PDP: How indiscipline, disloyalty fuel crisis in House of Reps
• PDP Rules Out Lifting Suspension Of Elumelu • Elumelu, Other Lawmakers Kick
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, has described as worrisome the spate of indiscipline in the party, a factor he identified as a major cause of the crisis in the party, especially in the House of Representatives.
He expressed worries that disloyalty and disrespect for party directive has been embraced by some members, who are being used by enemies of the party.
In an interview with The Guardian through his media adviser, Ike Abonyi, Secondus canvassed absolute respect for party supremacy, and that once the party decides on an issue; no member should act to the contrary.
He said: “What worries the party leadership is the disloyalty of members. When party members display the tendency and readiness to be used by enemies of the party, it gives party leadership so much cause to worry.”
In his view, the solution to the crisis is for members to realise that the party is supreme. “When the party decided on its choice for a particular position, it is incumbent on members to abide by that choice,” he said.
On whether the suspension of some members of the House of Representatives, who disobeyed the party, is irreversible, he said:
“I wouldn’t say it is irreversible, as there is a committee set up to look at the issue. We are still on that and so, it would not be fair to say it is irreversible. What I can say is that the suspension of those members remains valid until the committee finishes its work.”
Meanwhile, the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) has insisted that the suspension of Ndudi Elumelu and other members of the House of Representatives remained.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, insisted that Elumelu and his colleagues in the House of Representatives, who disregarded the party’s directive during election of the Minority leader, would remain suspended, until the party decides on the next step to take.
“Regarding the issue of PDP caucus in the House of Representatives, we clarified last week as follows: “that the suspension placed on some PDP Members, who connived with others to supplant the party decision, with regards to party positions in the House, is subsisting and has not been lifted.
We equally clarified that the suspended party members cannot therefore conduct any business of the party at whatever level, until disciplinary measures have been concluded.
“The National Working Committee in its wisdom, knowing that nature abhors vacuum, and consistent with its position on the matter, which has not changed, directed that the affairs of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives be organised and managed by Hon. Kingsley Chinda, Hon. Yakubu Barde, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema and Hon. Muraina Ajibola…”
Meanwhile, the Elumelu-led minority leadership in the House has equally insisted that the PDP members’ alleged action of disobeying the party was in line with the rule of law.
In a counter statement, the PDP caucus in the House declared that the allegation of disloyalty against PDP was completely a travesty of the principle of democracy.
The statement, as signed by the Special Adviser (Legal) to the Minority Leader, Barr. Oyorima Idahosa, read: “The attention of the leadership of the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives, under Hon. Ndudi Elumelu has been drawn to allegations of disloyalty leveled against it in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday. This is completely against the principle of democracy, rule of law and fairness upon which our great party, the PDP is founded and known since its formation 21 years ago.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minority leadership of the House of Representatives was elected in strict observance of Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Order 7 Rule 8 of the Standing Rule of the House of Representatives.
Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution unambiguously provides that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Senate or the House of Representatives shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.
“Accordingly, Order 7 Rule 8 clearly states: “Members of the Minority Parties in the House shall nominate from among them, the Minority Leader, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader, and Deputy Minority Whip”.
“This, the overwhelming majority of the Minority Caucus comprising nine political parties (PDP, APGA, ADC, LP, SDP, PRP, AA, APM, ADP) did, and communicated their decision to the Speaker in a letter dated 2nd July 2019 and signed by over 100 members of the 147-Member Caucus.
“By parliamentary rules, persons so elected become the leaders of the party caucuses in the legislature. While the party can guide their elected members through the zoning of various Minority leadership offices, it is not in the place of the party, by the provisions of the Constitution, House Standing Rule, and parliamentary traditions, to appoint or foist Minority or Majority Caucus leadership on members…”
“It would be recalled that a similar attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to foist leadership of the Majority Caucus on the National Assembly in 2015 could not stand, as such obnoxious action was vehemently resisted by the Senate, which stuck to the list of elected leaders of the Majority Caucus submitted by APC Senators.
“The stand of our party, which also had Prince Uche Secondus, the current National Chairman, as the Acting National Chairman at the time, is still very fresh on the minds of Nigerians. The PDP strongly criticised and lampooned the APC for impunity and meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of the parliament.
It is, therefore, ironical that the same party, under the same Chairman, has now chosen the same path for which they pilloried APC in 2015…”
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