There are indications that the approval of housing and vehicle allowances for members of the National Working Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress is causing disquiet among the staff at the party’s national secretariat.
The development came in the wake of protest by workers who claimed they were still owed September salary.
This is as the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, told our correspondent that the salary issue was being addressed, noting that the delay was as a result of an ‘internal mechanism.’
The revelation came some weeks after the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, replaced six suspended departmental directors at the national secretariat.
The affected directors were Anietie Offong (Welfare); Bartholomew Ugwoke (Research); Abubakar Suleiman (Finance); Dr Suleiman Abubakar (Administration); Salisu Dambatta (Publicity) and Dare Oketade, (Head of Legal).
In the last two weeks, the media has been awash with reports of their alleged dismissal and replacement with others.
Defending his action at a media parley, Adamu disclosed that the move was to sanitise the system.
He also denied allegations that he appointed his cronies as replacements.
While noting that he met systemic corruption, people who were tardy in their jobs and a register containing over 200 names that included ghost workers, the APC chairman said it was impossible for him to overlook such anomalies.
The sacked directors, however, contended that their removal was premeditated.
A former Director of Administration of the party, Abubakar Suleiman, accused the Adamu-led NWC of failing to disclose their ‘sin’ before forcing them into ‘compulsory annual leave’.
He said, “Adamu lied. Nothing went wrong. The secretariat was in good hands. What necessitated his decision was not known to us or anybody. It was an agendum. Nobody was indicted. I am sure you must have heard the accounts of other directors too. Nothing went wrong anywhere.”
Asked about Adamu’s claim of N7.5bn, he dismissed it as non-existent.
He said, “As directors, we didn’t approve anything. Our job was to implement. If the party feels otherwise, let the EFCC or other anti-corruption body be invited to investigate the APC accounts, including the secret ones being operated by the party leadership.”
Meanwhile, barely one month after they were replaced, our correspondent learnt from top party sources that Adamu and members of the NWC paid themselves four years allowances.
One of the sources said, “Adamu and the NWC members have paid themselves four-year allowances upfront. Of course, they are doing this because they know many of them can’t stay long in that secretariat and it is unfortunate many people are afraid to talk about it.
“We made N39bn just from the sale of forms at the convention, you won’t believe that by September (last month), the party leadership spent over N20bn out of it.
“If he contests it, let him bring details of the account rendered before those directors were subtly pushed out of the system. I read the reports from his interview with the media last week.
“There was nowhere in the handover note left in the care of the party leadership that N7.5bn was owed, as Adamu is alleging. Before the Adamu-led NWC took over, all arrears were cleared and salaries were not owed. It is on record that we were usually paid on the 25th of every month. What do we have now? They are just allocating allowances and buying themselves cars all over the place.”
Some disgruntled and pensive-looking staff told our correspondent that life had become unbearable for them under the current leadership of the party.
They said they were even more angered by the ongoing renovation at the secretariat, which they claimed was being done at the expense of their survival.
An administrative staff member confided in our correspondent that after their protest, the chairman only approved the payment of August salary.
She said, “They did not even give us any form of assurance when we will be paid our September salary. I must say things have been tough working under this current chairman.
“While we were still struggling to contend with being owed September salary, the leadership of the party brought in people to remodel the structure of the secretariat in order to give it a facelift.
“How do you leave payment of people’s salary and focus on the renovation of a building? It shows the party is not broke as they are trying to make us believe.”
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