Hon. Soji Adagunodo, the suspended Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party in Osun State, has finally reacted to the reacted to the audit report indicting him of mismanaging hundreds of millions of Naira belonging to the party.
Adagunodo, while reacting to a letter sent to him by the State Working Committee led by the Acting Chairman, Sunday Akanfe Atidade asking him to refund “mismanaged and unaccounted funds” of the party, maintained that in all his activities and dealings as the elected Osun PDP chairman, he acted in good conscience and in total obedience to the collective agreements and goals of the party leadership.
He lashed out at Atidade for allegedly attempting to smear his image, adding that he decided to comment on the acting chairman’s letter and sundry issues because of his love for the PDP.
Adagunodo declared: “while I am not really amazed by your style and also wish to remain calm in the face of highest provocations, I cannot but comment on a number of issues that you raised in your letter.
“Before I proceed, let me quickly state that I am not supposed to respond to this letter given that you have flouted the constitution of our party. For your information, the purported Audit Report on which you probably situated the letter is expected to be strictly a confidential document and not meant for public consumption. Contrariwise, for reasons best known to you and which is alien to our party, you made it public. As a result, and given that you have decided to play up the matter, set aside the constitution and deliberately tried to damage my image, I will try to offer some explanations without causing innocent people any disaffection whatsoever.
“Be informed, however, that this response is only prompted by, and is consistent with, the love I have for our party and for the party to continue to remain alive beyond you and me. Note:
“There are some personal and company names you mentioned in the Audit Report which have to do with the National Headquarters of our party. It is not proper for you to expose them the way you have done. You should have made inquiries before rushing to the press. You can still find out or talk to me personally on phone and I will mention the names.
“In the last 24hours, I have watched unfolding events. You should know better that I indeed gave my all and put in my best including my resources to move the party forward and ensure that its activities were carried out as occasions demanded.
“Having said that, on the money you claimed was transferred to C-SOKA NIGERIA LIMITED, you were aware and I know that the State Working Committee members, the Executive Committee members, the Stakeholders, the leaders of our party, all members of Elders Caucus and all strata of the leadership of our great party in Osun State as well as the Dr Eddy Olafeso led Zonal Working Committee were all aware that we chartered a 50 seater plane to bring all the National leadership of our party, led by His Excellency, Prince Uche Secondus to Osun State for the South West MEGA rally.
“The service was paid for by C-SOKA Nigeria Limited on behalf of our party, because the initial arrangements to use Dr. Deji Adeleke’s private jet failed. The aviation company was linked to us by Mr. Bamidele Adeleke who is versatile in aviation business. He nominated the airline and sent the company’s account to me personally. I paid the company from C-SOKA Nigeria Limited – N7,516,000:00. Facts are scared but it is always better to dig deep than to assume and act on impulse.
“In the same vein, we also contacted DAAR COMMUNICATIONS media outfit, AIT to cover the South West MEGA rally live. The South West Chairman, Dr. Eddy Olafeso was in charge. Due to insufficient funds in the Party accounts, through which the money was paid, DAAR COMMUNICATIONS threatened not to mobilize their technicians to Osun unless payment was completed. Again, I had to rescue the party by paying from C-SOKA Nig Ltd the sum of N1,000,000:00 to DAAR COMMUNICATIONS to save the face of the party from another financial embarrassment.
“Furthermore, we all agreed at the South West Organizing Committee meeting to use customized Shirts, T-Shirts and Jerseys and ordinary T-shirts, Jerseys, face caps, round neck T-shirts and other souvenirs to make the Rally colourful, it was myself that paid for the items in the sum of N5,402,500:00. Recall as well that we agreed at the meeting that expected defectors to the party that day, numbering about 8,000, be given ANKARA materials. Even though we were supposed to purchase Ankara for 8,000 people, we were only able to purchase 5,000 bundles of Ankara due to paucity of funds. These were sent to all local governments for use by defectors from other parties to the PDP. I paid the sum of Five Million Naira (N5m) personally to proactively push this from a mere idea to reality. It is worth stressing that arrangements for all these were, as a matter of necessity, to be done earlier, before the week of the Rally. Hence, my coming to the aid of our party in that regard and on several other occasions.
“It is, therefore, necessary to make it clear that it was all these funds that were refunded and credited to C-SOKA Nigeria Limited account. It may interest you to know that the money refunded was not up to the amount I lent the party. The records of the party’s indebtedness to me are available but were not included in the Audit Report. For you to now mischievously raise a false alarm and play dumb over transactions that are not unknown to the party leadership and attempt to attack my personality is callous, irrational, and demeaning of your status as a leader and active participant in the processes that led to how I actually bailed out our party.
