THE gulf created by the suspension slammed on House of Representatives Minority Leader and six others by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) widened yesterday.
The Caucus of the party in the Green Chamber urged the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) to lift the suspension.
Elumelu and the six other principal officers — Toby Okechukwu (Deputy Minority Leader); Gideon Gwani (Minority Whip) and Adekoya Abdul-Majid (Deputy Minority Whip); Wole Oke; Lynda Ikpeazu and Anayo Edwin – were suspended for failing to turn up for a meeting.
The meeting was summoned following the announcement of the Minority officers last Wednesday by House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
At a news briefing yesterday in Abuja, the Caucus warned of the consequences of upholding the suspension.
“If the suspension is upheld with the issues remaining unresolved, the fortunes of the party in future are likely to be negatively affected”, the PDP Caucus said.
Passing a vote of confidence on the Minority leadership and Speaker Gbajabiamila, the caucus wondered why only seven members were affected while 111 were party to the process that threw up Elumelu and the others as the Minority officers.
Members of the caucus called on party elders to ensure dialogue would be employed to resolve the issue.
Addressing reporters in the company of his colleagues, Legor Idagbo (Cross River) said the caucus has resolved to work with the party but it should be emphasised that since 1999, the parliament has remained independent to date with no form of coercion from any quarters.
Read also: PDP suspends Elumelu, Ikpeazu, Oke, others
“The parliament since 1999 till date remains independent and not coerced,” he said.
Idagbo also denied insinuation that members of the caucus were induced with N1 million each to endorse Elumelu and others.
He said: “We call on the National Working Committee (NWC) of our party to rescind its decision of suspending the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu and six others, who through no fault of theirs were nominated and elected by majority of members of minority parties.
“Where an offence has been committed in this process, the perpetrators would be all 111 of us and not seven members as were suspended by our great party.
“We, the minority parties, hereby pass a vote of confidence on the newly constituted minority leadership because our decision to constitute the Minority leadership of the Ninth House of Representatives is in consonance with the House Standing Order, that is, Order 7, Rule 8, which is derivative of Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“We stand by our decision. We stand by our leaders. We use this opportunity to sue for peace and to state that we are available for further discussions with the NWC of our party on how to resolve these issues and move our party forward
“We call on well-meaning party leaders, particularly those with legislative experience, to intervene in our behalf in order for this matter to be laid to rest so as not to affect the fortunes of our party in future.”
On alleged monetary inducement, Idagbo said: “I have no information about that and I speak on good authority, I don’t think N1 million can induce any member in the National Assembly. And I’m sure that’s an insult to members of the National Assembly. If you had said N1 billion now, I would have started asking questions.”