By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has denied bribing members of its national working committee (NWC).
On Thursday, some NWC members returned different amounts paid to their accounts by the party’s leadership.
The NWC members include Deputy National Chairman (South), Amb Taofeek Arapaja; National Vice Chairman (South South) Chief Dan Orbih; National Women Leader, Prof Stella Effah-Atoe; and National Vice Chairman South West), Olasoji Adagunodo.
In their separate letters, they alluded to the fact that the party erroneously paid the said amounts into their accounts without stating the purpose.
Effah-Atoe was the only NWC member that said the money was for house rent, adding that she had to return it because of “uncomfortable media reportage.”
Reacting to the development, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, in a statement issued on Friday, said the NWC members were paid for housing allowance.
According to Ologunagba, the money went through due process before being paid into the accounts of the NWC members.
“The attention of the national working committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been drawn to misrepresenting reports in a section of the media alluding strange and unfounded motives to the housing allowance duly approved and paid to NWC members and staff of the party.
“The NWC has noted that this misleading report stemmed from an unfounded publication by a particular media outlet which suggested that the housing allowance, an entitlement duly approved and paid to national officials and staff of the party amounted to bribery.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP states in an unequivocal term that no funds were paid into the account of any member of the NWC as a bribe for any purpose whatsoever for that matter.
“To set the record straight, the housing allowance being referred to went through the due process of the party in line with the conditions of service and entitlement of the staff and principal officers of the party.
“If any individual, for any reason decides to return money duly approved and paid, such does not in any way suggest that the money was paid as bribe or indicate that it was illegitimate or unlawfully paid.
“A bribe is defined as ‘money or any other valuable consideration given or promised with a view to corrupting the behavior of a person especially in that person’s performance as a public official.’
“This is not the case in the payment of housing allowance duly approved for officials and staff of the party.
“The PDP therefore urges all members, teeming supporters and the general public to disregard the report and misleading insinuation which are clearly designed to malign the PDP, cause disaffection and distract our party from our mission to rescue, rebuild and redirect our nation from the misrule of the All Progressives Congress(APC),” the statement read.