Sooner had it solve one problem than the PDP has to face another one, this time an in-house crisis that may be harder to resolve without heads rolling. The decision by the National Working Committee to reduce staff strength by 50 per cent while cutting the salaries and allowances of the reaming staff has sparked a bitter war by proxy. The workers have launched at the leadership, alleging cases of financial embezzlement among the NWC members.
“Obsessively corrupt” is the phrasal adjective coming from the mouths of the workers, while the accused leadership has pledge readiness to appear before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to prove their allegation. The PDP workers group expressed grave concern over a recent circular issued by the National Secretary of the party, Professor Wale Oladipo, terminating the appointment of a sizeable number of the workforce. The directive of the NWC to the workers, some of who had worked for the party for 16 years, to go back to their respective state chapter chairmen for clearance letters, was one of the major grievances of the workers.
They had argued that none of the incumbent state chairmen of the party was in office, when they were engaged by the national secretariat several years ago The workers who levelled the allegations against the PDP NWC had asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct investigate. They have also accused the PDP leadership of working for the defeat of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan in the recent general elections.
In his reaction, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, described the allegations as baseless. But the workers are insistent. The workers, under the aegis of the PDP Staff Welfare Association dismissed Metuh’s allegation that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was using them to destabilise the PDP.
“We are not surprised that the allegation will become the most fashionable means of covering tracks. The allegation is a wide window into the impressionable character of the man who has been in saddle as the party’s image-maker and an ominous signpost into the shallow manner the publicity of the party has been run,” the staff said in a statement signed by their Chairman, Ngozi Nzeh, and Secretary Dan Ochu-Baiye.
“We therefore place on record that the majority of the establishment staff of the PDP are not just unrepentant members of the party who have spent over 16 years in service; who have assimilated the PDP ethos as a way of political life, but are also the repository of the party’s institutional memory whose spirit can hardly succumb to the ephemerality of power loss.
“Who plays anti-party activities, you may ask? Staff members who are genuinely resisting the morally repugnant and obsessively corrupt NWC so that the PDP will survive or some NWC members who have the track record of anti-party activities especially the one who openly endorsed the APGA candidate in the 2013 Anambra governorship election, the subsequent denigration of PDP candidate and his chances on live television program less than 24hours after the election, even as the result was being awaited?
“Again, we have incontrovertible evidence that some of the NWC members worked assiduously against the presidential candidate of the PDP, former President Goodluck Jonathan, in the last election in order to get back at the ex-President for rejecting them in strategic campaign offices, a development which came after they had squandered 450 million naira earlier approved by President Jonathan.
In a twist of fate the majority of members of the Board of Trustees and the National Executive Committee of the party have thrown their weight behind the workers. At issue now is a alleged N12b which the National Working Committee is alleged to have squandered in just nine months.
Apart from rendering the account for a huge sum, the workers have also called for the sacking of the remaining NWC members, following the resignation of former National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu. A concerned NWC member, said they (NWC members) were surprised that some former national chairmen of the party and BoT members met, where they expressed support for the workers.
The NWC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the concerned BoT members and NEC members were doing so because the party lost the last general elections. He said, “Some of the PDP NEC and BoT members, who were scandalised by the woeful outing of the party during the last general election, were on the same page with the workers that members of the NWC should have thrown in the towel and quit after Mu’azu resigned.
“The feeling among BoT and NEC members is that since members of the NWC led the party to such an unprecedented defeat in 16 years, they should have done the honourable thing and resign to allow others to come in and rebuild the party from the ruins of the last elections.”
He added that the NWC lacked the moral rights to implement the report of the Ike Ekweremadu Committee that was set up to evaluate the circumstance that led to the defeat of the party during the elections. “What if the Ekweremadu Committee indicted the NWC? They cannot be the judge in their own case,” the source quoted some NEC and BoT members as arguing. Meanwhile, as the face-off continues, the workers have threatened to release more documents on how the NWC looted the treasury of the party.
One of the leaders of the workers said the damaging documents “will be released in phases, if the impasse is not resolved soon.” Obviously worried by the turn of events, the Prince Uche Secondus-led NWC was said to have opted for dialogue with the angry workers to resolve the standoff. Investigation by The UNION revealed that certain elders of the party had prevailed on the party’s national working committee to seek audience with the leadership of the aggrieved workers.
Some unnamed chieftains of the party held a meeting for several hours with the leadership of the workers welfare committee at the national secretariat, to address the workers’ demand. A party source revealed that a follow-up meeting was expected to hold between the leadership of the aggrieved workers and the party’s national leadership at an undisclosed location in Abuja as members of the NWC had decided to stay away from Wadata Plaza, the party’s national secretariat, for fear of molestation by the workers.