“Meanwhile, I saw in the purported audit report that Prince Bola Ajao was alleged to have collected the sum of one hundred and sixty two million, five hundred and sixty-seven thousand Naira (N162,567,000) cash. May be Prince Bola Ajao should mention the names of all State Working Committee members, other officers of the party, members of various committees set up and whoever again in the party that disbursed parts of this fund so that you could retrieve the quoted amount from them.
“Among others, it is interesting to note from the audit report in circulation that it covered up to end of 2018. Mr Acting Chairman, what happened to the account of the party from end of 2018 till when I stepped aside? Is it because I was the Major Financier of our Party during that period and all the money paid by me or my company to run the Party are not worth noting? If the report is thorough and the purportedly captured period is extended, the party would need to pay so much money back to me.
“To this end, like I stated in my reply to the letter that you wrote to me, in respect of handing over, there is no document whatsoever or property of the party that is in my care. They are all situated at the Party Secretariat and all the Working Committee members, including yourself, have access to them all.
“So whatever information you need is at your doorstep and if you could not get it, ask the respective officers in charge or the Director of Administration to guide you. The only property of the party in my care is the Toyota Avensis official car and I have told you, repeatedly, a long time ago to come and pick it up. I have not used it for more than eight months now. It is available for you to pick up anytime you are ready to.”
“On the crisis rocking the party, he added: “in view of the foregoing, I must add, for the sake of education and the future of our party, that leadership is no doubt a big challenge everywhere and especially in this part of the world. Leadership tasks are more daunting in times of crisis. It requires great knowledge, skills, maturity and wisdom from above for anybody to lead a party in crisis.
“Consequently, a leader should be able to keep his head when others around him are losing theirs and yet blaming it on him. A leader should not deal in lies even when being lied against. He should not hate when being hated and conspired against.
“In all my activities and dealings as the elected Osun PDP chairman, I acted in good conscience and in total obedience to our collective agreements and goals.
“As much as I don’t want to have a personality clash with any of my colleagues in the SWC, it is heartbreaking and smirks of treachery that my deputy, and others who were with us and part of all decisions and actions, could now deny actions collectively agreed upon and implemented. My deputy should in particular remember as Charles de Gaulle, former President of France once said, ‘faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own’. He should not be acting as a rubber stamp for illegal acts aimed at impugning another person’s character and integrity.
“Common sense, as well as elementary accounting, points to the fact that when there are incomes there will be expenditures. Is it not crude, absurd and antithetical that an Audit Report would dwell so long on income without capturing expenditures? What happened to the administrative costs of day-to-day running of the secretariat? An audit is a much more comprehensive exercise and having depths than the shallow, unauthorized, jaundiced and witch-hunt report produced to massage some persons’ ego!
“For truth, under the PDP constitution, an audit is an annual exercise to be ordered by State Executive Committee (SEC) and not the State Working Committee (SWC) and that any such report is to be presented to the State Congress. ( _see_ _Chapter_ _9_ _of_ _our_ _party_ _constitution_ : *Audit of Party Accounts*). On this premise, the purported Audit Report in circulation is, therefore, ultra vires and an exercise in futility.
“Even at that, it is also a known fact that no political party will ever state all its actions for which expenditures were incurred in its accounting books. Sometimes, a party is even careful not to discuss its strategies and spendings at formal meetings because some of those actions may be unorthodox or unethical but necessary for success at the polls. This is how it is, in all parties and at all levels. More so, there are moles everywhere. Out of 12 disciples there is at least one Judas.”
He continued: “time will tell whether Osun PDP is on the right sail or not. But let us remember, according to Martin Luther King Jnr, ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy.’
“It is now time for all men and women to stand up and be counted as this wind will blow no good. If we all lose our heads, spill the beans and open the can of worms, the party’s progress will be seriously impaired with strategies being exposed to the enemy. The Party may not recover from this in years to come, definitely not before the next governorship elections. This will have a devastating and debilitating effect on our membership. I am a leader who builds and not a destroyer. Keeping calm in the face of provocation and character assassination is not an easy task but it is certainly not too much to keep our party in form!
“But, let me ask: Is it accidental or coincidental or deliberate that all the attacks and my attackers are all from Ede and their cronies? It is about two months now that I have been asked to step aside in order to face a Disciplinary Committee or rather a Reconciliatory team of the Party over some petitions. I am still waiting to be contacted by any of the Committees. I have kept my cool, believing justice will be served. But this is not so with my traducers, who are daily busy shopping for reasons to buttress their petition. I am also told that the Acting Chairman even went ahead to cajole all State Officers to pass a ‘Vote of No Confidence’ on a man that has stepped aside with a story that the National Chairman of our great party gave the order. Are these not altogether absurd and ridiculous?
“In closing, these are my preliminary remarks to the so-called Audit Report and sundry matters shamefully conjured by persons who are hell-bent in hastily terminating my tenure forgetting that times and seasons are in the hands of God.”