The national leadership of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has issued a stern warning to the leadership of the House of Representatives following the resumed political hostility over the insistence of the House leadership led by Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila to suspend key opposition members. It emerged on Monday that barring any last minute change, the House leadership is set to consider a report of its ethics committee to suspend some PDP lawmakers over alleged impersonation and breach of legislative privilege.
But the PDP national leadership cautioned Gbaja against such a move. The caution, according to the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, is predicated on “the Speaker’s reported needless interferences into the choice of leadership of the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives, leading to intimidation and threats of sanctions against PDP caucus leaders led by Kingsley Chinda.”
The PDP reminded Gbaja that it reserves the right to form a parliamentary caucus as well as choose the leaders of its caucus, as it obtains in parliaments all over the world and the House of Representatives under Gbajabiamila, as Speaker, cannot be an exception.
Top among those planned to be suspended when the House reconvenes in plenary this week are Chinda, Chukwuma Onyema, Ajibola Muraino and Yakubu Barde, over alleged impersonation of PDP leadership in the House. Chinda was the lawmaker formally picked by PDP to lead its caucus in the lower chamber and also serves as the Minority Leader of the House.
But due to unpredictable change in political calculations, Ndudi Elumelu later emerged House Minority Leader and was immediately put on indefinite suspension by the PDP national leadership for allegedly sabotaging the party’s choice. Angered by Elumelu’s suspension, the House leadership had severally threatened to sanction Chinda for acting as Minority Leader against the will of the House.
It was learnt on Monday that the report of the Committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate allegations of insubordination against Chinda has been directed to support its report for consideration to pave way for the suspension.
Meanwhile, Chinda has expressed shock about the insistence of the leadership on having him and three others suspended. In a brief interview in Abuja, he said: “I am shocked to hear that this issue is resonating. I don’t think the Speaker will concede to suspending us from the House for speaking on behalf of PDP caucus of the House.
Anyway from hindsight and the level of horse-trading in politics and the House in particular, I advise my other three colleagues to brace up for the worst. If we are suspended via a majority votes in the House, then I pity the parliament and parliamentarians because it means no member will have an independent opinion anymore. A bad precedent would have been set.”