By Eseoghene Emuke
Following the emergence of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as House of Representatives’s Minority Leader, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday slammed a one-month suspension on him and six other House members elected on its platform.
The affected members also shun a meeting summoned by the party’s leadership on Friday over disregard for the party’s choice for the minority leader’s seat.
Among those suspended aside Elumelu are Lynda Ikpeazu, Wole Oke, Anayo Edwin, Gideon Gwadi, Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
Spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan who announced the suspension order after a marathon meeting of the PDP’s National Working Committee (NWC) on Friday, said the party reviewed “issues surrounding the minority leadership positions” in the lower legislative house.
However, in a letter purportedly sent to the leadership of the PDP, the members explained their failure to honour the party’s summons, saying they were out of Abuja when the invitation was sent to them.
The letter, which was circulated in Abuja on Friday, was signed by one Sam Audu, who was designated as Personal Assistant to Elumelu.
The letter read, “I am in receipt of a letter dated 04 July, 2019 inviting the House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Hon Wole Oke, Hon. Lynda lkpeazu, Hon. Anayo Edwin, Hon. Gideon Gwadi, Hon Toby Okechukwu and Hon Adekoya AbdulMajid, to appear before the NWC of our party.
“I am to inform you that the House Minority Leader. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and other members invited are currently out of Abuja. Notwithstanding, I have notified him and other members about the letters of invitation and they requested that l notify you about their absence from Abuja.
“In view of the above, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and other members invited are requesting that the meeting should be rescheduled for either Thursday, 18 July at 4:00 pm after plenary, or Friday, 19th July at 10-00 am.
“Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and other members invited, regret any inconvenience that their absence at the meeting with NWC may have caused”.
Ologbondiyan said, “After preliminary examination by the NWC, it was evident that the roles played by the above-mentioned members, bordered on indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience of party directives 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; 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 the PDP Constitution”.
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Elumelu has reacted to his suspension, saying that he was shocked to read about his suspension and described the action as “unfortunate.”
According to him, “It’s unfortunate if the party suspends its most loyal Member 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 Members of the House. I have discharged that duty.
“I advised My Party Leaders appropriately about our House Rules 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 follow my conscience, I follow what my Constituents clamoured for . I followed practices and Conventions.
“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 lost an aunty and left Abuja immediately after plenary in the House of Representatives on Thursday and travelled to Delta state. Though I left immediately after sitting not midnight. Secondly, my gate man received the letter at 7.45pm and he called me at 8pm.
“I was informed by my gate man who received the letter from the party at 7.45pm and called me at 8 pm. 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 interacted 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.”