The party stakeholders have accused the state party chairman of pocketing a lion’s share of the funds realised from the sale of nomination forms to aspirants.
Although the national convention and presidential primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had since come and gone, the rumpus in some state chapters of the party over the alleged pocketing of the largesse allegedly doled out by presidential aspirants is far from being over.
In the Enugu State chapter of the party, a crisis looms as delegates in the last convention as well as party stakeholders are set for a showdown with the state party chairman, Ugochukwu Agballa, and the governorship candidate, Uche Nnaji.
The party stakeholders have accused the state party chairman of pocketing a lion’s share of the funds released for the purchase of nomination forms for various offices for Enugu APC members.
Available information from sources privy to happenings in the Enugu APC shows that delegates, numbering 51, are plotting to demonstrate at the party’s secretariat in the state to compel their chairman, Agballa and Uche Nnaji to release over $1.5 million dollars allegedly collected in their names from various aspirants at the presidential convention.
“Greed is a general phenomenon in Nigerian politics, but that of Ugo Agballa has no equals. They collected various sums amounting to over $1.5 million in our names, but pocketed the funds out of greed.
“Enugu had 51 delegates for the national convention. Senator Ahmed Lawan brought $10,000. But Agballa and Nnaji gave $5,000 to each delegate and pocketed $5,000. It means that they shared $255,000 and took $255,000.
“Both men also coordinated Vice President Yemi Osibanjo’s outreach to delegates. Osibanjo brought $5,000 for each delegate, totalling $255,000, but they pocketed all.
“Did you know that Ogun delegates rejected Osibanjo’s $5,000, maybe because Tinubu gave them $25,000 each? But in our own case, we didn’t even see Osibanjo’s largesse. We would probably not have known if his direct national coordinators did not inform us.
“Tinubu gave $10,000 to each Enugu delegate. That was a total of $510,000 from Tinubu pocketed by Agballa till date and he is accusing other people of corruption.
“Now, add the monies brought by (Godswill) Akpabio, (Tein) Jack-Rich and others, and then you know how much we were short-changed by greedy men. It is well over $1.5 million.
“The only money we got in full was the $5,000 shared by Rotimi Amaechi to each of the 51 delegates from Enugu. Eugene Odo and Ayogu Eze coordinated for him and everyone got $5,000 each. Even the same Ugo Agballa and Uche Nnaji, the governorship candidate that should be giving money to us all got their $5,000 from Amaechi.
“We heard that while Agballa is using our money to build an estate, Nnaji quickly bought himself a house overseas.
“So, did we go to Abuja just to view the Aso Rock? Virtually all of us had seen that rock many times over. We were no tourists to Abuja,” an aggrieved party member said.
He continued, “As you know, we have never been lucky in Enugu State as a party. So, we were given a total of N238 million to ensure we fielded candidates for all the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate, and governorship seats. That way, you have people who have something at stake mobilising for the party at all levels. That way, we can at least hope for 25 per cent votes in the presidential election in Enugu.
“In Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, they gave the ticket to one Madam Claire Ilo. She is from Oji River, based in the USA and does not even have a clue as to what goes on in Nigerian or Enugu politics.
“Expression of Interest form for the House of Representatives is N1 million, but the nomination fee, which should have been N10 million, is free for women. So, that is another N10 million sidestepped.
“By the way, what is the wisdom in giving both the senatorial and House of Representatives tickets to the same Oji River?
“The surrogate they brought in as the candidate for Nkanu East/Nkanu West Federal Constituency where the governorship candidate comes from, is one office cleaner at the party’s office somewhere around Nza Street Enugu, Independence Layout, Enugu. Her name is Uchime Ogbu. That is another N10 million expression of interest form skipped and retired.
“In Enugu South/Enugu North Federal Constituency, they fielded Mrs. Juliet Egbo, wife of John Egbo, a major PDP stakeholder from Enugu South LGA. Is that not laughable?
“In her own case, she even bought her nomination form by herself. In other words, Agballa did not spend a dime as the expression of interest, which is supposed to be N1 million or N10 million for the nomination form, which is free for women.
“The entire Enugu West and Enugu North Senatorial District National Assembly candidates bought their forms by themselves. In some places like Igboeze North/Udenu, we don’t even have House of Representatives candidates. For any federal constituency, we didn’t field a candidate, that is N11 million not spent.
“So, where is all the money? How can Agballa not account for a whooping $238 million or over $1.5 million national convention money? As things stand now, if the party leadership in Abuja refuses to prevail on Agballa to cough out both, then he, his governorship candidate, and their master in Imo State should be ready to deliver APC alone.
“Even at that, we are ready to give them a fight of their lives since they think we are all fools as well as weak men and women. We are mobilising to the party office this week because we are not all fools.”
Meanwhile, Agballa has been having running battles with party chieftains in the state since his emergence.
In August, a delegation of the state’s APC stakeholders led by former Senate President and member of the defunct national caretaker committee, Senator Ken Nnamani, stormed the national secretariat of the party where they met with the national leadership to call for Agballa’s removal and the appointment of a caretaker committee.
Apart from Nnamani, the petition was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; former governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime; former Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Hon. Eugene Odoh; former state chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye; Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu; member of the Police Service Commission, Onyemuche Nnamani, Member of the Federal Character Commission, Ginika Tor; Member of National Deposit Insurance Company, NDIC, Gen JOJ Okoloagu; Former Governorship Candidate of the party, Senator Ayogu Eze; and former Attorney-General, Enugu State, Barr. Ifeanyi Nwoga, among others.
Others include former governorship candidate and National Secretary of the United Nigeria Congress Party, Chief Gbazuagu Nweke Gbazuagu; Ambassador of Nigeria to Poland, Ambassador Christian Ugwu.
Efforts made to get Agballa’s reaction were unsuccessful as he did not immediately respond to questions from SaharaReporters.