TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANIOMA LEADERS, ELDERS AND STAKEHOLDERS OF THE PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC, PDP, ON MONDAY, JULY 8,2019, IN RESPONSE TO THE SUSPENSION OF RT. HON. NDUDI GODWIN ELUMELU,BY THE PDP NATIONAL WORKING COMMITTEE (NWC), AT GRAND HOTEL, ASABA, DELTA STATE.
Gentlemen of the Press, We the leaders, elders and stakeholders of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Anioma in Delta state, have invited you here today, to express our very candid and unbiased opinion, following the recent suspension of our brother and member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, the Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.
This press chat, which has therefore become quite expedient, has been convened to address our observations regarding the proceedings and processes that led to the unfortunate action, as well as, set the records straight on our position on the matter and clear the air of any doubts concerning who we believe is the authentic and substantive Minority Leader of the Federal House of Representatives.
Our position is stated as follows:
1. That we the leaders, elders and stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Anioma, Delta North received with shock and surprise, the unfortunate decision of the National Working Committee, NWC and leadership of our party, PDP to suspend Rt. Hon. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, the member representing The Aniocha Oshimili Federal Constituency, in the hallowed chambers of the Federal House of Representatives.
2. That, though we recognize and accept the right and authority of the National Working Committee to sanction any member(s) of the party as it deems fit, we however view the reason(s) for the suspension as insufficient, premeditated, over-punitive and potentially capable of causing widespread disaffection, disenchantment and disharmony within and among loyal and dedicated party members.
We recall vividly that Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of our Party in a widely reported Press statement, said that: “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”.
3. That flowing from the above, we are at pains to identify, recognize or even 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 or thing he has done that has even been interpreted as anti-party or bringing the party into disrepute, hatred or contempt and 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.
4. That impeccable and incontrovertible information reaching us from authoritative sources in the House of Representatives and the National Assembly, confirm that prior to the announcement of Principal Officers (Majority and Minority officers), for the House of Representatives, the Delta State PDP Caucus in the House had unanimously adopted and endorsed Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as its preferred candidate for the position of Minority Leader, after a keenly contested and transparent process, which also involved other Delta PDP elected members of the House.
5. That having unanimously adopted Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as its choice for Minority Leader, the Delta PDP caucus formally presented him to the PDP caucus of the House for what ordinarily ought to have been a popular and collective adoption, but were surprised when a few dissenting voices suggested another party member for the Minority Leader position. This contrary nomination obviously did not go down well with majority of the members of the party present and when they rightly demanded for due process via a democratic poll to select who, amongst the two nominee’s should be adopted for the position, 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.
6. That sensing what they suspected may eventually end up as a covert attempt to impose an unpopular Minority Leader on the House and by so doing, undermine the independence and democratic status of duly elected members of the House of Representatives, the collective membership of the Minority parties of the Federal House of Representative, with the full constitutional knowledge that the Minority Leadership positions of the House represented all the Minority political parties, whose members constitute the full House of Representatives, decided to elect their leadership by themselves and thus, the Minority caucus of the House unanimously and overwhelmingly adopted and endorsed Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as their Minority Leader and three other members for other Principal Minority office positions of the House.
7. That following the adoption and endorsement of these officers, the Minority Caucus of the Federal House of Representatives, in line with the rules of the House, promptly wrote a letter addressed to the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, dated Monday, July 2, 2019, and made available to the media, which listed the Honourable members they have duly endorsed for Principal officers as follows: Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, Delta State) – Minority Leader; Hon. Toby Okechukwu, (Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, Enugu State) – Deputy Minority Leader; Gideon Gwani (Kaura Federal Constituency, Kaduna State) – Minority Whip and Adesegun Abdu—Majid Adekoya (Ijebu-North/Ijebu-East / Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency, Ogun State) – Deputy Minority Whip.
