There is growing allegation over the move by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to satisfy some influential party chieftains in its handling of the crisis over the emergence of Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.
This has sparked a fresh crisis in the opposition party.
It was gathered that several stakeholders, including Elumelu who was suspended by the party, are insisting that the party hierarchy should leave Reps from the party alone to decide who leads them.
Vigil360 reliably gathered from a party bigwig who pleaded for anonymity, that some prominent chieftains of the party, including serving governors, senators, members of the Board of Trustees as well as former presidential aspirants, are objecting to alleged move by the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to act contrary to earlier decisions of the party organs in its handling of the disagreements arising from the emergence of Elumelu and others as Minority and principal officers in the House of Representatives, respectively.
Recall that Kingsley Chinda who was the official candidate of the PDP for the Minority leader position was rejected by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, on grounds that he was acting on a letter from the minority parties in the House, including the PDP.
However, both Elumelu and Chinda are PDP members. Last July, 2019, the PDP BoT and NWC had constituted a committee to wade into the crisis in the interest of the party. Members of the committee included a former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu; a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara; a former Senate President, David Mark; a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and a former Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara.
In spite of several months of delay and disagreement among its members, the committee submitted a report on the issue to Secondus last September, 2019.
Party sources claimed that the report exonerated Elumelu and his supporters from any anti-party activities as regards their emergence as principal officers of the lower chamber.
Also, the committee urged the party to accept and work with Elumelu and other minority leadership officers of the House in its own interest. The BoT and the NWC discussed the report and resolved to abide by it.
Notwithstanding, on Friday, 8th November 2019, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, issued a statement saying the party’s caucus in the House of Representatives is under the leadership of Chinda.
He also said that the suspension of Elumelu and some of its lawmakers in the House of Representatives subsists.
In a swift reaction, the Minority Caucus in the House of Reps comprising nine parties responded to the PDP statement yesterday and lampooned the party for resorting to the undemocratic method in handling issues concerning the leadership of the caucus.
It further asked the party to weigh its action and not allow individuals with personal interest derail the PDP
According to Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Oyorima Idahosa who signed the statement said the PDP has no power whatsoever to foist anybody on the minority caucus as leaders as doing so will run counter to the 1999 Constitution, the House standing rules and parliamentary procedures.
The PDP, he said, must be democratic as its name implies.
He reminded the party that when, in 2015, the APC kicked against the announcement of Senator Ali Ndume as Senate Leader instead of its choice of Senator Ahmed Lawan, the PDP under Prince Uche Secondus as then acting chairman accused the APC of meddlesomeness.
More so, Idahosa expressed surprise that the same party under the same chairman is now trying to impose leaders. He also reminded the party that Elumelu was duly elected through a democratic process by members of the minority parties in accordance to the laws of the land.
Idahosa's statement reads in part “The attention of the leadership of the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives under Ndudi Elumelu has been drawn to allegations of disloyalty leveled against it in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday.
This is completely against the principle of democracy, rule of law and fairness upon which our great party, the PDP is founded and known since its formation 21 years ago.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Minority leadership of the House of Representatives was elected in strict observance of Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Order 7 Rule 8 of the Standing Rule of the House of Representatives".