The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) has expressed shock over his suspension by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Elumelu in a statement on Friday in Abuja said that he was surprised that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party would suspend him without a fair hearing.
The NWC had earlier invited Elumelu and other minority principal officers of the house to appear before the committee and explain how they emerged principal officers against the will of the party.
The principal officers who emerged under controversial circumstances however failed to appear before the committee scheduled for Friday July 5.
Elumelu said that he lost an aunt and left Abuja immediately after Thursday’s plenary for Delta.
The minority leader said that he left immediately after sitting not midnight and that his gate-man received the letter of invitation at about 7:45 p.m. on Thursday.
Elumelu said that the gate-man called him at 8 p.m. to inform him of the development and he tried to reach out to other members named in the letter to see if they could be at the meeting.
The lawmaker said that he found out that other members were also out of town so he directed a Special Assistant to convey the message to the NWC and request for a new date.
“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 had expected that if the date we suggested was not convenient for the party, they would have proposed another day when we could appear before them.
“I have great respect for the party and am ready to serve,” Elumelu said.
In line with precedence, the PDP, being the major minority party in house, earlier wrote to the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila nominating Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) as the Minority Leader.
The party chose Rep. Chukwuka Onyema (PDP-Anambra) as Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Yakubu Barde (PDP-Kaduna) as Minority Whip and Rep. Muraina Ajibola (PDP-Oyo) as Deputy Minority Whip.
However, the speaker announced Rep. Ndudi Elumelu as Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu as Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Gideon Gwani as Minority Whip and Rep. Adesegun Adekoya- Deputy Minority Whip.
Gbajabiamila had explained that the lawmakers were chosen across all minority parties in the house and that the PDP alone could not dictate who leads the minority parties.
According to Elumelu, it is unfortunate if the party suspends its most loyal members 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 member of the house and I have discharged that duty.
“I advised my leaders appropriately about the House Rules and provisions on nomination of leadership and that PDP alone cannot do it without other eight minority political parties.
“On the Speakership, PDP had no candidate, I followed my conscience, I follow what my constituents clamoured for, I followed practices and conventions,” he said.