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APC faces cash crunch, owes workers August salary

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Despite generating billions of naira from the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms during the recently concluded primaries, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is having difficulties footing its bills, credible party sources told Daily Trust.

The sources said the party has not paid the allowances of members of the committee that conducted the primaries in states just as chairmanship aspirants are yet to get a refund of the N20m they paid for forms as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the national convention of the party.

It was also gathered that the party has not paid the August salary of its workers at the national secretariat.

During its primaries between April and June, the ruling party raked in over N29bn from the sale of forms.

APC bigwigs across the country had thronged Abuja city and bought forms for the primaries, which were conducted between April and June 2022.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed February 25, 2023, for presidential and National Assembly elections while governorship and state assembly elections have been slated for March 11.

The APC top echelon had moved the venue for the purchase of forms from its national headquarters to the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, where presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and Houses of Assembly aspirants picked their forms.

Daily Trust had reported how the ruling party raked in over N29bn from the sale of forms which started in April and ended in May 2022.

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The APC had pegged its presidential forms at N100m, governorship, N50m, senatorial, N20m, N10m for House of Representatives and N2m for state house of assembly aspirants

The National Organising Secretary of the party, Sulaiman Argungu, had told newsmen in Abuja that 145 aspirants bought governorship forms, 351 obtained forms to contest senatorial primaries, 1,197 picked forms for the House of Representatives, while 28 presidential aspirants also obtained their forms.

He, however, did not give a breakdown of the number of state houses of assembly aspirants that bought forms.

A source said part of the money generated was set aside for logistics while part of it was used for the hiring of venues mostly hotels for various screening exercises. He said part of it would be used for the 2023 campaigns.

He said, “Well, part of the money went for renting of venues for various exercises,” adding that the money used for printing of forms was equally removed after the exercise.

But some staff of the APC National Secretariat who spoke with our correspondent in confidence lamented that they did not know how the money was being spent as they were allegedly suffering under the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC).

One of them from the North Central said, “It baffles me. Our welfare is not guaranteed under the current leadership. Despite the money the party raised, we had nothing to take home during Eid-el Fitri. Rather, the leadership of the secretariat wrote to governors to make provisions for the Sallah package. Consequently, the governors gave it a deaf ear pointing to billions generated from the sale of forms. That is the situation.”

Another staff said, “I have been there since the merger. What has been the tradition is that we get paid no later than the 25th of every month. And we get a Sallah bonus.

“We enjoyed it during Oshiomhole. We enjoyed it during the Buni-led caretaker committee. We do get paid on the 23rd of the month sometimes under Buni as circumstances would warrant.  But things are different now.

“Now our August salary is pending. Do you know the danger? Schools have reopened; we have to pay school fees. The cost of feeding is high. No August salary yet. September will soon end. This is not fair.”

C’ttee members yet to be paid, 3 months after 

A chieftain of the party, Chief Jackson Lekan Ojo, however, said, “The party has not even paid the allowances of committee members sent to states to conduct primaries. So this requires a probe. The account of the party should be probed. Either monkey or snake must have swallowed the money.”

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Ojo said, “Where is the money? Why are the staff of the party dying of hunger? Why can’t the national secretariat of the party be maintained? Are they the ones to sponsor the 2023 elections?”

The party is still in debt despite the humongous amount of money it generated from the sale of forms.

Our correspondent reports that members of the APC appointed into committees to conduct primary elections for elective offices nationwide are still crying out over the non-payment of their allowances.

The party had constituted committees for the conduct of presidential, governorship, national and state assemblies’ primary polls ahead of the 2023 general elections.

A member of one of the committees told Daily Trust that they had not been paid despite several promises by the NWC.

Another member of the committee from the North-East geopolitical zone said they submitted their account details two months ago.

“We have not been paid. They requested our bank details two months ago but we have not been paid. They keep on telling us that our allowances are being processed. This is not good for our party,” a chieftain of the party said, pleading not to be named.

Chairmanship aspirants yet to get refund, despite Buhari order 

Similarly, some ex-chairmanship aspirants who stepped down for the current National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu during the February Convention that produced him, said they were yet to be refunded their money spent on the expression of interest and nomination forms as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

One of the chairmanship aspirants, Sunny Sylvester Moniedafe (Jagaban Jimeta) from Adamawa State confirmed to our correspondent in a telephone chat yesterday that the party has not refunded their money.

He said, “They have not refunded it. I am worried honestly. They have not paid us. I don’t want to complain but this is not right at all.

 “Somebody called us and said we should give details of our accounts, but for over a month now, nothing has happened.”

The APC had sold its expression of interest and nomination forms for chairmanship aspirants at the rate of N20m.

We’re using funds to run party affairs – Spokesperson 

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Felix Morka told Daily Trust in a telephone chat yesterday that the party is spending the money on running the party.

He said, “The party is spending its funds in the administration of the party; in running the party.

“We just came out of the primaries. The party was heavily interested to ensure that the primaries were conducted up to the standard or expectation of the party.

“All of the expenditures were undertaken to execute the programme of the primary for the party. We had moved from one state to the other in line with the Electoral Act for the party to conduct free, fair and effective primaries,” he said.

On the non-payment of members of the committee that served during the primaries, he said, “many have been paid and the process is still ongoing.”