The letter of endorsement was based on Order 7 Rule 8 of the Standing Rules of the House of Representatives and the Minority Caucus in the correspondence, further stated that they were convinced of the character, integrity and experience of the endorsed members, to discharge the duty of the offices, emphasizing that the action was in line with the House Rules, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in the best interest of the Minority Caucus.
8. That, having received the letter from the Minority Caucus of the Federal House of Representative, the Speaker of the House, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajiamila, on July 4, 2019, duly announced the comprehensive list of the names of all principal officers (Majority and Minority) for the 9th Parliament of the House of Representatives and Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu was duly announced as the Minority Leader of the House.
9. That following the announcement of Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and the other Honourable members as the Minority Leader and principal minority officers of the House of Representative by the Speaker, the newly elected principal officers across party lines, led by the new Minority Leader,Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, had, subsequently paid a solidarity courtesy call and homage to the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees (BOT), the distinguished Senator Walid Jibril, who welcomed them warmly, congratulated them on their new responsibilities and charged them to always put the interest of Nigeria first, even as they pledged to endeavour to deepen and strengthen the Democratic process, as members and leaders of the National Assembly.
10. That in the wake of the announcement of Principal officers by the Rt. Hon Speaker of the House of Representatives, and after plenary on July 4 and the auspicious visit of the new minority leadership of the House, accompanied by members of the Minority caucus across party lines, to the BoT Chairman of the PDP,, many of the National Assembly members, including our own Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, had travelled to their constituencies to interact with their constituents since the critical activities of the House had been duly accomplished with the weekend in view, and so were no longer in the federal capital territory, when the sudden invitation to appear before the National Working Committee of the party the following day, was delivered to his residence.
11. That Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, as a true and loyal party man, having been informed of the invitation of the PDP NWC, promptly dispatched apolite correspondence through his personal assistant, apologizing for his inability to honour the invitation with the NWC since he and majority of the members, including the principal officers were already out of town and mindful of travel constraints, further requested that the meeting should be rescheduled for either Thursday, July 18 at 4pm after plenary or Friday, July 19 at 10am, even as the letter regretted any inconvenience that their absence not to attend the meeting with NWC.
12. That in view of the above outlined sequence of events, which have been confirmed as the authentic and correct reflection of what transpired, we were thus shocked and dismayed, when the NWC, through the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. 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. From the foregoing therefore, we are at a great loss to clearly understand how the simple and clear cut sequence of activities above can 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. We are also still trying to fully comprehend the haste with which the suspension was announced, especially given the fact that Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu had loyally and in deference to party directive, offered to appear before the party NWC on July 18 at 4pm after plenary or Friday, July 19 at 10am, ostensibly to tell his own side of the story and be given a fair hearing by the leadership of the party.
We also note with an overwhelming sense of injustice that the decision of the PDP NWC, as contained in the press statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, appears to have been 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 suggest 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. He is a two-terms member of the House of Representatives, who during his previous consecutive tenures from 2007-2015, not only headed the very powerful House Committees of Health and Power respectively, but was one of the most beloved and highly regarded House members, who built bridges across party and ethnic lines and contributed tremendously towards strengthening and deepening our then fledgling democracy, and was equally instrumental in shaping the structure of the House of Reps and sustaining the independence and authority of the National Assembly, as a critical organ of governance in our political democracy of separation of powers. He has never been accused of anti-party politics or of even displaying any iota of indiscipline or disobedience to party leadership on any matter that is within the purview of the party’s decision making authority alone, at any time.
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, but are now pulling in all their resources and wealth of experience and connections to rebuild the party and position it strategically to achieve the ultimate objective of reclaiming our national and wide spread mandate across the six geopolitical zones of the country in 2023.
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 counter-productive 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.
Let us point out that the peace loving and hardworking PDP constituents of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal constituency are fully PDP. Therefore we the Anioma PDP Leaders, Elders and Stakeholders declare that our support for our son and member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives in National Assembly is unshakable.
Long live PDP
God Bless Nigeria
Rt. Hon. Barr. Olise Imegwu PhD
Anioma Leaders, Elders And Stakeholders of PDP