Reps Minority Leadership Probe: Plot to Discredit Ayu Uncovered as Petitioners Plead for Leniency
Amid the intrigues surrounding the Minority Leadership positions of the House of Representatives, it has emerged that a recent petition sent to the Peoples Democratic party, PDP leadership, discrediting the Committee set up by the PDP Board of Trustees to investigate the circumstances surrounding the emergence of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as Minority Leader and three other Minority Officers, was authored by persons still nursing the futile hope of undoing what has already been concluded, gazetted and reflected appropriately in the votes and proceedings of the House of Representatives.
It will be recalled that a petition entitled: ‘Iyorchia Ayu Committee-Need for Chairman and Secretary to Rescue Themselves,’ dated 17th of July and signed by Solomon Maren, Representing Mangu/Bukkos federal constituency of plateau state and Amos Magaji Gwamma, representing Zango kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency, kaduna state, was made available to an online news portal TheNewsGuru.com, in which the lawmakers, under the aegis of Concerned PDP Reps, demanded that the Ayu investigative panel should stop functioning as there are clear indications that it has been compromised.
In the said petition, the lawmakers, proceeded to accuse the chairman of the Probe panel and former Senate President, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and the Secretary and former Deputy Speaker of the House, Chief Austin Opara, of bias and even stated clearly that Senator Ayu had already compromised himself before the impasse by instructing some Benue Reps to vote for a particular candidate and so cannot be a judge in his own case, while Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, who is from Rivers state and is a Godfather to one of the candidates that contested for the minority House leadership position, will not be expected to go against his political godson.
The petitioners, who further revealed that one of the prominent members of the committee allegedly collected N15m and had insisted to continue the work until he was prevailed on by other members, then went ahead to pleaded with the party’s top hierarchy to politely remove all members of the committee with tainted records immediately, if the party must forge ahead, and while claiming that they earnestly respect members of the committee as leaders of proven integrity, noted however that these leaders are not infallible, warning that justice should not only be seen but must have been seen to have been done.
However, investigations within the PDP and inside the House of Representatives reveal that there is definitely more to the petition signed by Solomon Maren and Amos Mogaji, as multiple and very reliable sources confirm that they were not the original authors of the document, but their signatures had purportedly been procured for a fee by the original authors, in a plot masterminded by a very prominent PDP South South Governor and orchestrated by one of the contestants for the Minority Leader position in conjunction with others who lost out in the minority leadership race.
Deeper findings confirm that the plot behind the petition is actually targeted solely at discrediting and removing the Chairman of the BoT probe Committee, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, who is well known and respected across the rank and file of the party as a Man of impeccable integrity and the fear of the petitioners, according to solid PDP sources is that since Dr. Ayu does not come from South South where the two contestants for the post of minority leader come from, his position, as a true party man, will be to act in the interest of the party rather than that of an individual.
Sources claim that since there is no way of influencing his opinion, the grand ploy of the petitioners, is to discredit him and the committee members through levelling unwarranted accusations of graft and bias against them and painting them in a bad light, especially as there are no tangible reasons to warrant these insults, on such respected and reputable leaders of the party, by alleging that money changed hands, amongst other claims.
Impeccable sources within the PDP House caucus further confirm that the petition discrediting and calling for the removal of the committee chairman and Secretary, was the handwork of particular persons who lost out in the Minority leadership tussle and galvanized by two former immediate past principal officers from the South East and Kogi State, respectively, at the behest of the prominent Governor from the South South,. But the sources are quick to point out that it is only God that gives power, not man. In this case God has chosen His anointed Children and so all the glory must go to God not any man.
Their actions, according to the sources, were meant to further exhibit their desperation in their desire to see if they can upturn things, even when they have no concrete or substantial facts to support their allegation against the person of Senator Iyorchia Ayu.
Further investigation also suggest that the Secretary of the Committee Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, may also be a willing and inevitable accomplice in the plot to initiate the petition, given the fact that one of the contenders for the position of Minority leader is from his state and since the position of the PDP National Chairman, who is also from Rivers State is very clear, he had no choice but to allegedly become culpable, especially since the reason for asking for his removal was very obvious and would go a long way to influence the decision for them to recuse themselves from the committee.
Knowledgeable inside sources within the House of Reps affirm however that both the petitions and all other covert and clandestine moves to discredit the Committee and upturn the announcement of Ndudi Elumelu and other Minority principal offices may just be a bridge too far for the plotters, in any case, by virtue of the fact that the Minority Leadership positions as announced by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiala, has already been gazetted and the officers in question have resumed their duties, so it will pay PDP better to sheath their sword and embrace the newly inaugurated principal officers from their party, in order to avoid losing out completely in the long run.
