The crisis in the Labour Party (LP) has festered with the party’s National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara accusing the National Chairman Julius Abure of sundry allegations.
Already, Abure is still battling a faction led by Lamidi Apapa over the control of the party. The fraud allegations against him by the faction are still pending in the court.
Opara who addressed a press conference on Monday, said the National Chairman appropriated funds meant for the party.
But the National Publicity Secretary Obiora Ifoh, said Opara was “under some external influences (and) merely read out a concocted statement drafted by our detractors to further tar the image of the party.”
The National Treasurer alleged that since he assumed 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.”
She accused the National Chairman of forgery, embezzlement, and corrupt enrichment, and said Abure repeatedly denied her 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,” she said.
According to her, out of over N3.5 billion raised from the sale of nomination forms for the 2023 general elections, the National Chairman allegedly declared N55 million to her, as National Treasurer.
“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 Mr. Abure’s oversight – with zero paper trail.
“While on a fundraising tour in the United States in August 2023, Mr. Abure and his cronies raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from the party’s diaspora
“To date, he has not declared a single dollar to me or the NWC, essentially stealing donations meant for the party’s development. Indeed, not a single cent from donations received was ever paid into any of the party’s accounts,” she further alleged.
Opara said Abure attempted to bribe her “first with money, then a new car and even a new house, to ratify his hoax financial statements,” but said she rejected them.
“Indeed, the Labour Party remains the only major political party that has failed to submit an audit report of our financial activities for 2022/2023, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” she said.
The National Treasurer further accused Abure of acquiring choice properties in Nigeria and Europe, as well as multiple real estate in Abuja, Benin, Uromi, and Italy.
Ifoh in his reaction, said the National Treasurer has no record of the party’s account to show for the eight years she served in that capacity.
He denied that the Labour Party generated N3.5 billion as she claimed, adding that an external auditor was 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.”
According to him, the LP constitution provides that the National Chairman shall be the accounting officer and shall approve all expenditures, adding that the duties of the National Chairman and Treasurer were spelled out by the constitution.
Ifoh threatened that the party would take her case to the disciplinary committee of the party.