Hon. Ndudi Elumelu
By EricJames Ochigbo and Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) has expressed shock over his suspension by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Elumelu in a statement on Friday in Abuja said that he was surprised that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party would suspend him without a fair hearing.
The NWC had earlier invited Elumelu and other minority principal officers of the house to appear before the committee and explain how they emerged principal officers against the will of the party.
The principal officers who emerged under controversial circumstances however failed to appear before the committee scheduled for Friday July 5.
Elumelu said that he lost an aunt and left Abuja immediately after Thursday’s plenary for Delta.
The minority leader said that he left immediately after sitting not midnight and that his gate-man received the letter of invitation at about 7:45 p.m. on Thursday.
Elumelu said that the gate-man called him at 8 p.m. to inform him of the development and he tried to reach out to other members named in the letter to see if they could be at the meeting.
The lawmaker said that he found out that other members were also out of town so he directed a Special Assistant to convey the message to the NWC and request for a new date.
“I am surprised and shocked, that the National Working Committee of our great party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) can sit and take a decision without giving room for fair hearing.
“I had expected that if the date we suggested was not convenient for the party, they would have proposed another day when we could appear before them.
“I have great respect for the party and am ready to serve,” Elumelu said.
In line with precedence, the PDP, being the major minority party in house, earlier wrote to the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila nominating Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) as the Minority Leader.
The party chose Rep. Chukwuka Onyema (PDP-Anambra) as Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Yakubu Barde (PDP-Kaduna) as Minority Whip and Rep. Muraina Ajibola (PDP-Oyo) as Deputy Minority Whip.
However, the speaker announced Rep. Ndudi Elumelu as Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu as Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Gideon Gwani as Minority Whip and Rep. Adesegun Adekoya- Deputy Minority Whip.
Gbajabiamila had explained that the lawmakers were chosen across all minority parties in the house and that the PDP alone could not dictate who leads the minority parties.
According to Elumelu, it is unfortunate if the party suspends its most loyal members for towing the path of honour and constitutionalism.
“I owe my party and its leaders a duty of care to advise appropriately as one the ranking member of the house and I have discharged that duty.
“I advised my leaders appropriately about the House Rules and provisions on nomination of leadership and that PDP alone cannot do it without other eight minority political parties.
“On the Speakership, PDP had no candidate, I followed my conscience, I follow what my constituents clamoured for, I followed practices and conventions,” he said.
It will be recalled the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has suspended Ndudi Elumelu and six other members of House of Representatives for one month over the minority leadership tussle in the lower chamber.
The other suspended members are Wole Oke, Lynda Ikpeazu, Anayo Edwin, Gideon Gwadi, Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, announced this at a news conference on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the members were suspended over issues related to indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience of party directives.
Ologbondiyan said that the party had also referred the matter to its National Disciplinary Committee.
He said that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party took the resolutions after reviewing issues surrounding the minority leadership of the Green Chamber.
He explained that the party noted the roles played by the seven members which resulted in the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, reading another list for minority leadership of the House other than the one it submitted to him.
“After preliminary examination by the NWC, it was evident that the roles played by the mentioned members, bordered on indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience of party directives.
“These acts are 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.
“Member who 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.
“Consequent upon this, the above-mentioned members of our party are hereby suspended for one month and this matter is hereby referred to the National Disciplinary Committee of our party, in keeping with Section 57(3) of PDP Constitution.”
Earlier, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, had shortly after the NWC meeting, told newsmen that the party was insisting on its nomination list earlier forwarded to the Speaker of the House.
He added that the party remained united behind Kingsley Chinda, who was nominated for the minority leadership position in the lower chamber.
“On the issue of the minority leadership of the House of Representatives, we want to reiterate that the party and the BoT are united.
“In consultation with members of PDP and other minority parties, Chinda is our minority leader and all the other positions as we have communicated to the Speaker House of Representatives.
“You are also aware that it was with the same process that we communicated to the Senate and it has done a fine job. The Senate has announced our leadership as sent without rancour.
“It is surprising that the Speaker had to generate his own list. This is against parliamentary rules or what is tenable at the parliament,” the chairman said.
He called on PDP supporters to remain resolute, committed and loyal to the party, reaffirming that the party was one, united and working hard to recover its mandate at the courts.
In his remarks, Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, Sen. Jubril Walid, said that the Board and NWC were working together and would continue to work together.
Walid said that the nomination list of the NWC would be resubmitted to the Speaker.
“Like I told you yesterday, it is not a fight between the NWC and the BoT.
“In that respect, we have all discussed this morning and we will inform all our members of the decision taken.
“So, we have to be very careful not to do anything that will tamper with our case at the tribunals. We have to be one; we have to be united and that is what is before us,” Walid said.
The PDP had on Thursday summoned the suspended members to appear before the NWC at a crucial meeting at 10 a.m. at its national headquarters in Abuja.
But, the members defied the order and stayed away. (NAN)