Account for funds from US, suspended treasurer urges LP national chairman

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The suspended National Treasurer of the Labour Party, Ms Oluchi Oparah, has challenged the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, to give an account of the donations received from Nigerians in the Diaspora during the campaign tour of LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in the United States.

According to reports, the Labour Party’s national leadership recently imposed a six-month suspension on Opara after she alleged that Abure misappropriated N3.5 billion purportedly generated from the sale of nomination forms and fundraising activities leading up to the 2023 general election.

Abure countered by stating that only N1.3 billion was collected by the party, with an additional N800 million allocated for the campaign. He challenged Opara to provide evidence supporting her claim of N3.5 billion.

However, Opara, undeterred by Abure’s response, reiterated her accusations during a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, insisting that Abure should disclose the funds raised during the LP presidential campaign tour in the US.

Opara said, “Abure used the name of the party to raise funds during the United States campaign tour. They reflected in all the documents and tickets I printed out. We have the tickets for $500 and $100 in the name of the party. But Abure returned and didn’t drop a dime. We are talking about a man who uses proxy accounts to withdraw money from the party.

“Again, for 10 to 11 months, Abure has been the only one withdrawing the money. I don’t know how he does it, whether by forgery or other means. We are three signatories to the accounts but the third person, a former chairman, is dead now.”

When contacted, Abure denied any wrongdoing, saying Opara was merely out to tarnish his image.

He said, “We made changes to the account. That was how we were able to run the party from January 2021 to March 2021 when we had the NEC meeting in Benin, where I emerged as the national chairman of the party. All the money withdrawn between January and March 2021 was co-signed with the acting national chairman, Maria Lebeke.

“I was the national secretary at the time and there was no way I could have withdrawn from the account or any person could have withdrawn money without the co-signatory. We brought in the new acting chairman who co-signed all the cheques, Opara equally co-signed the cheques. So, changes of signatories were made and we needed to run the party, and a lot of activities of the party at that time were co-signed by Maria Lebeke, and it is obvious.”