Politics

Osun 2022: Tribunal Adjourns Pre-Hearing In Suit Against Adeleke

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Adegboyega Oyetola and Senator Ademola Adeleke

The Osun Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo, on Monday, adjourned until October 4 the pre-hearing of a petition filed by Governor Gboyega Oyetola against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Tertsea Kume, fixed the date and granted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke seven days to respond to the pre-hearing form served on them by the tribunal.

Earlier, Counsel to the All Progress Congress (APC), Prof. Kayode Olatoke, SAN, had informed the court of his readiness to continue with the pre-hearing session, having filed his form TF008, where issues for determination were raised.

At the request of the tribunal for advice, Olatoke suggested that the matter should be delayed for a few hours for the respondents to also respond to the tribunal pre-hearing form.

Counsel to the INEC, Ben Ananaba, SAN, said the pre-hearing could not go on because he was just served with the pre-hearing form this morning, saying statutorily, they have seven days to respond.

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Counsel to Adeleke, Bamidele Abolarin and counsel representing PDP, Nathaniel Oke, SAN, also requested the tribunal to give them the required seven days to respond.

Addressing newsmen after the sitting, Olagoke said the adjournment was not out of place, but the tribunal has the power to abridge the days required for any of the parties to respond.

He said that PDP is ready to defend its victory in the last governorship election in the state.

Following the outcome of the July 16 governorship election in Osun, Oyetola and the APC filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the State High Court, Osogbo.

The petitioners who were seeking justice challenged the results of the election in some of the Local Government Areas and prayed the Tribunal to return their mandate to them.

The INEC had declared Adeleke winner of the July 16 governorship election having polled a total number of 403,271 against 375,027 polled by Oyetola. (NAN )/Daily Trust

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Ayu in fresh trouble over whereabouts of N10bn nomination fees

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National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu

The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu, is in fresh trouble over the whereabouts of N10 billion realized by the party from nomination fees paid by aspirants.

The fresh controversy is coming barely 48 hours to the kickoff of the 2023 election campaigns scheduled for September 28, 2022.

The PDP had fixed its presidential nomination form and expression of interest forms for N40 million, governorship N21 million, Senate N3.5 million, House of Representatives N2.5 million, and House of Assembly N600, 000.

It was learnt that a bloc in the party is trying to offer each National Working Committee (NWC) member N28millon to gloss over the huge cash in order to curtail any further crisis in the party but some members of the NWC, who rejected the bribe, are insisting on accountability and on getting answers about the depletion of the cash from over N10billion to N1billion.

According to The Nation, the aggrieved camp of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was pushing for accountability to increase the pressure on Ayu to resign.

It was gathered that members of the PDP NWC were surprised to learn that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar allegedly made N1billion available to the party before the presidential primaries.

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Recall that Governor Wike, during a media chat on Friday, claimed that the opposition party chairman took N1 billion from a presidential aspirant before the PDP primary and did not remit the said sum to the party.

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Ahead of our campaign, all is still not well in the party because some NWC members have raised issues over what had become of the N10 billion nomination fees.

“They are demanding immediate accountability from the party. I think their anger followed a leakage that the amount collected has reduced from about N10 billion to N1billion.

“Governor Wike’s disclosure of a N1 billion gift to the party before the PDP Presidential primaries has compounded the challenge in the party because some NWC members and stakeholders were just hearing for the first time.

“The anger is mounting and Wike’s camp is already capitalizing on the situation to push for accountability and plot Ayu’s exit.

“I can tell you that the party is in a tinderbox. Some forces wanted to use accountability as an excuse to cause confusion. We know that Ayu has repeatedly assured party leaders of being accountable and transparent.”

The source added, “These NWC members have been adamant on accountability. They are demanding the whereabouts of the huge cash.”

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Pastors are to lead people to salvation not politics, Keyamo tells PFN

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Spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo, has fired back at the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria for the body’s criticism of the MUslim-Muslim ticket of the party’s presidential candidate and running mate, saying says pastors should lead the people to salvation and not politics.

David Bakare, deputy national secretary of the PFN, in an interview, said the group has no affiliation with members of the Pentecostal Bishops Forum of Northern Nigeria who met with Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate, on Friday.

The PFN also said its opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC remained unchanged.

Speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday, Keyamo said the PFN has no right to criticise the decisions of the ruling party.

He said, “The PFN are not members of our party. They should go and vote that day. They should not be coming to question the decision of our party publicly. The purpose of pastors or their duty is to lead people to heaven not to lead people to [presidential] villa.

“If I go to church every Sunday, I want to hear the sermon of God and I don’t want to hear the sermon of politics or who should rule me.

“I want to hear the sermon of God and what will lead me to salvation and not what to lead me to the villa.”

Asides from the PFN, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also condemned the selection of Kashim Shettima, a Muslim, as the running mate to Tinubu.

Commenting on the APC’s campaign strategy for the 2023 elections, Keyamo said the party will present to Nigerians the performance of Tinubu during his time as governor of Lagos.

The minister added that Nigerians are too hungry to be bothered about issues bordering on religion.

“Nigerians are hungry, they want to see how that hunger will be addressed, not how their Christian or Muslim faiths will be addressed,” he said.

“They want to see our policies on agriculture and what Asiwaju has done before as governor of Lagos state, how he improved Lagos and how he will bring that kind of posterity to Nigeria as a whole.”

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