The Labour Party is facing a new crisis when its national treasurer, Mrs. Oluchi Oparah, asked yesterday that Julius Abure, the party’s national chairman, provide an accounting of party monies exceeding N3.5 billion, which came from the sale of forms and other fund-raising activities for the general elections of 2023.
At a conference in Abuja, Oparah made the demand, claiming that the National Chairman had stopped her from carrying out her constitutionally mandated responsibility of managing the party’s finances.
She further claimed that since the sale of expressions of interest and nomination forms closed, ahead of the general elections in 2023, the chairman has rejected every request to date to allow the party’s records to be examined.
“I am compelled to address the media publicly regarding the egregious financial mismanagement and corruption that have plagued our beloved party under the leadership of Mr. Julius Abure, the current national chairman,” Oparah stated, expressing her deep concern and reluctance.
As national treasurer, I am forced to appear before you and the public today due to the appalling failure of our party’s internal procedures to hold Mr. Abure accountable for his egregious misuse of his position and embezzlement of party funds.
His hunger for power has grown unbridled, and he has purposefully compromised my authority and responsibilities as outlined in the party’s constitution.
“Since taking office in 2021, Mr. Abure has participated in a number of activities that seriously breach fiduciary duty and seriously damage the foundational ideals of the Labour Party.
Forgery, embezzlement, and corrupt enrichment have plagued his reign, all at the expense of the party and its members.
“Even in my capacity as national treasurer and guardian of all party finances, bank accounts, and accounting records, I have consistently been denied the ability to carry out my responsibilities, including gaining access to the bank statements and other data required for appropriate financial supervision.
“This intentional hindrance not only makes it more difficult for me to do my duties, but it also calls into serious doubt the chairman’s accountability and openness.
“Under Mr. Abure’s direction, the sale of nomination forms for the general elections of 2023 brought in almost N3.5 billion.
“However, of the more than N3.5 billion raised, he only disclosed N55 million to me as treasurer, keeping the remainder for himself, aside from the money made from the sale of forms from his home state of Edo, which was transferred to Mr. Abure’s personal accounts.
“Last year, the party raised approximately N958 million through donations and nomination forms for off-cycle elections in many states. Under Mr. Abure’s supervision, these funds have completely disappeared with no paper trail.
“In August 2023, Mr. Abure and his associates raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from the party’s diaspora community while on a fundraising tour in the United States.
He has essentially been accepting donations intended for the party’s advancement and has not declared a single dollar to either the NWC or me to far. In fact, no money received in the form of donations was ever deposited into any of the party’s accounts.
“The chairman routinely embezzles funds from party accounts by making unauthorized transfers to proxies, such as young, gullible administrative employees at our national secretariat, and to cars intended for special purposes that he, his wife, and/or other family members own.
“Mr. Abure has greatly tarnished our esteemed party and caused controversy.” The confidence that party members and the “Obedient Movement” across the country had in him has been totally betrayed by his actions.
Essentially, his propensity for thievery and financial misconduct may have put our chances in previous and upcoming elections in jeopardy all by himself.
“I implore Mr. Abure to respond right now to the following questions: Explain how the N3.5 billion from the sale of election forms in 2023 was raised; explain why the money from Edo State was placed in private accounts.
“Report on the N958 million that was raised in 2023 through off-cycle elections.” Assure adherence to due process by providing paper trails and documentary proof.
“Disclose all funds raised during the US fundraising tour in 2023, along with supporting documentation regarding the storage and allocation of donations.”
“Explain the source of funding for properties purchased between 2022 and 2023, both in Nigeria and elsewhere. Give written proof.
“As national treasurer, grant me unrestricted access to party accounts and documents. Allow our party’s finances to be the subject of an impartial, third-party forensic audit, to be carried out by a recognized, global company.
“Explain why he purposefully disregarded the Labour Party’s constitution and undercut my authority.
“Provide proof that he hasn’t misused his position of authority to steal, launder money, or benefit himself.”
There is absolutely no validity to her claims – LP
Speaking through the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Obiora Ifoh, Abure responded by dismissing Okpara’s claims as collections of fabrications inspired by other powers.
“The National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure, has been the target of several allegations regarding corruption and abuse of office,” he stated, drawing the attention of the party’s leadership to a press conference held by our National Treasurer, Ms. Oluchi Opara.
“We would like to clarify that the national treasurer, who is undoubtedly influenced by outside parties, did nothing more than read aloud a prepared statement written by those who oppose the party to further damage its reputation.”