This position, according to insiders, is because, inspite of the intrigues and allegations, the petitioners and their sponsors have no powers to change what has already transpired, bearing in mind that the election of the principal officers has authoritatively been endorsed by the gavel, which also culminated in the votes and proceedings being adopted by the House. Besides, it will take two thirds majority of the whole House, under Order 7 Rule 14, to change the tide and PDP does not have such numbers to decide otherwise. The sources also suggest that even in worst case scenario, that the party decides to expel them, they will still be minority leaders from any party at all, since they have already taken oath as members of the House and that will amount to PDP shooting themselves in the foot because it will end up not having any principal officers on the floor.
The sources also hint that the hide and seek game using indirect ways to speak, just like the hand of Esau, voice of Jacob should stop forthwith, for the fact that it will not in any way benefit the PDP, since the majority of the members of the House who believe strongly in the instrumentality of the rule of law and the independence of the legislature, have put that matter behind them.
Investigations also revealed on good authority that Solomon Maran and Amos Mogaji have been attempting to meet and plead with the newly inaugurated principal officers to forgive them as it was not their intention to get at them in any way and they had even also been claiming that the intention of the petition was even meant to favour the the principal officers. The sources reveal further that every attempt made by Maran to get the ear of the newly inaugurated principal officers were shunned by the officers, for the fact that they felt Hon. Maran was mischievous and an interloper who has no locus standi in terms of the matter because he neither contested for any of the positions nor is he from the South South region.
Further investigation equally revealed that when Hon. Solomon Maran was the chairman of the North Central Caucus, it was before his eyes, that the same Northern Caucus endorsed all the Minority officers of the party for the positions, so it becomes pertinent to ask why Hon. Maran is crying more than the bereaved, even when he has been claiming that one of the principal officers is his good friend and House sources went further to reveal how the said Hon. Maran complained that his pain was that he was not allowed to be the one to market this particular Minority officer in his zone. However the question that will continue to seek for a credible answer is if all this is enough for Hon. Solomon Maran to be mischievous and at the same time be a Judas?, the sources opined.
However, it is also the firm position of the multiple sources that for the petitioners to be truly sincere, they should prove and give substantive evidence that indeed money changed hands, especially the purported N15 millon and other allegations that “it was disheartening to see rich men go hungry and collect a morsel of porridge to destroy the party” as they so clearly stated in their petition, otherwise they should shut up their mouths and face what their constituencies elected them to do.
It was also revealed in the course of the investigation, that the duo of Hon. Solomon Maran and Hon. Amos Mogaji have not been showing up regularly in the House of Representatives chamber in line with the stipulation of the relevant laws, since Parliament was inaugurated and there are hints, gathered from credible authority, that the House has taken cognizance of this infraction and will soon invoke the provision of the constitution as it relates to attendance, which if activated, would automatically open the way for their various constituencies to call for their recall, for reason of not attending sitting of the House in consonance to the mandate given to them as their representatives.
Polity watchers will recall that a couple of days after it was set up, the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu committee met with Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and six other lawmakers; Wole Oke, Lynda Ikpeazu, Anayo Edwin, Gideon Gwadi, Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid, who were suspended by the PDP over the House of Representatives Minority leadership crisis.
The five-man committee, which is made up of eminent past leaders and principal officers of the National Assembly including, Sen. David Mark, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu and Sen. Adolphus Wabara, had been set up to intervene in the matter and submit their findings in Seven days, from the inauguration date of July 9.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ayu, who spoke with journalists after the meeting with Elumelu and the others, had affirmed at that time that the matter was a family affair being handled by the elders of the party and assured categorically that the decision of the committee would be in the best interest of the party and the committee will not take any decision that will end up fictionalizing the PDP.
PDP and National Assembly watchers who spoke in the course of the investigation, noted that the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu Committee had a mandate of seven days to address the crisis and so was expected to have submitted its report to the PDP National Working Committee by July 15. They wonder therefore, why the petition of Solomon Maran and Amos Mogaji is coming on July 17, two days after the Committee report must have been submitted, if not perhaps that the plotters of the petition may have been privy to the contents of report which may not have been in their favour, and so embarked on this ploy to discredit the entire membership of the Committee for their own selfish interests.
And so, as the National Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives and indeed the entire nation, await the decision of the PDP on a matter which many people believe has already been settled, it is left to be seen, according to analysts, whether the leadership of the PDP would do the honourable thing by submitting to the democratic will of its elected members in the House of Reps or choose the other option which will ultimately and eventually end up dividing the party against itself irrevocably.