The crisis rocking the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken another dimension as Great Ogboru, the party's governorship candidate in the 2019 election, has been taken to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by a coalition of members of the party over "embezzlement of election funds running into N3billion”.
Speaking to SaharaReporters on the issue, an executive member of the coalition who simply identified himself as 'Freeborn', disclosed that a formal petition has since been forwarded to the anti-graft agency and other relevant authorities "to probe Great Ogboru on how the N3billion given to him for the purpose of elections was expended”.
"Part of the N3billion was for the 2019 campaign for our party, the APC, as well as the general election proper.
However, rather than use the money for the purpose it was released, our APC governorship candidate, Great Ogboru, decided to embezzle the cash. We must get to the root of this matter. It is a known fact that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has zero tolerance for corruption, while a person like Great Ogboru, a serial election loser, is here fighting back corruption."
Ogboru had polled 215,938 votes and was defeated by Ifeanyi Okowa, the incumbent Governor of the state and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 925,274 votes.
Addressing a press conference on Monday in Asaba, the Delta State capital, Daniel Ekiugbo, convener of the Coalition of Delta APC Support Groups, accused Ogboru of "embezzling" the N3billion.
He said: “It is of public knowledge that Great Ogboru presented a budget of N3billion, which was over funded and availed to him. There was no evidence anywhere that he spent N1billion for the elections.
"He refused to properly disburse and chose to release paltry amounts only to his few chosen supporters. Even for his local government rallies, he never released a dime, instead he directed that local government leaders and supporters task themselves to fund such rallies, and because most leaders couldn’t raise such funds, a lot of local government rallies were either abandoned or turn out to be huge flops.
"We are also urging the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to set up a panel of enquiry to review the outcome of the election, with a view to unravelling how the over N3billion released to Ogboru for the purpose of the election was disbursed. Ogboru as governorship candidate of the party was a misadventure; his ambition was selfishly driven to rake-in election funds without any strategy put in place to guarantee victory. Ogboru should be made to explain the whereabouts of the huge financial provisions for the entire 2019 general elections.”
Meanwhile, Ogboru has said the allegations are "baseless and unfounded".
Speaking through Zik Okafor Zulu, his media assistant who doubles as Director of Media of Delta APC Campaign Council, Ogboru noted that some persons had been hired to “peddle such wicked and malicious allegations in a bid to tarnish the reputation of a man with an unimpeachable character”.
“These persons believe everybody is in politics to make money. Ordinarily we will not waste time reacting to this preposterous allegations. Ogboru is a wealthy man; his major business is fishing. He has spent more than N5billion of his money on his gubernatorial ambition,” he said.