LP suspends National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara for 6 months

Labour Party, LP, has suspended its National Treasurer, Ms Oluchi Opara, after she shunned an invitation by the disciplinary committee, to clear herself and her actions.

The party said the suspension takes immediate effect and is for six months.

LP National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, on allegations of abuse of office leveled against the leadership of the party by Ms Okpara, said the party had invited her to appear before the disciplinary committee, to clear herself and her actions, but she declined.

Ifoh said: “After the 2023 general election, the Labour Party was marked for total annihilation by the system for daring to upstage the status quo of the political class and up till today, the battle over the soul of the LP has continued to intensify.

“However, with God being on our side, we have refused to be strangulated in spite of all the subterfuge deployed by the perpetrators and their agents.

“It is no longer news that a few months ago, five members of the National Working Committee of the party chose to be agents of disintegration and the whole nation stood by us as we flushed them out.

“Smarting from that euphoria, little did we know that the fumigation was far from complete until late last year when signs emanate that our National Treasurer, Ms Oluchi Opara, a key member of the executive turned to be a mole in the house and has continued networking with the expelled members of the party leadership.

“It may surprise you to know that the text of the press conference by Ms Opara was actually written for her since November 2023, by the camp of the dissident former members, a copy she tendered in one of our December NWC meeting.

“The leadership of the party made series of efforts to dissuade her from not pulling down the roof of the home she has lived in for 10 years as the longest serving Treasurer in history of political party in Nigeria.

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“Before I address her trumped up allegations, point by point, it would be important to let the world know that when someone is compromised, albeit pecuniary, and when you can’t match the stake, nothing on earth can stop the inevitable.

“Because the party was smarting out from a crisis and afraid of further crisis, it pleaded with the Ms Opara to toe the path of honour not to conflagrate the party and even made her some promises.

“But her insistence of a brand new car, a duplex in the highbrow area in Abuja and a huge sum as her price eventually truncated whatever pacification efforts.

“Now, to some of her ridiculous allegations bordering on abuse of office and misappropriation of party fund, Julius Abure took over the rein of the party in 2021, after the death of the former Chairman, Alhaji A. Abdulsalam in December of 2020.

“A former Deputy National Chairman, Mrs. Maria Lebeke emerged as the acting National Chairman with of course Abure as the National Secretary.

“Ms Opara alleged that Abure forged signature of the late chairman two months after his death to withdraw huge sums of money but her memory was so short to remember that Abure only emerged as the Chairman about four months after the demise of the former Chairman.

“She also forgot in a hurry that she and the late chairman exclusively operated the accounts of the party.

“When Abure assumed office, it dawned on him as the Chief Accounting Officer of the party to build a proper accounting method which never existed throughout the eight years (as at 2022) of Ms Opara’s service as the Treasurer of the party.

“Real reason she was made a Treasurer is a discussion for another day but we dare her to present a single document of the party’s financial records from 2014 to 2021.

“The problem this NWC has with her was the insistence that a proper financial record be kept.

“The party has grown from portfolio party to a dinosaur party it has become in the last one year and there arose a need to do the proper thing.

“She also alleged that the party amassed a whooping N3.5 billion from sale of forms from the 2023 election.

“We wished that was true but the truth is that the party realised only N1.2 billion only from not just sale of forms but also from other sources including membership cards, donations amongst others.

“The party through the campaign bodies and support groups realised another N800million, a fund solely managed by the Campaign Organisation, not the party.

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“The party accounts have been properly audited up till June 2023, and have since been submitted and received by INEC.

“It may surprise you to know that not many political parties have submitted their 2022 audited accounts. The allegation that audited account was doctored is a matter of libel which we have taken note.

“She will be made to give further clarification as how banks transactions are falsified as auditors only work with evidences of transactions emanating from statements from the banks.

“The NWC as one its mandate to resolve any crisis in the party through its internal mechanisms procedure, met on (09-02-2024) last week and raised a five man investigation committee to take a critical look at the allegations that emanated from the National Treasurer with the mandate to within one month resolve the impasse and make recommendation to the committee of the whole.

“The National Treasurer and indeed all members of the NWC were present at the meeting and endorsed the committee.

“It was indeed a rude shock that in total disregard to the NWC position and trouble shooting efforts, that the National Treasurer, three days after reneged on the understanding that all attacks and diatribes cease for peace to rein.

“The National Treasurer on February 12, also disregarded a constituted authority of the party by addressing a world press conference where she disparaged the person of our national chairman and also brought the party to opprobrium.

“Not satisfied with the public humiliation, the National Treasurer on the following day appeared in ARISE television programme to further disrepute the party and misinformed millions of viewing public on the internal affairs of the party against the rules and regulations of the party.

“Convinced that the National Treasurer is on a mission to stifle life out of our very cherished party, an emergency NWC was summoned for February 13.

“Arising from the meeting, the NWC set up a disciplinary committee to try the National Treasurer, Ms Oluchi Opara for bringing the party to disrepute.

“At the meeting held Tuesday evening February 13, 2024, in Abuja, in exercise of its powers as contained in the Party’s Constitution with the intention of a fair hearing, the NWC extended an invitation to the National Treasurer to appear before it on Wednesday, 14, 2024, by 10am (12 hours) to discuss the recent development.

“The party regrets that the National Treasurer shunned the invitation by the disciplinary committee, to clear herself and her actions.

“We see this as an affront to the party leadership and millions of our members who are watching on how their party’s image which they have laboured hard to build is trolled by one ingrate.

“The disciplinary committee has, however, recommended to the National Executive Council of the party through the National Working Committee that Ms Oluchi Opara be suspended from the Labour Party for a minimum of six months.

“This suspension is with immediate effect.

“We sincerely regret this development. We however urge our teaming members to understand that this is a price to pay for success.

“We will continue to reform the party until we achieve the best, good enough to drive our New Nigeria agenda,” he added.

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