PDP suspends Elumelu, six others, as HURIWA tackles Gbajabiamila
… Elumelu Expresses Shock, Urges Fair Hearing
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has placed the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, and six other lawmakers on a month suspension.
Other members equally placed on suspension along with Elumelu are Wole Oke, Lynda Ikpeazu, Anayo Edwin, Gideon Gwadi, Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
Meanwhile, Elumelu has expressed shock over the resolve by the PDP to suspend him and his colleagues from the party.This is as the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the role played by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in the emergence of Elumelu and the six suspended members.
HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, described the emergence of the suspended lawmakers as an imposition, noting that the hierarchies of the respective political parties decide party caucuses in the parliament in every constitutional democracy.
The PDP said the suspended members, who emerged as principal officers of the House under controversial circumstances, engaged in anti-party activities which “resulted in the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, reading another list for Minority Leadership of the House other than the list submitted to him by our party, the PDP.”
PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who presented the position of the NWC to journalists at a press conference, yesterday, said the matter has been referred to the disciplinary committee of the party for further investigation and recommendation.
The report of the NWC read in part: “After preliminary examination by the NWC, it was evident that the roles played by the above mentioned members bordered on indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience of party directives contrary to Section 58 (1)(b)(c)(f)(h) of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).
“Consequent upon this, the above mentioned members of our party are hereby suspended for one month and this matter is hereby referred to the National Disciplinary Committee of our party, in keeping with Section 57(3) of the PDP Constitution.”
However, the suspended lawmakers have explained why they failed to honour the invitation sent by the party to a meeting at its national secretariat in Abuja on Friday.A letter signed by Elumelu’s Personal Assistant, Sam Audu, and addressed to the National Secretary of the PDP, Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, read: “I am to inform you that the House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and other Members invited are currently out of Abuja.
“Notwithstanding, I have notified him and other members about the letter of invitations and they requested that l notify you about their absence from Abuja.“In the view of the above, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and other members invited are requesting that the meeting should be rescheduled for either Thursday, July 18 at 4p.m after plenary or Friday, July 19 at 10a.m.”
In a separate statement, Elumelu argued that the party took the decision without giving him and his colleagues the opportunity to state their own side of the story.He maintained that he and his colleagues didn’t contravene the laws regulating the selection of members into leadership positions as it was in strict compliance with Order 7, Rule 8 of the House of Representatives.
He argued: “As loyal party members, we had thought that the PDP NWC would have availed us the opportunity of fair hearing, robust and constructive engagements before taking such drastic action on elected representatives who have over years strengthened and protected the corporate interest of the party and Nigeria in general.
“We have become good ambassadors of the PDP and we don’t deserve this kind of treatment. Our alleged suspension negates the spirit and letter of fair hearing, which is at the heart of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution and extant laws of the land. “We love PDP and we are ready to meet with the party leadership as we have no other party to call our own than the PDP. We, therefore, call on the NWC to rescind its decision suspending us, in the interest of the PDP, the National Assembly and Nigeria as a whole.“I am surprised and shocked that the NWC of our great party, the PDP, can sit and take a decision without giving room for fair hearing.”