By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has taken a new twist as members of the its National Working Committee, NWC, and Board of Trustees, BoT, Thursday endorsed different candidates for House Minority positions.
The PDP Caucus in the green chamber with the support of the party’s NWC had endorsed Hon. Kingsley Chinda of Rivers State but shortly after, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamilla while in plenary, announced that while he got a letter from the leadership of PDP endorsing Hon. Chinda for the position, read another letter endorsed by 111 members of the opposition party’s in the House settling for Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.
However, some members of PDP had raised some reservations on the choice of Hon. Chinda, arguing that since party’s chairman is from Rivers, it will be wrong for the party to choose its minority leader from the same state. They further alleged that the governor of Rivera State, Nyesom Wike is having an overbearing influence in the state, accusing him of taking every available position for the South to Rivers state at the expense of other States.
But PDP had in a statement on Tuesday raised alarm over attempts by the speaker to impose a minority leader on the party.
It said, “It is instructive to state that the PDP had duly written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, after consultation with other minority members in the House of Representatives, notifying him of members that have been selected for leadership position in the House of Representatives, in line with dictates of the rules and parliamentary practice.
“However, to our utter dismay, the PDP had discovered that the Speaker attempted to smuggle in names other than those recognized and forwarded to him as the leaders of the Minority in the House of Representatives” the party lamented.
But shortly after the announcement of Elumelu as the minority leader by the Speaker, Hon. Chinda in protest said that the Speaker lacked the powers to read a letter which emanated from members of the House to nominate the minority leader but quoting Order 8, Rule 7 of the House Rules, the Speaker ruled him out of order.
Thereafter, hell was let loose in the green chambers as members in support and against the nomination of Elumelu attempted to disrupt proceedings.
Hon. Chinda and his supporters at the end of plenary quickly rushed to the residence of the Chairman of PDP BoT, Senator Walid Jubril who received him and assured him of the support of members of the BoT.
But barely 24 after endorsing Hon. Elumelu, Senator Walid withdrew his support, saying that he was deceived and was going to endorse whoever the NWC picked.
Addressing the Press in his residence in Apo on Thursday, Senator Walid said, “As a result of the fracas in the House of Representatives during the selection of the PDP Minority and principal officers, the BoT and the NWC have decided to intervene immediately by the NWC forwarding the party’s list to the Speaker for urgent implementation.
“I want to assure all that the NWC and BoT will continue to work together in order to move the party forward.”
However, another member of the BoT who pleaded anonymity condemned the move by the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, accusing him of plot to manipulate the party and foist their brother on the party.
According to him, PDP has no moral standing to blame President Muhammadu Buhari for flooding his cabinet with members of his clan while the party is replicating same with party positions.
On the way out of the controversy, he said, ” It is better for the party to support the emergence of Elumelu and rally round him and any attempt to reverse the trend will backfire and tear down the party”.
As at Press time, members of PDP NWC were in a crucial meeting at the residence of the party’s Chairman to work a strategy to avert a looming danger.