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LP suspends national treasurer for accusing Abure of ‘misappropriation of funds’

BY Ahmad Sahabi

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The Labour Party (LP) has suspended Oluchi Opara, its national treasurer, for accusing Julius Abure, national chairman of the party, of misappropriation of funds.

On Monday, Opara, during a press conference in Abuja, accused Abure of allegedly misappropriating N3.5 billion belonging to the party.

She said the N3.5 billion was raised from sales of forms and fundraising activities in the build-up to the 2023 elections.

Opara said she was compelled to raise alarm because the “internal mechanisms” in the party have “failed woefully” to hold Abure accountable for “brazen abuse of office and misappropriation of party funds”.

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But the LP in a reaction said the national treasurer is “under some external influences” and only read a press statement written by “our detractors to further tar the image of the party”.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Obiora Ifoh, LP’s national publicity secretary, said Opara has been suspended for six months.

Ifoh said LP did not raise N3.5 billion from the sale of forms as the national treasurer alleged.

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“We wished that was true but the truth is that the party realised only N1.2 billion from not just the sale of forms but also from other sources, including membership cards, donations amongst others,” Ifoh said.

“The party through the campaign bodies and support groups realized another N800.000.000, a fund solely managed by the Campaign Organisation, not the party.

“The party accounts have been properly audited up till June 2023 and have since been submitted and received by INEC.”

Ifoh said the leadership of the LP on Tuesday set up a disciplinary committee to probe the national treasurer over the accusations she made.

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He said the committee invited Opara to appear before it on Wednesday to clear her name in the spirit of a fair hearing but shunned the invitation.

The LP spokesperson said the disciplinary committee thereafter recommended Opara’s suspension from the party.

“Convinced that the National Treasurer is on a mission to stifle life out of our very cherished party, an emergency NWC was summoned yesterday being February 13,” Ifoh said.

“Arising from the meeting, the NWC set up a disciplinary committee to try the National Treasurer, Ms Oluchi Opara for bringing the party to disrepute.

“At the meeting held Tuesday evening February 13, 2024, in Abuja, in exercise of its powers as contained in the Party’s Constitution with the intention of a fair hearing, the NWC extended an invitation to the National Treasurer to appear before it on Wednesday (Today) February 14, 2024 by 10am (12 hours) to discuss the recent development.

“The party regrets that the National Treasurer shunned the invitation by the disciplinary committee, to clear herself and her actions.

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“We see this as an affront to the party leadership and millions of our members who are watching on how their party’s image which they have laboured hard to build is trolled by one ingrate.

“The disciplinary committee has however recommended to the National Executive Council of the party through the National Working Committee that Ms Oluchi Opara be suspended from the Labour Party for a minimum of 6 months. This suspension is with immediate effect.

“We sincerely regret this development. We however urge our teaming members to understand that this is a price to pay for success. We will continue to reform the party until we achieve the best, good enough to drive our New Nigeria agenda.”

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