AUSTIN OMOS OYIBODE, EDITOR
A group of PDP members in Delta state under the aegis of Anioma Leaders, Elders and Stakeholders of PDP has expressed total disagreement with the suspension meted on Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elemelu, newly elected minority leader of the House of Representatives and member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal constituency by National Working Committee of the PDP led by Uche Secondus.
In a press statement signed by leader of the group, Barrister Olise Imegwu, and obtained by Emeraldng.com, the group expressed shock and disappointment over the action of the NWC of the PDP, saying the decision to suspend Elumelu was unfortunate and surprising to members of the group in Delta state and remains unacceptable and rejected.
The group said though it recognizes the right and authority of the National Working Committee to sanction any member of the party as it deems fit, it, however, viewed the reasons adduced for the suspension as insufficient, premeditated, over-punitive and potentially capable of causing widespread disaffection and disharmony within and among loyal and dedicated party members.
The group said flowing from the party constitution on what constitutes disobedience that should lead such action, it found it difficult to “identify, recognize or imagine any action, conduct, comments, documents or any such evidence, to either directly suggest or remotely indict Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, on the grounds of indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience of party directives.”
The Anioma PDP elders further said prior to the announcement of the principal minority officers for the House of Representatives, the Delta PDP caucus in the House had unanimously adopted and endorsed Elumelu as its preferred candidate for the position of minority leader.
It said following the adoption of Elumelu by the Delta PDP caucus, he was formally presented to the entire PDP caucus of the House where he was adopted but with a few dissenting voices suggesting another party member for the minority leadership position, noting that the contrary nomination did not go down well with majority members of the party in the House.
According to the group, while the caucus was putting things in place “the national chairman of the party and head of the NWC reportedly overruled and authoritatively rebuffed all efforts to have a fair and transparent vote and instead informed members that the NWC would take a unilateral decision on the matter and appoint a minority leader, in line with what he wanted members to believe would be in the overall interest of the party.”
The group further said sensing that a covert attempt was being made to impose an unpopular minority leader on the House by the NWC of the party, the collective membership of the minority parties decided to elect their leadership by themselves and thus, the minority caucus of the House unanimously and overwhelmingly adopted and endorsed Elumelu as their minority leader and three other members for other principal minority positions of the House.
Following the unanimous endorsement of Elumelu by the minority caucus, it wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, stating that they were convinced of the character, integrity and experience of the endorsed members, to discharge the duty of the minority offices of the House of Representatives, hence the announcement of the Elumelu by the Speaker of the House on July 4, 2019.
It said having announced the minority leadership positions by the Speaker Gbajabiamila, all the members travelled to their constituencies for the weekend and were no longer in the Federal Capital Territory when the letter inviting Elumelu from the NWC got to the house of Elumelu.
The group said it was therefore shocking for them to hear the national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, announced in a televised and widely reported press conference, that Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and some members of the PDP caucus in the Federal House of Representatives had been suspended for one month.
Members of the group said they were at a great loss to clearly understand how the simple and clear cut sequence of activities could be interpreted as indiscipline, anti-party and all the other allegations contained in sections 57 and 58 and copiously listed as reasons for the suspension of Elumelu.
The group said the decision of the NWC to suspend Elumelu was an act of injustice, saying it was a product of a foregone conclusion, as “Rt. Hon. Ndudi was denied the chance of fair hearing and the very comprehensive nature of the allegations, not only smacks of a clear attempt to undermine the Delta state PDP caucus in the House, as well as demean Delta state and undermine our huge contributions to the PDP, it equally suggests a suspicious act of vendetta against Delta state, perhaps in recompense for some bottled up anger over certain actions in the past.
“We are therefore left wondering if the PDP NWC, headed by our national chairman, would have been so hasty in carrying out their suspension, if the other contender for the office of the minority leader of the House of Representatives was not only from Rivers state but most instructively, representing the federal constituency of the governor of Rivers state.
“We have not heard any of the other members so nominated by the party for other minority positions spitting fire, exhibiting legislative disobedience and causing disaffection in the House by their actions.
“Let us state here categorically, that Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu is a beloved and loyal member of the PDP, not just in Delta State, but in the National caucus.
“His immense contributions to our party has not only ensured the consolidation of PDP in the governance of Delta state, but delivered the comprehensive and landslide votes of Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency to the PDP in all elections.
“For a member of such monumental relevance and unparalleled importance to the party, to be treated with such disdain and disregard, as to be slammed with an undeserved suspension, without the opportunity of fair hearing, not only reflects the sad fact that the leadership of the party may not be fully aware of those who have solidly contributed towards the sustenance of the party in its troubled days.
“We the PDP members of Anioma, Delta state totally reject the suspension of our representative, Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and consider it an error which may have been informed by an ill-advised display of party authority.
“It is our hope and expectation, that the PDP leadership will immediately rescind the suspension of Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and provide a more acceptable arrangement and platform for the amicable resolution of whatever it is that may have resulted in this unfortunate action, both for the image of the party and the political fortunes which the party would have gained by towing the path of due process and upholding the tenets of the independence of the Legislature in the determination of their own affairs.”