Fresh crisis is brewing in the opposition Labour Party where the national treasurer, Oluchi Oparah, has asked the national chairman, Julius Abure to account for the sale of over N3.5 billion, derived from form sales and other fundraising activities for the 2023 general elections.
Oparah made these assertions during a news briefing in Abuja on Monday, February 12, disclosing that she is unable to fulfill her legally mandated duty of managing the party’s finances due to the actions of the national chairman.
She highlighted that since the conclusion of form sales before the 2023 general elections, the chairman has avoided taking comprehensive steps to facilitate an audit of the party’s financial records.
“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.”
Labour Party Reacts
Reacting, the national publicity secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, described it as a desperate attempt to smear the chairman since Oparah’s tenure was about to expire and she was desperate to cash out.
In a statement issued shortly after the allegations were raised, “We want to say that the National Treasurer who is certainly under some external influences merely read out a concocted statement drafted by our 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 doesn’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 party can understand her vituperations but we can’t help her situation more so when her time in the NWC is running out. Her wish to cash out was not granted and her subtle effort to push the leadership to ‘settle’ her was rejected hence her resolve to fight dirty.
“It will be recalled that she is alone in this battle. Several stakeholders have had course to prevail on her to bridle her inordinate ambition but all to no avail. We are surprised that despite all efforts to assure her of a future, she still went ahead to align with our detractors and sworn enemies of the party.