PDP NWC, BOT to Meet over House Minority Crisis

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Ikimi heads c’ttee to investigate Elumelu, others Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said its National Working Committee (NWC) and Board of Trustees (BOT) would hold another meeting this week on the recent House of Representatives minority leadership crisis.

But one of the suspended minority leaders, who privately spoke with THISDAY, said the suspension would not affect their duties as principal officers of the lower chambers.

The PDP National Chairman, Mr. Uche Secondus disclosed the plan in an interview with THISDAY yesterday, though did not disclose the agenda of the meeting.

The PDP had suspended Hon. Ndidi Elumelu and Hon. Wole Oke for one month while directing them to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee for disobedience and acts of insubordination.

Subsequently, the party appointed former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi to head the Disciplinary Committee and former governorship candidate of PDP in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as its secretary.

While the NWC was said to have formally communicated its decision to investigate alleged anti-party activities to the Elumelu group, the minority leadership crisis is also believed to have polarised the party into different camps.

But in conversation with THISDAY yesterday, Secondus said the PDP “is aware of the politics. However, we, the NWC, will meet this week with the BOT.”

Although Secondus did not disclose the agenda for the meeting, THISDAY gathered that the meeting was not unconnected to the lingering crisis in the party over the choice of party members in the House as minority leaders.

However, a member of the Elumelu group said, “We have moved on and assumed duties. What is in our minds now is how to ensure that our members in the House are placed in good committees. Our priority is to ensure quality services. We have moved on.”

But Elumelu and Wole Oke have decried their suspension, stating that they were not given fair hearing before they were sanctioned.

Elumelu, in an interview with THISDAY said, “I am surprised and shocked, that the National Working Committee of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 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. I left immediately after sitting not midnight. Second, my gateman received the letter at 7.45pm and 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 instructed 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 when we could have appeared before them. I have great respect for the party and I’m ready to serve.

Likewise, Oke said, “It is unfortunate if the party suspends its most loyal member for toeing 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 and provisions about nomination of our leadership.

“That PDP alone can’t do it without other 8 political parties. On speakership, PDP had no candidate. I followed my conscience; I followed what my constituents clamoured for; I followed practices and conventions,” he said.