Crisis looms as Reps plans to evade court order, suspends PDP minority leader, others
The leadership of the House of Representatives is allegedly in manoeuvres to circumvent a subsisting court order to suspend the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), preferred minority leader, Kingsley Chinda from the Parliament next week.
It was gathered that this controversial suspension would come following an alleged impersonation of the PDP in the lower chamber.
It was also gathered that not only Chinda would be affected by the looming plot of suspension but other lawmakers in the persons of Chukwuma Onyema, Ajibola Muraino and Yakubu Barde.
However, there has been a disagreement over who is the authentic minority leader in the green chamber for the PDP between Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and Kingsley Chinda.
Elumelu was the lawmaker affirmed by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila at plenary as the minority leader but the PDP National leadership opposed the approval and instead approved Chinda as party’s duly nominated minority leader.
Further, the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, last year suspended Elumelu and other lawmakers loyal to him from the party on account of the lingering internal crisis.
“The National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP wishes to clarify its position on the PDP caucus at the House of Representatives as follows:
“That the suspension placed on some PDP members who connived with others to supplant the party decision with regard to party position in the House is subsisting and has not been lifted.
“That the suspended members of the party cannot, therefore, conduct any business of the party at whatever level until disciplinary measures have been concluded.
“That the National Working Committee, NWC, in its wisdom, knowing that nature abhors a vacuum and consistent with its position on the matter which has not changed, directed that the affairs of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives be organised and managed by Hon. Kingsley Chinda, Hon. Yakubu Barde, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema and Hon. Muraina Ajibola “.
But the house leadership is still being disposed to the Elumelus as leaders of the opposition.
Against this backdrop, a legal firework ensued at the instance of the Chindas upon which a court of competent jurisdiction ruled that the status quo be maintained.
The court also restrained the House from taking any further step including writing and laying of any report in connection with the unresolved legal controversy.
However, it was gathered that some leaders of the Parliament allegedly mounted pressure on Chairman, committee on Ethics and Privileges, Hon. Kolawole Lawal to lay a report on the matter to suspend the Chindas in disobedience to the subsisting court order by next week.
Discrete investigation also disclosed that the report to suspend Chindas was written through an unnamed Edo born legal practitioner, member of the ruling APC and former lawmaker.
When contacted, a lawmaker who pleaded anonymity said, “These members are harmless and have not done anything that affects the entire House, it’s their PDP matter and besides, if their party has suspended their leaders in the House and appointed interim leadership pending when they sort out their issues, why is the House so vexed?
“Why do they have to fight the cause of a group of members against another group?
“If this pressure continues and the report is laid and the four lawmakers are suspended, then it’s goodbye to democracy in Nigeria.
“As a new member, I fully supported the Speaker and still support him fanatically but suspending these members from Parliament for this reason is bye, bye, to democracy.
“It will be a sad commentary in all spheres as the coffin of representative democracy and voice of opposition must have been sent to the morgue and this is not good for a vibrant House.”
Also, another member on the list of those to be suspended anonymously reacted, “I am shocked to hear that this issue is resonating. I dont 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 through a majority vote 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.
“Yes, I hear some people say when it’s done, we can go to court and they will frustrate the litigation for the next three years and, we will remain outside the Parliament. But I am not worried about all that.
“A few members of the Committee confirmed that they have received a copy of the process and the Clerk of NASS has been served with the process.
“But at the Federal High Court, the trial was adjourned to Friday February 21.”