The dust raised by the N70 million presidential campaign funds released by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Bayelsa chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party is yet to settle even as the chairman of the party in the state, Sam Inokoba, has dismissed moves to probe and unseat him.
Mr. Inokoba allegedly received the N70 million from Mrs. Alison-Madueke but declared N30 million to the state executives of the party.
The party in the state descended into crisis after Mrs. Alison-Madueke reportedly informed party leaders during the PDP’s presidential rally in the state that she advanced N70 million to the party for the rally.
Mr. Inokoba was embarrassed and became uneasy when he was confronted, party insiders said.
Members of the Bayelsa State Executives of the PDP have since set up a panel to probe the chairman on the allegation of diverting N40 million out of the N70 million earmarked for President Goodluck Jonathan’s rally in Bayelsa.
The state Publicity Secretary of the party , Osom Macbre, confirmed that the party’s State Working Committee had set up a panel to probe the chairman.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the panel hurriedly met and suspended the chairman while the search for a replacement has since begun.
Mr. Inokoba shunned the invitation of the state working committee to respond to the allegations, party insiders said.
He maintained that he disbursed the funds in compliance with the wishes of the donor and was not guilty of diverting party funds as alleged.
He further argued that the State Working Committee of the PDP lacked the powers to discipline him.
In a statement reacting to his reported suspension, Mr. Inokoba said the move violated Section 10 subsection 7 of PDP’s amended constitution which vested such powers on the national leadership of the party.
He described the reports of his suspension as “rumour and unconstitutional”.
Mr. Inokoba did not answer or return calls made to him Thursday night seeking comments.