Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
Minority members of the House of Representatives have appealed to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to reverse the suspension slammed on their colleagues nominated to occupy minority leadership positions and those suspected to be their accomplices.
They told reporters yesterday in Abuja that the letter that PDP sent to the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on its choices for minority leadership positions came late as they had by then decided on who to occupy the positions in line with the House rules.
The PDP National Working Committee (NWC), which had summoned Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and six others to appear before it after some of them were announced as minority leaders by Gbajabiamila, had last week suspended them for allegedly undermining the party.
Suspended along with Elumelu, who was named as minority leader were Hon. Toby Okechukwu (deputy minority leader, PDP-Enugu); Hon. Gideon Gwani (minority whip); Hon. Adesegun Adekoya (deputy minority whip), Hon. Wole Oke (PDP, Osun) and Hon. Linda Ikpeazu (PDP, Anambra).
However, spokesman of the minority parties, Hon. Legor Idagbo (PDP-Cross River), said at a press conference that the letter sent by the PDP leadership to the Gbajabiamila, dated July 1, 2019, was belated and the decision to nominate the affected persons into minority leadership positions was collectively reached by all minority parties.
He said: “Were there to be an offence committed in this process, the perpetrators should be all 111 of us who nominated our colleagues to serve in that leadership position, not seven members as were suspended by our great party.
“We use this opportunity to sue for peace and to state that we are available for further discussions with our party, the NWC, the party chairman, the NEC of our great party and the BoT on a way to resolve these issues and move our party forward.
“We also use this opportunity to call on well-meaning party leaders, particularly those with legislative experience, to intervene on our behalf in order for this matter to be laid to rest so as not to affect the fortunes of our party in the future.”
According to him, the nomination of the minority leaders was in conformity with Order 7 Rule 8, which derives strength from Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
He quoted the House rule as stating: “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.’’
He added that the opposition members have passed a vote of confidence on the duo of Gbajabiamila and Elumelu.
The members appealed to the PDP leadership to show understanding of the dynamics of the politics and rescind their earlier decision to suspend their colleagues.