Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, said he was surprised at reports making the rounds that the leadership of House of Representatives was plotting to suspend him and three others.
He also urged his three other colleagues: Hon. Chukwuma Onyeama, Hon. Ajibola Muraino and Hon. Yakubu Barde to brace up for the worst if they are eventually suspended by majority vote in the House.
THISDAY had reported at the weekend that Chinda and other members of his group may be suspended indefinitely by the leadership of the House.
The planned suspension might not be unconnected with the conclusion of an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges.
The House had mandated the committee led by Hon. Kolawole Lawal to investigate the lawmakers for parading themselves as leaders of the PDP caucus in the green chamber.
The decision of the House to investigate the matter was consequent upon the adoption of a motion by Hon. Ben Igbakpa, who alleged that the quartet were falsely parading themselves as leaders of his party, thus violating the standing rules and orders of the chambers.
While the report is expected to be laid in the coming weeks by the committee, investigation revealed that the decision to suspend them stemmed from the alleged pressure put on the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, by interested parties which allegedly included some governors.
Chinda, while reacting to the reports yesterday, however, expressed optimism that the speaker would not succumb to the pressure to suspend him for playing his role as leader of PDP caucus, adding that he and members of his faction have been discussing with the speaker.
He advised his other colleagues who may likely be suspended along with him to prepare for eventualities, noting that in the event that it happens, the suspension would amount to suppression of individual’s opinion of lawmakers, while also setting a bad precedent.
Chinda said: “We have met with the Speaker and had some frank and amiable discussions. I’m shocked to hear that this issue is resonating. I don’t think the Speaker will concede to suspending us from the House for signing and asking that the constitution of the Supreme Court Panel to hear presidential petition should follow the laid down precedent of seniority or speaking on behalf of PDP Caucus of the House. No, the Speaker won’t do that.
“The Speaker won’t even push for suspension of a member from parliament for any reason whatsoever, let alone based on a cooked up, flimsy and hollow reason. The Speaker is very knowledgeable in parliamentary practice and a lawyer, he knows it’s unconstitutional to suspend an elected member and he had stood against it in the past. I don’t think he will change his stand now.
“Anyway from hindsight and the level of horse-trading in politics and the House in particular, I advise my other three colleagues to brace up for the worst. If we are suspended via a majority vote in the House, then I pity the parliament and parliamentarians, because it means no member will have an independent opinion anymore. A bad precedent would have been set.”
He emphasised that the suspension if announced would be unconstitutional and would not stand the test of law.
According to him, “Yes, I heard some people say when it’s done, we can go to court and they will frustrate the litigation with money for next three years and we will remain outside the parliament but I’m not worried about all that. We only pray for divine wisdom and favour in everything we do. I am very sure it will end well.”