–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):
There appears to be a crack in the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the crisis in the selection of the House of Representatives Minority Leader as some members of the national leadership have disowned the extension of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and others suspension from the party.
Elumelu, representing Delta state, emerged as the Minority Leader of the House against the wish of the national leadership, earning him a one-month suspension from the PDP.
The party’s preferred candidate for the post is Hon. Kingsley Chinda, who it has since appointed as the leader of the PDP Caucus in the House.
At the expiration of the one month period, the party through a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, recently announced the extension of Elumelu and others suspension.
This has now been challenged by some members of the party’s NWC, including Deputy National Chairman (South), Elder Yemi Akinwunmi and the National Youth Leader, Sunday Udeh Okoye.
They spoke at separate interviews with reporters in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Deputy National Chairman (South) denied knowledge of the extension of Elumelu and others suspension which he said was not discussed at the NWC level.
He said: “I am not aware of the extension of the suspension. I do not remember any occasion where it was elongated,” adding, “I am only aware that he was suspended only for one month, after that, I am not aware of any further action.”
Asked about the status of the suspension, Akinwunmi further said: “I am an integral part of NWC, but I am telling you that to the best of my knowledge, I am aware that he was suspended for one month and that was about six months ago.”
The party national deputy chairman affirmed that Elumelu’s suspension had lapsed but did not say whether he has now been recognized as the Rep Minority Leader, saying: “It (suspension) has lapsed).
On his part, the National Youth Leader also denied knowledge of the suspension extension, saying that the NWC has not given such order.
He suggested that the party spokesman had no authority to issue the statement announcing the extension of Elumelu’s suspension.
“That is not our statement,” he said, adding: “We did not do that.”
Okoye further explained: “The Constitution of the party says that you have to give them one-month suspension, you have to set up a committee and the committee will have to make a recommendation within that one month. And whatever the committee makes, that will be the basis of your next action.
“If you recommend that they will be expelled, they will be expelled. If they say suspend, you suspend them. If they say fine, you fine them. You do not just elongate, the Constitution does not say elongate after the one month.
“And anybody who is saying that we elongated, you can ask the person where lies the report of the committee setup. Where is the report and we were in the meeting of the NWC all through this month and we never for one day, discussed the matter.
“It has never been in our agenda. You can also request from the person (spokesman), the agenda of each of the NWC’s meeting within this November or that of October.”
Also affirming that the decision to extend Hon. Elumelu and others was not the party leadership’s decision, the National Youth Leader declared, “I was in all the meetings, it was not discussed.”