*Commotion in Labour Party as treasurer, Oluchi Oparah, accuses Abure of financial recklessness, corruption, others*
…Demands account for N3.5bn
In a shocking turn of events, the Labour Party has been thrown into chaos as its National Treasurer, Oluchi Oparah, has made serious allegations of financial recklessness, corruption, and other misconduct against the party’s national chairman, Mr. Julius Abure.
These accusations have cast a cloud of uncertainty over the party’s integrity and raised questions about its financial management.
Oparah addressed the media earlier today and took aim at Abure, accusing them of misappropriating party funds, engaging in corrupt practices, and exhibiting a general disregard for fiscal responsibility.
The treasurer contends 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 said the finances amount to over N3.5 billion, derived from form sales and other fundraising activities for the 2023 general elections.
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.
She alleged: “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.
“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 community. 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.
“The chairman regularly syphones monies from the party accounts through unauthorized transfers to proxy individuals, including junior unsuspecting administrative staff at our national secretariat, as well as special purpose vehicles owned by himself and/or his wife and/or other family members.
“To conceal his financial crimes from the authorities, Mr. Abure doctored audit reports in 2023 and tried to bribe me severally – first with money, then a new car and even a new house, to ratify his hoax financial statements. I rejected his bribes and obstruction of my duties as Treasurer. Indeed, 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”).”
Amongst other things, she urged Abure to immediately provide answers to “Provide documentation for the N3.5 billion raised from the sale of forms for the 2023 elections and why Edo State proceeds went into private accounts.
“Account for the N958 million raised from off-cycle elections in 2023. Provide paper trails and documentary evidence of adherence to due process. Declare every single dollar raised from the 2023 US fundraising tour and provide documentation on where donations were warehoused and how the same was appropriated.
“Explain the source of funds for properties bought in Nigeria and abroad between 2022 and 2023. Provide paper evidence. Allow me unfettered access to party accounts and records as National Treasurer.
“Submit to an independent forensic audit of our party’s finances, to be conducted by a reputable international firm. Explain why he has deliberately undermined my authority and flouted the Labour Party’s constitution.
“Provide evidence that he has not abused his office for personal enrichment through theft, money laundering, or abuse of power.”