It is now clear why more members of the National Executive Council of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) backed out of the tenure elongation gambit championed by the party leadership.
It followed the unearthing of the party’s financial records indicating a breach of all known rules and personalization of party funds in “the most opaque manner.”
A top leader of the party allegedly authorized the disbursement of party funds into personal account of another senior member of the NEC.
It was discovered that savings of over N1b handed over in 2014 by the interim executive headed by Chief Bisi Akande was “hastily decimated without care for transparency.”
State chapters of the party were equally short changed in the disbursement of fund they are statutorily entitled to.
Hopes of party officials from the national to the ward levels having their tenure extended by a year suffered a setback last week when President Buhari bluntly described such a move as a breach of both the party constitution and the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
The President’s new position is at variance with the NEC’ resolution in February which had favoured tenure elongation on the grounds that extending the stay of the current executives (whose subsisting four-year tenure ends by June) would spare the party of possible internal acrimony that might jeopardize its chances ahead of the 2019 general polls.
Some members of the party national executive committee were said to have become crest-fallen when they got wind of the classified reports detailing consistent transfer of party funds running into billions of naira to personal bank accounts of a party chief over the years for purposes not stated in the covering memo.
It was further discovered that there was no clear paper trail on what all the funds were used for.
Said one member of the national executive committee who craved anonymity: “My brother, someone like me who initially was among those canvassing tenure elongation became dumb when I saw the reckless way party money was being used. If you don’t have anything to hide, why put party’s money in personal accounts? As if that is not bad enough, once money got released, no one bothered to explain for which purpose and no retirement was made in line with the principles of book-keeping.
“So, the conclusion one could draw is that these people asking us to support the extension of their stay in office by all means are only out to continue this financial recklessness.”
For instance, in the report sighted by The Nation, two “suspicious” transactions on a single day resulted in the transfer of N143.8m via two letters addressed to the manager of the Maitama, Abuja branch of a leading new generation bank. The cash moved in two instalments of N100 million and N43,880,000 ended up in the account of another member of the party’s executive committee who hails from the Southeast.
In another transaction, a letter entitled “Authority to Transfer the Sum of N50,000,000 from our account number (figure withheld)” was issued with the instruction to transfer the said amount to the same official.
On yet another day, another transfer of N48,470,000 from the party’s account with the Area 3, Abuja branch of a First Generation bank was carried out involving the two top executives of the party.
In total, the report indicated that “a whopping N671,640,000 was transferred to the personal account of the party executive alone under such suspicious circumstances”.
The transfers had continued when administrative workers at the national secretariat of the party were complaining of being owed salaries and wages.