By Josephine Isaac
Crisis is reportedly brewing in the Labour Party over campaign funds as the camps of both the Presidential Candidate of the party, Mr. Peter Obi and that of a chieftain of the party, Professor Pat Utomi are at war over, who should be the signatory to the party’s campaign funds and control stakes of the party’s finances ahead of the 2023 general elections.
A source close to the party hierarchy revealed that allies of Peter Obi have sidelined the National Chairman of the Party, Barr. Abure, and Professor Pat Utomi, who were earlier listed as signatories to the Labour Party’s campaign donation account.
One Benji Uba, an ally of Peter Obi, was reported to have forced his hand as the only signatory to the account, which has reportedly raised concerns of unrest within the party.
According to our source, the squabble over who should be in charge of campaign funds, as well as Professor Utomi’s distrust of Benji Uba, prompted the creation of an alternative fund-raising platform, which they tagged FUND40MB, as inaugurated recently by Utomi and Kennedy Iyere.
Recall that Professor Utomi approved the appointment of Dr. Charles Odibo as the party’s campaign spokesman for the presidential election last week, but Benji Uba and others in Peter Obi’s camp rejected the appointment and choice of Odibo as the party’s spokesman, questioning Utomi’s capacity to recommend and ratify such an appointment.
Peter Obi is believed to have instigated the war through proxies, and he has allegedly continued to deny knowledge of the abuse and ill-treatment meted out to Professor Utomi by his cronies.
Since Peter Obi’s arrival in May, the Labour Party has been implicated in numerous instances of gross financial irresponsibility.
Reports indicated that the party’s nomination forms quickly multiplied tenfold, and a few Anambra men who joined the party with Peter Obi converted the Labour tickets to cash and carry bazaar.
It was alleged that party tickets, which were previously priced at 500k, were sold for between one to five million naira, and the money paid in cash to a few people and not the Labour Party bank account.
They were said to be coordinated by the same Benji Uba, who was quartered at the Best Western Hotel Awka, where he was reportedly fleecing aspirants, , though this remains unconfirmed by this medium.
Professor Utomi is said to be unhappy with recent developments in the party and to have felt used to give the party a face when he stepped down to allow Peter Obi to run for President.
Utomi had reportedly threatened to expose their criminality, which they imported from the APGA into the Labour Party.
The Labour Party Presidential Candidate is allegedly scheduled to travel to the United States of America on August 29 to solicit financial support for the party’s presidential election in February, which a source disclosed was why Professor Pat Utomi and Kennedy Iyere put themselves forward to manage the donated funds.
We gathered that those with Peter Obi are being accused of having ulterior motives as they have allegedly rejected Utomi as a signatory to the party’s campaign account and equally disowned the FUND40MB fund-raising initiative envisioned by Utomi and Iyere.
“With the recent party developments and crisis over who should be in charge of donated campaign money, Professor Pat Utomi might be compelled to spill the beans and expose Peter Obi’s scheme,” said a source.
It was alleged that Obi appears to be running for the office of the president only to raise money from willing donors and innocent Nigerians for selfish interests.
Sources alleged that it didn’t seem like Peter Obi is vying for the presidency, and that his recent actions did not indicate this.
“Instead, he is raising money through the platform for himself and his friends. This is the current feeling of those around Utomi and the Labour Party,” said a source.