By Festus Ahon & Egufe Yafugborhi
ASABA—THE crisis rocking Delta State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, is getting messier by the day as Chairman of the party, Prophet Jones Erue, and the embattled state Secretary, Mr. Chidi Okonji, have been at daggers drawn with accusations and counter accusations over collection of a N600, 000.00 grant by the Delta State Government to all political parties in the state, among others.
It will be recalled that the leadership of the party had last week Wednesday suspended Mr Okonji over alleged romance with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state.
Speaking, Okonji, who described his suspension as illegal, claimed that “there was no meeting of the party’s State Executive Council, SEC, made up of 35 members, which has the constitutional right to suspend me,” and maintained that Prophet Erue authorized him to collect the N600,000.00 grant.
According to him: “Prophet Erue authorized me through a letter to collect the grant of N500, 000.00 only on behalf of the party. He (Prophet Jones Erue) divided the money into two and collected half. Erue however said that the grant ought to be N600, 000 and said that he was going to see the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Political Matters to confirm the amount.”
Okonji alleged that he was also being victimised because he asked Prophet Erue to return the “party’s bus donated by Atiku and for him to call an SEC meeting to address burning issues including the N13.5 million Christmas gift given to the party.”
Okonji claimed that part of his offence was that he asked the party Chairman “to account for the N5 million given him to run the party every month; and to stop using his personal account to siphon money from the party’s account. My purported suspension is null and void as the nine person-meeting (State Working Committee) lacks the constitutional power to suspend or apply any punitive action without the approval of SEC.”
But a in a swift reaction, Prophet Erue denied authorizing Okonji to collect the grant, alleging that he (Okonji) forged his signature.
Erue said he had reported the matter to the Police.
On the issue of the bus, he said the bus was in his custody for safe keeping.
On the N13.5 million, he said the figure was not correct, adding that the said Christmas money they got was evenly distributed among party officials and “every State Working Committee, SWC member got N100, 000 each including Okonji and me.”
On the issue of N5 million, he said it was not true and challenged Okonji to prove his allegation.
Earlier at a briefing in Warri, while denying the allegations, Erue noted: “To be fair, we requested party leaders to support the party at Christmas and to also help in sorting out crucial pending party requirements. We received some funds but suffice to say it is below the figure Okonji is suggesting. Regrettably I did not receive any N13.5 million. The police are looking for Okonji. I await the outcome of ongoing investigations which, to a large extent, will determine my next course of action.”