By Fegor Oghene, Asaba
Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suspended its Secretary, Chidi Okonji, for receiving N600, 000.00 from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on behalf of the party.
The money was said to be a grant to APC but the party described it as a bribe to the secretary.
But in a swift reaction, the embattled secretary said it was only the State Executive Council (SEC), comprising 35 members, that has the constitutional power to suspend him.
According to him, the state chairman, Prophet Jones Ode-Erue, received half of the money and was angry that the amount allotted to APC was meagre.
He said his problem started after he asked Erue to account for the monthly N5 million given to run the party, and urged him to return the party bus donated by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and resisted him from using his personal account to siphon party’s funds.
Erue, who signed the suspension letter at an enlarged meeting convened in Asaba yesterday, said Chidi’s action was capable of bringing the party to disrepute and public opprobrium and he is thereby suspended indefinitely for “criminal forgery, fraudulent conversion and connivance with Delta state government.”
Erue accused Chidi of “collecting N600, 000.00 as purported grant without the knowledge and permission of the hierarchy of the party.”
“APC will not, cannot and will never collect any money in the name of grant from the failed Okowa led PDP government in Delta state. APC takes exception to the activities of these political miscreants and this issue has been decisively dealt with.”
He maintained that APC under his chairmanship would resist every attempt by “a government that could not pay workers ‘ salaries in spite of the bail-out funds given to it by the APC led Federal Government.
Continuing, “A government that could not revamp the existing but decayed infrastructure in the state let alone builds new ones. A government that had illegally reduced the salaries of workers by over 60 per cent without recourse to their economy well-being.
A government that has unconstitutionally sacked over 600 civil servants on the flimsy excuse that they were not employed through due process.
A government that has failed council workers and refused to pay their salaries for 13 months thereby defeating the purpose for setting up the 3rd tier of government. A government that has smartly increased the pains and woes of Deltans by astronomically increasing tertiary school fees by over 50 per cent, from destabilising his party.
According to Erue, “For the sustenance of their evil machination, the PDP led government decided to employ the service of APC suspended secretary, Comrade Chidi Okonji and others whose identities will soon be unravelled.”