzlement of the party’s proceeds culminating in its defeat at the last poll and current financial dire straits.
However, Secondus dismissed the allegations that the party’s National Working Committee squandered the proceeds leveled by its workers as untrue.
According to the acting PDP boss, the monies were judiciously utilized. He claimed that about “10 percent of the money (N11bn+) went to the state chapters, five percent to the zonal chapters and another five percent to local government chapters of the party.
He explained further: “Another 15 percent was expended on assignments by various party functionaries and the rest was used to fund our campaigns. We raised money and we used the money for elections. We don’t need to go into details”.
Senate Minority Leader and former Akwa Ibom Governor, Godswill Akpabio, who led the PDP Senate caucus to the briefing, explained that the party’s decision to reduce the secretariat workers was largely due to its diminished political status rather than the alleged squandering of proceeds.
“We can no longer run to the Villa for cash so we don’t have the wherewithal to maintain that large number of secretariat workers,” Akpabio explained, while urging the aggrieved workers to show understanding of the changing dynamics at play in PDP.
“The workers should understand that they are in a master-servant relationship in which you cannot force an unwilling master to keep a recalcitrant servant. We are definitely going to downsize,” he said.
By Olisemeka Obeche