The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has said it will not recall six of its members in the National Assembly who were suspended for alleged indiscipline, insubordination and disobedience, until it receives reports of the committees it set up to probe them.
The party has, therefore, extended their suspension until further notice.
Our correspondent gathered that the party’s national leadership took the decision despite pressure from what a national officer described as “different quarters.”
The party had on July 5 suspended the House Minority Leader, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, and six other members for going contrary to the directive of the PDP leadership on who should be minority officers in the House of Representatives.
The suspension was meant to last one month.
Others suspended with Elumelu were the representative of Oriade/Obokun Federal Constituency, Osun State, Wole Oke; representative of Onitsha North and Onitsha South Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Lynda Ikpeazu; representative of Ezza North/Ishielu Federal Constituency, Ebonyi State, Anayo Edwin; representative of Kaura Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, Gideon Gwani; representative of Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, Enugu State, Toby Okechukwu; and representative of Ijebu-North/Ijebu-East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency, Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
The PDP had nominated the representative of Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Kingsley Chinda, as the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
The party in a letter dated June 21, 2019, addressed to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said its leaders had endorsed Chinda for the post of Minority leader, Chukwuka Onyema (Deputy Minority Leader), Yakubu Barde (Minority Whip) and Muraina Ajibola (Deputy Minority Whip).
The letter was signed by the National Chairman and the National Secretary of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and Senator Umaru Tsaurim respectively.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, had told reporters at a press conference in Abuja that the suspension was the outcome of the meeting of the PDP National Working Committee over the crisis that resulted from the struggle for the position of the House of Representatives Minority Leader.
Ologbondiyan, who read the resolution of the NWC, said the committee reviewed the issues affecting the minority leadership of the House of Representatives.
Following the suspension, the Board of Trustees of the party set up a committee chaired by a former President of the Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, to meet with the suspended lawmakers.
Members of the committee include two former Senate presidents, David Mark and Adolphus Wabara, a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, who serves as secretary.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that the suspended members had reached out to the leadership of the party to forgive them.
A source close to some members of the BoT, told our correspondent that the federal lawmakers had visited them and asked for their intervention.
“They (Elumelu and others) have gone round to beg us. They asked that the issue be forgotten and all that. But the problem we have is that many feel that we should be careful so that we don’t end up having people in such delicate positions who would be moles for the ruling party,” the source added.
Conversely, the party said the suspension placed on the six members would be in force until the members of its National Disciplinary Committee, headed by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, submit its reports.
Though it said that the initial one-month suspension ended August 5, it, nevertheless, said there was no way the suspension would be suspended without the report of the Ikimi panel.
Ologbondiyan, who spoke with our correspondent on the issue, ruled out the possibility of members of the National Working Committee interfering with the works of the Ikimi committee on the issue.
“Yes, we have received some emissaries on behalf of suspended members of our party. But you know the matter is a constitutional one. We cannot recall them until the disciplinary committee must have submitted its report. Until that is done, the suspension stands and will continue to stand. So, the suspension is until further notice. That is all I can say.”
Also speaking on the issue, the Chairman of the BoT of the party, Senator Walid Jibrin, said he would be expecting the report of the Ayu committee after the Sallah holiday.
“The committee members have told me that they would meet last Thursday to finalise their report. So, we should expect them to turn it in after the Sallah holiday,” he added