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Published On: Fri, Sep 20th, 2019

PDP crisis deepens over Reps caucus leader

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By Lateef Ibrahim

The Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jubrin and its Secretary, Senator Adolphus Wabara, on Thursday openly disagreed with each other over the submission of an investigative report on Hon. Ndudi Elemelu and six other lawmakers.
Briefing journalists shortly after a marathon meeting of the BoT at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, both Jubrin and Wabara sharply contradicted each others on the status of a report of the committee that investigated the issue.
It will be recalled that the report of a five-man committee set up by the BoT on July 9, to investigate why PDP members in the House of Representatives elected Ndudi Elumelu as Minority Leader, against the party’s choice of Kingsley Chinda.
Angered by the action of the members of the House of Representatives, the leadership of the leading opposition party had suspended Elumelu for one month.
Aside from Elumelu, others affected by the suspension order were Lynda Ikpeazu, Wole Oke, Anayo Edwin, Gideon Gwadi, Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
The BoT’s investigation committee, chaired by a former Senate President, Iyiorchia Ayu, also had two other former Senate Presidents, David Mark and Adolphus Wabara as members.
A former Deputy President of the Senate, Alhaji Ibahim Mantu was also a member, while a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara served as secretary of the committee.
However, Opara resigned from the committee before it concluded its assignment.
While addressing journalists at the end of its meeting that lasted for about five hours yesterday, the BoT Chairman said the Board had received the Ayu committee report but was yet to submit same to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
According to him, “We have received the report from the Ayu committee, but we have not submitted it to the NWC because we are still deliberating on it and we have not taken a decision on it yet”.
Jubrin was however swiftly countered by BoT Secretary, Senator Wabara, who categorically said that the Board had indeed submitted the report to the NWC. Wabara said, “We have considered the report and we have submitted the report on Elumelu to the NWC”.
He specifically said that the report had been submitted to the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who is also a member of the BoT.
The disclosure by Wabara however led to a sharp disagreement between the two elderly party chieftains, with the BoT Chairman raising objection to the Secretary’s statement, even as the latter stood his ground.
Jubrin however reminded Wabara that he remains the Chairman of the BoT and that what he said, stands.
The disagreement dragged till the end of the media briefing, with the two Board members frowning at each other as they left the venue and walked through the drizzling rain into their waiting cars.
While the BoT meeting was still ongoing, the leadership of the party had, similarly issued a statement regarding the disputed report.
The statement, signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the NWC had not received the said report from the BoT.
The statement reads, “In the light of public enquiries and conflicting reports on the position of the leadership of our great party on issues related to the minority leadership of the House of Representatives.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) hereby clarifies that it has not yet received any report from the Board of Trustees (BoT) concerning the outcome of the five-member committee it set up to intervene on the contentious matter.
“Consequently, the NWC maintains that it has not taken any decision to review its subsisting stance on the minority leadership of the House of Representatives.
“The NWC therefore urges critical stakeholders, party members and the general public to completely disregard any report to the contrary”.

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