The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, has demanded N1bn in damages and an apology from a member of the party, Kassim Afegbua.
Afegbua, who was Oshiomhole’s aide when Oshiomhole was the governor of Edo State, had dragged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practice and Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) over the management of the finances of the opposition party.
Afegbua said anti-graft agencies should probe the N10 billion allegedly accrued to the party’s purse from 2017 till date, especially those that were as a result of sales of nomination forms for presidential, gubernatorial, House of Assembly and senatorial elections.
He alleged that the financial transactions of the PDP, under the leadership of Secondus, have been shrouded in mystery.
Afegbua also accused the Secondus-led NWC of using the bank account of Morufu Nigeria Limited in the sale of nomination forms in 2019, instead of the party’s account.
The PDP had however described Afegbua’s allegation as spurious and irresponsible.
The party’s spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan said: “The PDP did not raise Afegbua’s fictitious sum of N10 billion as alleged by him. For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP generated the sum of N4.6 billion and raised a budget for its expenditure, in line with all known financial regulations of our party.
“This budget passed through the organs of our party and received the approvals from the NWC, the Governors’ Forum, the Board of Trustees as well as other organs of the party.
“As a law-abiding political party that respects the doctrine of rule of law and transparency, the budget was presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) where it also received a final approval.
“It is imperative to state that all the sums received and budgeted for passed through the due process of approval by the necessary organs of the party.
“Moreover, the PDP has no account under the name or guise of Afegbua’s ghostly Morufu Nigeria Limited.
“Having said that, as a political party, under whose administration the EFCC and the ICPC were formulated and established, our party strictly adheres to best practices of transparency, accountability and probity in all issues including our financial administration.
“In addition, our party has since submitted the audited account of its financial expenditures to the INEC for 2019, in line with statutory requirements of the law.”
However, Secondus’ lawyer, Emeka Etaiba, in a letter dated April 29, 2021 and addressed to Afegbua, said the ex-commissioner must apologise within 48 hours or face a lawsuit.
Etaiba said Afegbua made some defamatory claims against the PDP chairman in a press statement he authored.
According to him, claims made in the statement portrayed Secondus as a fraudulent man whose financial dealings are shady.
He added that it also portrayed the PDP chairman as a fraudster who is incapable of holding the office of the party’s national chairman.
Etiaba said, Afegbua’s false claims have challenged his (Secondus’) right standing in the society as a trustworthy person.
He added, “The above publications were read worldwide and most especially in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria and this fact has been confirmed by the phone calls that have trailed your publications.
“Take notice that if you fail to retract your said publications, apologise to our client in the said newspapers with the same prominence with which you published the offensive statements and pay the sum of N1bn to him as damages all within 48 hours from the date hereof, we shall proceed to institute an action to seek redress from a court of competent jurisdiction.”