By Dirisu Yakubu
Outgoing national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, called on Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State to speak up on allegations that the party collected money from him in the build up to his emergence as the PDP governorship candidate in the 2020 Edo governorship election.
At a valedictory session held in honour of the Prince Uche Secondus-led leadership at the party’s secretariat, yesterday, PDP denied demanding or collecting financial gratification before handing Obaseki the ticket of the party in September 2020 governorship election.
Speaking at the event, outgoing National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Let me state without mincing words that Governor Obaseki owes members of this National Working Committee, NWC, the responsibility of clearing our names before the public.
“I will like to place on record that this NWC did not demand any form of gratification from Obaseki before he got the ticket of our party.
“It is also important to restate that this NWC did not demand any form of ‘tax’ from Governor Obaseki neither did we collect same. He, therefore, owes it a duty to clear our names.”
Ologbondiyan’s demand is not unconnected with allegations made against the Secondus-led NWC by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, when a few months ago, he labeled them as tax collectors.
Ologbondiyan said: “Before the 2019 elections, we had already added three governors from Sokoto, Kwara, and Benue states. The Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives led a good number of their colleagues to team up with the party. The All Progressives Congress, APC, adopted a reckless maximum rigging to snatch Ekiti and Osun.
“We rebuilt the party in content and character and this made it an attraction. We came out of the election with 17 governors, the APC stole Imo State, while three governors later left the party to pursue personal endeavours which was not NWC’s fault.
“The 2018 elective national convention which produced our Presidential candidate was adjudged the best. It was keenly contested and not by consensus. At the end, none of the aspirants left the party.
“The NWC carried out reforms that stopped the use of Ghana Must Go to win nominations or tickets, restructured the workforce and adopted a smart approach. For many years, the party was unable to conduct online registration of its members. Today, we have our members registering online and our party has become digitally prepared ahead of any other party in our country.“
The valedictory session was attended by prominent party chieftains including incoming national chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, national secretary-elect, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki, among others.