The National Vice Chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dan Orbih, has denied being part of the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) to pay housing allowance to members.
Naija News earlier reported that the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, said it was a collective decision of the NWC to give each member a housing allowance.
According to the media aide to the PDP Chairman, Simon Imobo-Tswam, the allowance is statutory and legal, adding that the money paid into the accounts of the PDP NWC members was not for inducement.
In an interview with The Punch, Orbih, who was part of the NWC members who returned the N122.4 million, denied the claim by the party that the money was meant for their housing allowance.
The PDP chieftain said he had cleared his conscience and had no reason to lie about the circumstances surrounding the money.
He said, “I don’t want to talk about Ayu. I speak for myself. I have done what I feel is needful. I have given reasons for doing what I have done. Let every man carry the full weight of his problem. Ayu should speak for himself. He is an adult. It was very clear in my letter.
“If it is in a civilised society, people should be praising and commending us for what we have done. Instead, they will be asking them questions to make them justify what they did. It is wrong.
“They, first of all, said it was a loan. I asked where is my loan application. And if it is a loan, where is the repayment plan by me, signed between me and the party? And I asked the third question, when has PDP turned into a bank that gives loans to people?
“That was how they ran away from there and started saying it is accommodation allowance. Is it the house you want them to pay for (rent not buy) made of gold or is it diamond built? 90 per cent of us, including Ayu, have a house here in Abuja. So, I don’t know. What is the take-home of Nigeria’s President, including accommodation allowance? What is bad is bad.
“I am not taking any steps. We have done what our conscience says is the right thing to do. Every person has a conscience, a name to protect. If others do not feel there is nothing wrong with it, that is their business. I didn’t say other people should do it or not do it. They all have their consciences.”
Orbih also denied the claim by Ayu that the NWC collectively decided to give each member a housing allowance, saying most of the members have a house in Abuja.
He, however, challenged the embattled PDP chairman to show evidence that NWC members took a decision to pay the said amount into their accounts.
He said: “I even saw in a paper on Sunday that such thing was brought before the NWC, the decision was taken by every person, the decision was taken in a meeting. I have challenged them that they should produce the minutes of the meeting and the date the meeting took place and who voted for that and who did not.
“I can tell you for sure that there was no meeting that the issue came to the NWC. I have never seen a country like this. Some said the money was paid on the 14th and why did it take me over 5-6 days? With the type of insecurity in this country, how many people put alerts on their phones?
“I normally reconcile my account at the end of every month. The story by a paper on September 26 was what triggered off this whole crisis. If not, I would have seen it at the end of the month.”