‘Ayu said he deliberately didn’t respond to things said about him in the media because his focus was on winning the 2023 general elections’
The embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, on Friday broke his silence on the controversies surrounding the return of over N100m “housing allowance” to the party’s coffers by some National Working Committee members.
According to Ayu, the NWC unanimously agreed on the allowance, and that the reports claiming that the money was a bribe or an illegal payment as being alleged by some persons were untrue.
Ayu who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Simon Imobo-Tswam in a statement said his mission was to return the party to power and that he wasn’t after the finances of the party. He spoke while welcoming the Forum of Elected Ex-Officio Members of the party who paid him a solidarity visit at the party’s headquarters.
He said, “The NWC met and discussed the issue of Housing Allowance. It was unanimously agreed that no bribe or any form of illegality took place. A statement has since been issued to that effect. The matter has now been laid to rest.
“The PDP was not founded to be in opposition. We founded the party to access power and develop the country and my historic task is to return the party to power. I won’t be chairman forever. For now, my preoccupation is to return the party to power. I did not come to steal. My public service record is there.
“I have been a leader of the National Assembly. I have been a minister many times. As a person, I have many faults, but stealing is not one of them. I am conscious of my place in history, and the NWC that I lead is guided by the twin-principles of transparency and accountability.”
The chairman said he deliberately didn’t respond to things said about him in the media because his focus was on winning the 2023 general elections.
Ayu added, “You may be reading many things and expecting my reaction. If we don’t always talk, it is because we want to maintain and build cohesion in the party. We don’t want continuous altercations in the PDP family. Our eyes are on the big picture, which is winning the 2023 general elections.
“Therefore, let us not lose focus. Let us keep our eyes glued to the big picture. Everything else is secondary. We took office because there was a crisis in the party and we don’t want to keep moving from crisis to crisis. It’s not good for the party. We can’t be in perpetual crisis, especially where the crisis is artificial.”
Speaking on the party’s finances, Ayu stated that he had instructed the Finance Department to maintain and update the party’s statement of income and expenditure for presentation to the party’s National Executive Committee at the first-year anniversary of the present NWC in December.
He said although he has many faults as a human being, stealing was not one of them, adding that the present NWC was being guided by the principles of transparency and accountability.
The Chairman of the Forum, Yunana Iliya, said the members were at the party secretariat to express their solidarity with the national chairman and pledge their loyalty to his leadership.
“We stand by the recent vote of confidence passed on you by the highest decision-making body of the party, the National Executive Committee, and we urge all party faithful to close ranks in PDP’s rescue work,” he added.