The national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa @aaaMetuh, has said that the party is unable to complete its multi-billion dollar national secretariat located at the Central Business District in Abuja due to shortage of funds.
Most serious work at the project site has been suspended as the former ruling party struggles to raise cash to fund the project estimated at N11.56bn. Once completed, the building will comprise 12 floors, including a parking space in two floors.
But the party said the hope of completing the secretariat lies on its ability to secure the services of a developer that would handle it, with an agreement on how it would recoup its money.
Here’s how the paper reported the story:
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, stated this in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday.
Metuh also debunked the rumour making the rounds that members of the National Working Committee of the party got a huge sum of money from the fund realised for its Presidential campaign early in the year.
He said, “During our sales of forms, we had planned to use substantial part of the money to complete the secretariat.
“We also had a fund-raising dinner where money was raised and we were told that about N21bn was raised and that some of it would be given to us for the completion of the secretariat but we didn’t see the money.”
It will be recalled that a former Minister of Information and the Chairman of the party’s Fund-raising Committee, Prof. Jerry Gana, had said the controversial N21.8bn donated to the party by individuals, the party’s serving governors and private consortium was not meant for the presidential campaign of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan alone.
He was responding to criticisms that trailed the donation, as majority of the then governors owed workers’ salaries of their states.
Beside, the money raised was beyond the amount stipulated in the Electoral Act for political parties to seek votes for their presidential candidates.
Gana had said, “This administration of the party under our able chairman resolved that we must complete this (new secretariat) project so that we can move in there, and so, part of the preparations for this year’s campaign is for us to raise funds and I had the honour of leading a very distinguished team of Nigerians to prepare for the fund raising.
“We raised about N21bn on that day. The purpose of this press conference is to say that right from the start, we were raising money for the PDP and the project of the party, the documents and letters said so, the speeches confirmed it and during the day of the fund raising, in my own speech and the speech of the Vice President who happens to be an architect, there was a specific focus on this building–that this is one project we want to complete.
“The Vice President, being an architect, gave graphic details of where we were on this project and how we desire to be. Therefore, the central aim of the fund-raising is to empower the party to complete this building and other projects.”
Metuh also told our correspondent that the money the national leadership of the party had kept aside to use for the secretariat from the amount generated from the sales of forms was spent.
He said that the NWC was asked to divert the amount to the campaign of its governorship candidates during the last elections.
He said that the directive came after the party had lost the Presidential election to the All Progressives Congress. Metuh said, “The one (money) we kept for the completion of the secretariat, after we lost the presidential election. We were directed to divert the funds to the campaign organisation (of our governorship candidates).
“So, we channelled it directly to our governorship candidates across the country in over 30 states and other candidates in the House of Assemblies.
“That really depleted the funds of the party and almost brought it to ground zero.
“As we speak, we don’t have funds for the completion of the new secretariat. The acting chairman of the NWC would take the issue to the national caucus to know how we can engage the services of developers on some arrangements.”