The crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has worsened as the “sacked” directors at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, Tuesday accused its national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, of operating “secret accounts” without the resolution of the National Working Committee (NWC).
The “sacked” directors, in a statement, also accused the chairman of disregarding the cashless policy and withdrawing the sum of N3bn from the “secret accounts.”
Adamu had, on April 22, ordered all departmental directors at the party’s headquarters in Abuja to proceed on indefinite suspension over allegations of corruption.
They are; Elder Anietie Offong (Director, Welfare); Bartholomew I. Ugwoke (Research); Abubakar Suleiman (Finance); Dr Suleiman Abubakar (Administration); Salisu Na’inna Dambatta (Publicity); and Dare Oketade, Head, Legal.
Adamu has since replaced the directors.
On assumption of office on April 1, Adamu set up a transition committee headed by a former governor of Jigawa State, Ali Saad Birnin Kudu, to study the handing over notes of the then Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee led by Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni and other issues affecting the party.
The directors were said to have been sacked based on the recommendations of the committee.
All efforts to get back to their offices, including writing a letter dated July 20, 2022, seeking the intervention of the National Executive Committee (NEC), proved abortive.
Daily Trust reports that the compulsory one-month leave given to them started on April 22, and ended on May 22, 2022 but they were not allowed to return to their offices.
Addressing a press conference last week, Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State, accused the directors of corruption, saying his administration inherited a debt of N7.5bn from the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
But the statement signed by the five “sacked” directors and the head of legal, argued that the transition committee didn’t recommend their sack, hence they are still legitimate staff of the party and must be paid their entitlements.
They said Adamu’s claim of inheriting N7.5bn debt from the Buni committee was false, alleging that he (Adamu) rather opened secret accounts without the approval of the NWC where he made a withdrawal of N3bn against the cashless policy.
Part of the statement reads: “Allegation of corruption at the secretariat. This allegation is groundless and unproven. The withdrawal of N3,000,000,000 (three billion naira) in cash from some secret accounts that were reportedly opened without a resolution of the current NWC, or approval by the National Executive Committee (NEC), did not happen when the directors and head of legal were in office.
“An explanation of this anomaly and breach of the cashless policy by the national chairman is desirable lest unwholesome allegations fly around.
“We are compelled to respond to some of his claims, which are totally unfounded, to keep the records in the public domain accurate, thus making same a reliable source of reference in the future.
“We can simply say that there were no ghost workers in the APC secretariat during the tenure of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee.
“To substantiate the claim of the existence of ghost workers, their names and total number should be published by the chairman (Adamu).
“There is no substance in the claim that there were arrears of staff salaries when the current leadership of the party assumed office.”
This is because staff salaries were paid up to the end of March 2022 to ensure that the new leadership of the party comes in on a clean slate regarding staff salaries.
“The staff can testify to this fact. It is therefore incorrect to say that the Abdullahi Adamu team inherited any salary arrears.
“The one-month compulsory annual leave for the directors and head of legal was a strange idea. The extant APC Staff Conditions of Service list the types of leave recognised. There is nothing like Compulsory Annual Leave. It was a contraption and totally ultra-vires.
“It was conceived to merely get rid of innocent senior staff and loyal members of the party from their jobs. We remain loyal party members.
“Relying on the relevant provisions of the APC Staff Conditions of Service and the approved APC Constitution as amended, we still regard ourselves as legitimate members of the APC staff.
“This is because, going by the APC constitution, the chairman, working alone or in conjunction with the members of the NWC, does not have the power to remove any employee of the party or recruit new staff without following the rules and procedures set out in the APC Constitution and the APC Staff Conditions of Service.
“What we said in our communication with the chairman and other appropriate organs of the party was that, in the event our services were no longer required, we should be disengaged through the rules spelt out and our entitlements paid, including all salaries from September 2022 and any subsequent months to the date of disengaging us fairly.
“We humbly urge the national chairman to kindly, and as an experienced administrator, pore through the Audited Financial Statement 2021 carefully. Therein, there is no sentence or paragraph which includes any legal fee liability.
“Therefore, given this fact, it is regrettable that the claim of a N7.5 billion outstanding legal fee was made by no other person than the national chairman of our great party. His Excellency should have attached the list of the cases for which fees are outstanding and other relevant details.”
Adamu faults claims
When contacted, Adamu, in a telephone interview, faulted the claims of the embattled directors, saying they have an allergy to money not spent.
“I laugh. They have an allergy to seeing money not spent, and they see me as the person behind it. They have their masters somewhere. I don’t fight shadows. If I want to fight, I fight straight. Let those who are behind them come out openly.
“There was nothing I did as Abdullahi Adamu; whatever I did was an act of the NWC, fully composed, full attendance and decision accepted by all. It is NWC’s decision. I’m not going to go into details,” he said.