Crisis brew as LP National Treasurer asks Abure to account for N3.5bn

Julius Abure, NWC

…LP has not earned N3.5bn says spokesperson

By Tunde Opalana

The Labour Party (LP) is engulf in a fresh crisis as the party’s National Treasurer, Mrs Oluchi Oparah, on Monday demanded from the National Chairman, Julius Abure an account of over N3.5 billion party funds.

The amount represents proceeds of sale of forms and sundry fundraisers for the 2023 general elections.

Oparah who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday to drive home her demand, alleged that the national chairman did not allow her to exercise her constitutionally assigned role of handling the party’s accounts.

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Also she claimed that Abure has shunned all entreaties to open the party’s books for scrutiny after the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms closed before the 2023 general elections.

At the press conference, Oparah said: “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the press. I stand before you today with a heavy heart and a sense of duty to the principles of transparency, accountability, and justice. With great reluctance and deep concern, I am compelled to publicly address the media regarding the egregious financial mismanagement and corruption that have plagued our beloved party under the leadership of Mr Julius Abure, the current National Chairman.

“As National Treasurer, I am constrained to come before you and the public today because the internal mechanisms of our party have failed woefully to bring Mr Abure to account for his brazen abuse of office and misappropriation of party funds.

“His appetite for power has grown unchecked, and he has deliberately undermined my duties and authority as stipulated in the party’s constitution.

“Since assuming office in 2021, Mr Abure has engaged in a series of actions that not only undermine the principles upon which the Labour Party was founded but also constitute grave violations of trust and fiduciary responsibility. His tenure has been marred by forgery, embezzlement, and corrupt enrichment, all at the expense of the party and its members. He has unilaterally depleted the party’s bank accounts, often through fraudulent means, including forging the signature of his predecessor and our late national chairman – Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, immediately after his demise.

“One of the most alarming aspects of Mr Abure’s conduct is his repeated denial of my access to the party’s financial records and bank accounts. Despite my role as National Treasurer and custodian of all party funds, bank and accounting records, I have been systematically prohibited from fulfilling my duties, including accessing essential information and bank statements necessary for proper financial oversight. This deliberate obstruction not only hinders my ability to carry out my responsibilities but also raises serious questions about the chairman’s transparency and accountability.

“Under Mr Abure’s watch, over N3.5 billion was raised from the sale of nomination forms for the 2023 general elections. However, apart from the proceeds of the sale of forms from his home state of Edo – which was diverted to Mr Abure’s private accounts, he only declared N55 million to me as Treasurer, of the over N3.5 billion raised, pocketing the rest for himself.

“During off-cycle elections in several states last year, the party raised around N958 million from nomination forms and donations. These funds have completely vanished under under Mr. Abure’s oversight – with zero paper trail.

Reacting, the party fescr ibed Oprah’s claims as malicious .

National Publicity Secretary, Obiorah Ifoh in a statement Monday said that the National Treasurer is certainly under some external influences merely read out a concocted statement drafted by detractors to further tar the image of the party.

“With the exception of the National Treasurer whose tenure is about to end in few weeks time, and who has served for 8 years as National Treasurer without a single record of party accounts, no other member of the national working committee has raised any issue of embezzlement against out National Chairman who made a pledge on assumption that the party has to be revamped. Evidence is our proactive outing in the 2023 general election as the party presented for the first time a very good presidential candidate.

“Let it be said that the Labour Party has not earned N3.5 billion as claimed and that the National Chairman has not embezzled any money that belongs to the party as alleged. The records are there, except that Ms Oluchi Opara don’t even understand simple accounting even as a treasurer. An External Auditor is engaged by the party and our account is under constant scrutiny of INEC or other regulatory bodies.

“Abure does not own several houses and property as spuriously alleged by our estranged National Treasurer, even though no law prohibits him from owning properties.

“The constitution of the Labour Party in Article 14:1b provides that the National Chairman shall be the Accounting Officer of the party while 14:1d “Shall approve all expenditures and shall be a signatory to the Party’s Bank account(s),” he said.

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