The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu on Friday returned to Nigeria after about two weeks of vacation in Europe.
HausaToday understands the PDP chairman returned to Nigeria via the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
His plane touched down at about 7pm local time.
See the photo.
Before leaving for Europe Ayu handed over to the party’s Deputy Chairman (North), Iliya Damagun.
The transfer of power was disclosed in a statement released by his Special Adviser (Media and Communications), Simon Imobo-Tswam.
According to Tswam, “The PDP National Chairman, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, will leave Nigeria for Europe tomorrow (Wednesday).
“Ayu will be out of the country for about two weeks. While away, the Deputy Chairman (North), Amb. Iliya Damagun will act in his place.
“Already, the National chairman has communicated the handover to the Independent National Electoral Commission. He is expected back at month-end.”
Prior to his travelling out, there had been calls for Iyorchia Ayu to step down as the PDP National Chairman following the outcome of the party’s presidential primaries which produced Atiku Abubakar as the winner.
Leading the call for his resignation is Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Again, some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee have returned the sum of N93.6 million allegedly paid into their account by the chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu.
There had been reports that Ayu allegedly paid over N100m into the account of NWC members after the primaries of the party.
The report alleged that Ayu transferred the money from the over N10 billion realised by PDP from the sales of nomination forms.
The NWC members that returned the money to the party include, the National Vice Chairman (South-West), Olasoji Adagunodo, the Deputy National Chairman (South) Taofeek Arapaja; National Vice Chairman (South), Dan Orbih and National Women Leader, Stella Affah-Attoe.
It was reported that Orbih and Effah-Attoe got N28.8 million each, while Arapaja got N36 million.
Orbih in a letter addressed to Ayu and the party disclosed that he got the notification of the payment from his bank without any description.
It Is Legal Money
However, the PDP leadership has denied reports that the over N90 million returned by six members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were paid as bribes.
Reacting to the allegation of bribery on Thursday, the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Debo Ologunagba said the money was meant for ‘Housing Allowance.’
He said the attention of the NWC has “been drawn to misrepresenting reports in a section of the media alluding strange and unfounded motives to the Housing Allowance duly approved and paid to NWC members and staff of the Party
“The NWC has noted that this misleading report stemmed from an unfounded publication by a particular media outlet which suggested that the Housing Allowance, an entitlement duly approved and paid to national officials and staff of the party amounted to bribery.”