Workers at the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday insisted that the party’s leaders were the architects of its current misery, and should therefore stop blaming the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for their woes.
The workers are currently at war with members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) over a planned 50 percent slash in their salaries and allowances.
The NWC had, through a circular by PDP’s National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo, also given notice of a 50 percent reduction in secretariat staff strength.
But the workers responded to the NWC’s move by dismissing the officials as corrupt, insensitive and reckless.
They also staged a protest at the party’s secretariat on Friday, and threatened to drag the NWC members to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for investigation.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, did not take kindly to the workers’ action.
He accused them of acting the script of the APC with a view to destabilising the PDP.
However, the workers, under the aegis of the PDP Staff Welfare Association, dismissed Metuh’s accusation as “absolute bunkum, clumsy, and blundering blackmail.”
The association’s Chairman, Ngozi Nze and the Secretary, Dan Ochu-Baiye vowed, in a statement, to expose more of the party leaders’ corrupt practices.
Describing Metuh’s stand point as “a weak shot from a mortally crippled arsenal of witch hunt”, the workers said such blackmail would not break their resolve to see the NWC members investigated and prosecuted.
Their words: “Metuh’s allegation is a wide window into the impressionable character of the man who has been in the saddle as the party’s image-maker and an ominous signpost into the shallow manner the publicity of the party has been run.
“We wish to state that this is a man whose conduct, demeanour and media outings have been a repulse to professionalism and a source of embarrassment to party members.
“We therefore place it on record that the majority of the establishment staff of the PDP are not just unrepentant members of the party who have spent over sixteen years in service; who have assimilated the PDP ethos as a way of political life, but are also the repository of the party’s institutional memory whose spirit can hardly succumb to the ephemeralty of power loss.
“Who plays anti-party? you may ask. Staff members who are genuinely resisting the morally repugnant and obsessively corrupt NWC so that the PDP will survive, or the likes of Olisa Metuh who have a track record of anti-party given his open endorsement of APGA candidate in the 2013 Anambra governorship election.
“What with Metuh’s subsequent denigration of the PDP candidate and his chances on live television programme less than 24 hours after the election, even as the result was being awaited?
“Earlier in January 2010 Anambra governorship election, Metuh as National Vice Chairman, South East, abandoned Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the PDP candidate while openly galvanizing support for Hope Democratic Party candidate, his friend and benefactor.
“The PDP did not only woefully lose in Otolo Nnewi Ward 1 of the Party’s zonal vice chairman, but came a distant third in his polling booth! What a faithful party officer!”
They queried Metuh’s support for former President Goodluck Jonathan in the run up to the last election and wondered what happened to “a whopping sum of N450 million media fund earlier approved for the office of PDP Publicity Secretary by President Jonathan.”
They also cited the recent congresses in Anambra as “another signpost to the destructive trajectory which the likes of Olisa Metuh is driving the PDP to.”
They added:”as we write, the party is still waiting for the result of the congresses a week after it was held, pending when Metuh is done with his conclave of distortion and extortion.
“This is the same man who we reliably gathered, is surreptitiously scheming to emerge as the Organizing Secretary of the party next year. To do what? Turn the party organization into Idumota Market and institutionalize extortion, graft and impunity.
“This is a man who started in 1999 as a zonal youth leader, then National Ex-officio, Acting National Auditor, Zonal Vice Chairman and now publicity secretary. It is either his umbilical cord was buried at Wadata Plaza or that he can’t survive on any other thing except the PDP.
“We make bold to add that the worst form of anti-party is the mindless plunder of the party resources by the NWC which Olisa Metuh is an integral part. He is, in fact, the leader of the body’s extortion gang.
“Recall that the same man was the Chairman of Kogi State congresses which held last week and match it with the fact that the widely rumoured request for one billion Naira from the state governor emanated the same week.
“Indeed, labelling the staff of the PDP could be a veiled attempt to justify the huge sum of N70 million which Metuh collected in July in the name of fighting the APC in the media.
“We wish to therefore advise him and the NWC to respond to gritty issues raised in our press briefing without which the fortunes of the party will continue to dwindle.”
The workers had, among others, accused the party leaders of squandering N12 billion realised from the sale of nomination forms during the last general election.
They also alleged that the party leaders had compelled delegates to pay N10,000 each into a private account of a company called Morufi Nigeria Limited only to squander the over N1 billion realised from the transaction.
Metuh in his reply to the workers volunteered to be investigated by the security agencies over the allegations of corruption against him.
In a statement by his Personal Assistant, Mr. Richard Ihediwa, Metuh said the workers’ actions were meant to bring to public odium and to distract him from his duties.
He said he was being persecuted by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) through the workers, for his relentless criticism of the policies and programmes of the administration.
According to him, “This is not unexpected given the role of the National Publicity Secretary in the rebuilding of our great party and how uncomfortable the ruling APC has been for his outspokenness.
“We are aware that the anti-PDP forces have easily found a handful of disgruntled PDP staff as willing tools to attack Chief Metuh with a view to bringing him to public odium, distract him and deny our party a credible voice to propagate its positions.
“These forces had even gone to the extent of engineering some discontented PDP members to portray statements by the National Publicity Secretary as his personal opinions in the attempt to discredit and intimidate him.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state categorically that the National Publicity Secretary will not be deterred or detracted by such threats and cheap blackmails as he remains committed to his role in the rebuilding of the PDP and in providing firm, credible and issue based opposition to the ruling party.
“This office would not join issues with these elements, however we make bold to state that Chief Olisa Metuh, being aware of the challenges that come with his new role has offered himself, his office as well as all his private companies for probe by the Department of State Services (DSS) or any other government agency for that matter.
“We also find it laughable that anybody would criticise the recent PDP congresses in Anambra and Kogi that have been widely applauded to be transparent and credible as established by the peace and harmony that characterised the processes.
“One also wonders how the issue of congresses helps the case of welfare matters being pushed by the staff, if not for the ulterior motive of destroying the PDP publicity”.
Metuh said his accusers have deliberately refused to appreciate his immense contributions to the party and the fact that he became the longest serving member of the National Executive Committee due to hard work and the confidence members of the party reposed in him as an individual.
He expressed relief that his accusers are now calling for his investigation instead of resorting to plots to assassinate him.
“However, we restate that the National Publicity Secretary will not in any way be cowed or intimidated by the threats, blackmails and attacks by anti-PDP forces to abandon his mandate as spokesperson of our great party”, the statement