by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Recent allegations of “money bag politics” emanating from a political party adjudged to be youths and people’s liberation movement in Nigeria, the Peter Obi-led Labour Party (LP), may not be far from reality.
The Kaduna State executive members and supporters of the party are sharply divided and are seriously at loggerheads over a number of intraparty wrangling, including a N50 million Contestant Forms matter.
The bubble-burst is when the national executive of the party reportedly collected the said amount from Engr. Michael Auta, who is vying for Senatorial candidature of Zone C – against the party’s wishes and national interest.
Trouble started when a factional state party chairman, Mr Peter Hassan, who allegedly introduced three powerful politicians to the party’s national officials in Abuja for governorship position of the party in Kaduna, was declared suspended from the party.
Investigation revealed that, the national secretariat collected monies from three persons and allocated governorship candidates status to each of them without the consent of each other, prior to the closure of INEC’s official time table for primary elections.
While the first person to fall victim of party’s intrigues reportedly paid the some of N2.8 million, the second person allegedly dropped N2 million with promise; although, the later has not been fully confirmed.
The last, but not the least that broke the Carmel’s back, is the third person, Engr. Michael Auta, who reportedly paid the sum totaling N50 million for the party’s forms for himself and several other contestants from same Zone C.
A breakdown of the amount, according to an authentic state exco source, shows that N30 million is for Governorship, N15 million for Senatorial, N5 million for House of Reps, while N400,000 to N600,000 is for State Assembly seats, respectively.
Shortly before a town hall meeting recently organized by Mr Hassan-led faction of the exco, in conjunction with State NLC for Obi/Datti-Ahmed supporters, the authentic party exco and occupants of the state party secretariat suspended Peter Hassan from the party on alleged ‘cross misconducts.’
This was contained in a statement signed by four State Exco officials, namely, Mr. John Dominic Buayin (State Secretary), Group Capt Peter Haruna (Rtd) (Deputy State Chairman), Comrade Austin Aniagu (Youth Leader), , and Amiru Bello (State Publicity Secretary), respectively.
Also, during the town hall meeting held at Green Suite Hotel, Barnawa, the second governorship candidate, Dr. Shunom Adinga, was not invited but his opponent and third candidate, Hon. Jonathan Asake, was invited by the suspended chairman.
Although, Dr. Adinga was later invited impromptu, he refused to go until several persuasions by some party fateful and supporters, mostly done by the authentic exco members.
He was, however, unhappy over the development in which most of his supporters blamed the national officials, especially the secretary, Abubakar Mairacumi, who is from Kaduna State.
Insider sources within the party hinted that, Dr Shunom Adinga obtained and, was given, Contestant Form and filled in as Kaduna Gubernatorial Candidate of the LP, just like other intending contenders.
Even though, yet to be heard from the relevant authorities, the existing presence of two state party secretariats in Kaduna is a clear indication that the coast is yet cleared about the resolution of the factional state party leadership.
However, recent unconfirmed reports alleged that the governorship tussle might have been settled with Dr Adinga (who has been) reportedly asked to “go down” for State Assembly position, while his opponent, Hon. Asake, runs for 2023 Kaduna LP Governor.
Contacted, some State Exco members, who confirmed the allegation, threatened to spill the beans, if justice is not done, also alleging that the suspended chairman pocketed a whopping N2 million.