N82million Dinner: Rivers PDP slams claim money covered “band, costumes, logistics”

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State has described
as “hollow and childish”, explanations by a former Rivers State
information commissioner, Ibim Semenitari, on how the state
spent N82 million for a dinner honouring Nobel laureate, Wole
Soyinka.
Ms. Semenitari, currently the acting managing director of the Niger
Delta Development Commission, NDDC, had said on Monday that
the money covered specific items of the event.
The money was spent on “Dance Drama by University of Port
Harcourt Arts Village; Great Singha & His Highlife Band; Set Design,
Stage Lighting & Costume Design; Costume Design & Stage
Property; Dinner; Transportation and Accommodation of guests
from outside the country and those outside Rivers State;
Decoration; Travels & Logistics, etc,” a statement by Beke
Anyalewechi, on behalf of Mrs. Semenitari, said, according to PM
News.
A statement on Wednesday by Felix Obuah, the Rivers State PDP
Chairman, described Mrs. Sementari’s explanation as “hollow,
petty and childish”.
The PDP said Mr. Soyinka had allowed his name for a shady event
that cost the public huge.
“While we agree that the Nobel Laureate deserves any form of
honour in any part of the world, we find it a terrible disservice to
Professor Soyinka to use his name to steal public funds,” the
statement said.
“She said the N82 million was not used only for the party but that
the expenses covered costume design, set design, drama, highlife
band, dinner, transportation, decoration and logistics.
“These items should naturally be expected to form an important
part of the birthday celebration. If they were left out, what else
would make the party a befitting one for a man of the stature of
Professor Soyinka?” the PDP asked.
The party also demanded an explanation for the cost of the
enumerated expenses, saying the funds expended were taxpayer’s
money, and should be accounted for.

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