Chuks Okocha, Shola Oyeyipo and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday slammed a one month suspension on the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu and six others for disobeying the party directives.
Other suspended members were Wole Oke, Lynda Ikpeazu, Anayo Edwin, Gideon Gwadi, Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
The seven suspended members were those nominated by the speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, as minority leaders, against the choices sent in by the main opposition party.
The PDP had nominated Chukwuka Onyema as Deputy Minority Leader, Yakubu Barde as Minority Whip and Muraina Ajibola as Deputy Minority Whip.
Reacting to the news of their suspension last night, Elumelu, who described it as surprising and shocking said the party took the decision without giving room for fair hearing.
He said: “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. I lost an aunty and left Abuja immediately after plenary on Thursday and travelled to Delta state. 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 instructed my Special Assistant to write to the party and requested 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 when we could have appeared before them.
I have great respect for the party and I’m ready to serve.
Also, Oke described the action as unfortunate, pointing out that the party decided to suspend its most loyal member 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 about nomination of our leadership.
That PDP alone can’t do it without other eight political parties. On speakership, the PDP had no candidate. I follow my conscience; I follow what my constituents clamoured for, I followed practices and conventions”, Oke said.
Addressing journalists after its NWC meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said that the party took the decision after reviewing the issues surrounding the minority leadership of the House of Representatives.
According to Ologbondiyan, the Party noted the roles played by the suspended members which resulted in the Speaker, Gbajabiamila, reading another list for minority leadership of the House other than the list submitted to him by the PDP.
Ologbondiyan said: “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), which provides that Subject to the provision of this Constitution, the party shall have power to discipline any member who says or does anything likely to bring the party into disrepute, hatred or contempt.
“Disobeys or neglects to carry out lawful directives of the party or any organ or officer of the party; engages in anti-party activities; or engages in any conduct likely to cause disaffection among members of the party or is likely to disrupt the peaceful, lawful and efficient conduct of the business of the party”.
Speaking with THISDAY on why they were absence after they were summoned by the PDP NWC, Elumelu said that he left Abuja for his home town in Delta State to attend his aunt’s burial rites.
“I’m not in Abuja right now. I travelled Thursday’s night. I am currently attending the burial rites of my auntie. We shall attend. We have written to the NWC asking for another date”.
Also, when contacted, Ikpeazu told THISDAY that she travelled and currently was out of town. Ikpeazu also confirmed that they had written a letter to the PDP NWC, that they will honour the party invitation any time another meeting is rescheduled.