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Ayu replies Wike: No one gave me N1bn… don’t bring my family into party affairs

BY Claire Mom

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Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has denied receiving N1 billion from a presidential hopeful.

Ayu’s statement comes after an allegation by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers, that the PDP chairman collected the money in the build-up to the party’s presidential primary.

Earlier on Friday, Wike had also said the PDP chairman’s children would disown him if his “secret” activities in the party are revealed.

Wike, who has been at the centre of the demand for Ayu’s removal from office, also alleged that Ayu received N100 million from a sitting governor.

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The accusation comes days after Wike described Ayu as “very corrupt”.

But speaking on Friday after a meeting with the party’s board of trustees (BoT), Ayu refuted the claims, saying loans were taken from a bank — owned by a PDP member at the time — to address the party’s “funding difficulties”.

“This is a meeting of the BoT which I am only a member. As allegations persist, it is an opportunity to clear the air,” he said.

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“I decided not to respond not to encourage altercations in the party. However, I want to make it clear that at no time did I, as the national chairman of the party, collect any N1 billion from anybody.

“When we came in and the party had funding difficulties, the presidential candidate suggested that we should take a loan from the bank and the owner of that bank is a member of the party. He has even left the party.

“The party never took any loan from anybody. Any money advanced to the party was declared before the NWC and handed over to the national treasurer. All our accounts are up to date and we promised to publish the accounts at the end of the year.

“On today’s allegations, I fully briefed the BoT that one of our governors made a contribution of N100 million for the revival of the PDI [Peoples Democratic Institute], which was housed in a portacabin, and I explained to them that we hired an appropriate place in Asokoro. We have furnished it; renovated it.

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“Three days we went there, inspected it, and the NWC decided that before commissioning, we should invite the governor in question to come and inspect what we have done with his contribution.

“I am happy that the national secretary of the party has since written a letter to that governor. I or the NWC has never took any money to carry out that renovation. In fact, we have not even exhausted that N100 million by one of the governors.”

Ayu also warned against dragging his family into the party’s affairs.

“The consistent attack on my person since the end of the convention on the 31st of May — I have refrained from reacting as the father of the party. I felt I should encourage reconciliation,” he said.

“But where it touches on my personal integrity, or even [when] my family members are brought into play, I appeal to such people to desist from trying to malign my character or bringing my family into party affairs.”

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