N3.5bn scandal: Peter Obi seeks probe of Labour Party campaign funds

 

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has called for a thorough investigation into the alleged financial impropriety leveled against the National Chairman of the Party, Comrade Julius Abure.

Obi made the call at a media briefing in Abuja on Thursday. He spoke while rendering an account of the 2023 Obi-Datti presidential campaign organisation.

He said, “For the party (LP), I am a member of the party, and they have chosen to say that I am the leader.

“What we need to do in the party, and I have discussed it with the leadership, is that we must now appoint a reputable audit firm to audit and be able to deal with the account of the party.

“When I am involved in, anywhere money is it must be transparent. So the allegations and counter allegations now must be thoroughly investigated and verified and we would reconcile it and know what exactly what we do.”

Recall, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the LP, on Wednesday suspended its National Treasurer, Mrs. Oluchi Oparah, for six months for allegedly dragging the party’s name into the mud.

Oparah, however, vowed to challenge her suspension in court. She argued that the NWC’s action was premeditated because her traducers knew she was not in Abuja when they gave her less than 12 hours to appear before a hurriedly constituted panel.

She had, accused the LP National Chairman, comrade Julius Abure, of mismanaging N3.5bn raised from the sale of nomination forms and fundraising activities in the build-up to the 2023 general election.

She also went on Arise Television’s ‘Good Morning Show’, to alleged that the Abure-led NWC was working hand-in-hand with the Edo State Government and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the September 2024 Governorship polls.

Chairman of the Fund Raising Team of the Obi-Datti Campaign Organization, Aisha Yesufu, who rendered an account of funds raised and spent during the campaign, explained that a total of N595,976,994.00 was received from Nigerians as donations.

She, however, explained that there were over N744,500,000.00 in litigations over the 2023 presidential election.

Yesufu said, “Accountability and transparency are very critical and important; that is why we asked people to donate so that we could come back to them to explain how their money was judiciously used.

“ We thank everyone who donated in cash and kindness. From the donations from citizens, we received N595,976,994.

“This is the money we raised from the four accounts that we have talked about. We also received N800, 000,000 from the candidate himself (Peter Obi).

“We designed a strategic blueprint focused on channeling the movement energy and support for Peter Obi and Datti Ahmed with different support groups.

“We provided direct and indirect support to over a hundred support groups across all 36 states in Nigeria. We also deployed media-related campaigns that reached over 11 million people, leveraging over 40 radio stations, community outreach, and social media.

“We would have loved to use televisions and all of that, but because of our financial constraints, we were mindful of being judicious in our usage of the funds that we received.

“So, out of these things, campaign materials worth N258,374,330.00 were procured and distributed across the 36 States and also in Abuja. Media and radio broadcasting was at the cost of N16,432,867.00.

“For the election promotion expenses, we had N10,808,948.00. For Polling Unit Agents, we spent N324,381,700.00. And then, of course, we had bank charges of N1,750,544.00. We also had administrative charges of N477,000.00.”

She further said, “We deployed N744,500,000.00 to cover legal expenses. And then, in campaign and election activities, we had over N28,500,000.00. On the issue of legal fees, remember what I said earlier: We had N800,000,000.00 that the candidate himself brought.”


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