The Peoples Democratic Party on Friday suspended the House Minority Leader, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, and six other members of the party in the House of Representatives for “indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience”.
The representative of Oriade/Obokun Federal Constituency, Osun State, Wole Oke; representative of Onitsha North and Onitsha South Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Lynda Ikpeazu; representative of Ezza North/Ishielu Federal Constituency, Ebonyi State, Anayo Edwin; representative of Kaura Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, Gideon Gwani; representative of Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, Enugu State, Toby Okechukwu; and representative of Ijebu-North/Ijebu-East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency, Adekoya Abdul-Majid, were the six other members of the party suspended.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told reporters at a press conference in Abuja that the suspension was the outcome of the meeting of the PDP National Working Committee over the crisis that resulted from the struggle for the House of Representatives Minority Leader.
Ologbondiyan, who read the resolution of the NWC, said the committee reviewed the issues affecting the minority leadership of the House of Representatives.
He said the party noted the roles played by the affected Reps which resulted in the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, announcing the list of the minority leadership of the House different from the one submitted by the opposition party.
He said, “After the preliminary examination by the NWC, it was evident that the roles played by the above mentioned members, bordered on indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience, contrary to Section 58 (1)(b)(c)(f)(h) of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).”
The PDP NWC on Thursday invited the seven Reps to a meeting on Friday, but none of them came for the meeting.
Elumelu’s aide, Sam Audu, in a letter to the PDP Secretary, Senator Umaru Tsauri, acknowledged the receipt of the invitation letter.
He said the affected lawmakers were out of Abuja.
Audu wrote, “The House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, and other members invited are currently out of Abuja. I have notified him and other members of the invitation letters and they requested that l notify you about their absence from Abuja.
“In the view of the above, Elumelu and other members invited are requesting that the meeting should be rescheduled for either Thursday, July 18 at 4pm after plenary or Friday, July 19 at 10am.
“Elumelu and other members invited regret any inconvenience that their absence not to attend the meeting with NWC (may cause).”
The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, told reporters earlier in the day that the party was united over the issue of the minority leadership of the House of Representatives.
He insisted the representative of Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Kingsley Chinda, was the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
The PDP in a letter dated, June 21, 2019 addressed to the Speaker said they had endorsed Chinda for the post of Minority leader, Chukwuka Onyema (Deputy Minority Leader), Yakubu Barde (Minority Whip) and Muraina Ajibola (Deputy Minority Whip).
The letter was signed by Secondus and Tsauri.
Reacting to his suspension, Elumelu said, “I am surprised and shocked that the NWC of our great party can sit and take a decision without giving room for fair hearing.
“I lost an aunt and left Abuja immediately after plenary in the House of Representatives on Thursday and travelled to Delta State.
“Although I left immediately after sitting, not midnight, my gateman received the letter at 7.45pm and he called me at 8pm. I was informed by my gateman who received the letter from the party at 7.45pm and called me at 8pm.
“I tried to reach out to the other members named in the letter to see if they could be at the meeting and found out they were also out of town. Out of respect for the party, I asked my special assistant to write to the party and request a new date. I would have expected that if the date we suggested was not convenient for the party, they would have proposed another day.”
On his part, Okechukwu said he was in support of Elumelu’s position on their supension.
He said, “I think there is a statement issued by the Minority Leader. I stand by that.”
A leader of the factional PDP caucus, Mr Wole Oke, described the suspension of the seven lawmakers as “unfortunate”.
He said, “It is unfortunate if the party suspends its most loyal members for towing the path of honour and constitutionalism. I owe my party and its leaders a duty of care, to advise appropriately as one of the ranking members of the House. I have discharged that duty.
“I advised my party leaders appropriately about our House Rules’ provisions about the nomination of our leadership – that the PDP alone couldn’t do it without the other eight (minority) parties.”
Oke also described his suspension by the PDP as a double loss for the party in Osun State.
He added, “It’s a double loss with the Supreme Court judgment of Osun governorship election which affirmed the election of the APC candidate against the PDP’s. I am from Osun State. Is this what the PDP should do to me today that we lost at the Supreme Court?”
PDP asks police, DSS to summon Gbajabiamila over Chinda
The Peoples Democratic Party has criticised the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, for allegedly threatening the representative of Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency in the House, Mr Kingsley Chinda.
The main opposition party asked the police and Department of State Services to summon the Speaker to explain himself.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Friday said Gbajabiamila had no justification to allegedly threaten the factional Minority Leader of the House after overruling him when he wanted to raise a point of order during Thursday’s plenary.
Gbajabiamila had blocked moves by some Peoples Democratic Party members, including Chinda, to raise issues relating to the parallel principal officers produced by the minority parties on Wednesday.
Ndudi Elumelu and Chinda had emerged as factional Minority Leaders, with the House recognising the former.
Before plenary began on Thursday, Chinda sat on the seat reserved for the Minority Leader on the front row,a development the Speaker frowned upon.
Ologbondiyan said, “Gbajabiamila exhibited personal hostility, with threats that Chinda would ‘regret’ taking his rightful seat as the bona fide Leader of the Minority in the House.
“This vicious outburst by Gbajabiamila is a direct threat and affront to our democratic order. The rights of the minority members in the House of Representatives, the people of Obio/Akpo Federal
Constituency and sensibility of millions of members of the PDP who nominated Chinda for minority leadership position.
“The PDP, in the strongest terms, condemns this outburst and demands the Speaker retract his inciting threats against Chinda within the next 24 hours.”
He also called on Nigerians to hold Gbajabiamila directly responsible should any harm suddenly come upon Chinda, any member of his family or any member of the PDP in the House of Representatives.
Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP also invites the police and the Department of State Services to summon Gbajabiamila to explain the intents of his threats.”
He stated that the PDP remained committed to rules and the sanctity of the parliament.