Prominent Ijaw leader and convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, Edwin Clark, on Sunday urged the Peoples Democratic Party to focus on major national issues and end the current minority leadership crisis in the House of Representatives.
He stated that the PDP should take no further punitive action but allow the matter to rest since it had suspended the affected Reps.
Those suspended are member representing Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency of Delta State, Mr Ndudi Elumelu; member representing Oriade/Obokun Federal Constituency of Osun State, Wole Oke; member representing Onitsha North and Onitsha South Federal constituency, Lynda Ikpeazu; and member representing Ezza North/Ishielu federal constituency, Anayo Edwin.
Others are; member representing Kaura Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, Gideon Gwani; member representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency of Enugu State, Toby Okechukwu; and member representing Ijebu-North / Ijebu-East / Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency, Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
Clark during a media briefing in Abuja also said there were major issues such the controversial Ruga settlements for hersmen, insecurity, rising unemployment, kidnapping, banditry and other national challenges that the PDP should concern itself with than focusing on the House minority leadership tussle.
He pleaded with the PDP not to do anything that would worsen the crisis in the House of Representatives.
He said, “This is a very minor issue. There are major issues in this country that the PDP should concern itself with. But the whole thing has happened, we should be thinking about major things.
“I believe that if there are about 141 opposition members in the House of Representatives and 121 of them belong to the PDP, the other 20 members are members of the House and they must be consulted. So, if the members of the House who are in opposition all agree that this is what we want to do, I will appeal to the PDP to face the larger problems in this country. Ruga is there and there are many other things in this country that are going wrong. The PDP should play the role of opposition effectively in those areas and leave this matter. It is done.
“If the Speaker has already announced that this is the minority leader now there is nothing anyone can do. Otherwise, you want to create problem in the House which should not be. So, I am advising the PDP leadership that now that they have suspended them for a month, that may be enough sanction. Allow what has happened in the House to go on. They are all members of the PDP.”
The former Minister of Information said democracy should be allowed to thrive in the country, adding that institutions should be allowed to perform their functions without interference.
According to him, there is no place even in the PDP constitution which says that the party should nominate leaders of the House and submit the list to the Speaker.
He stated that the National Assembly had rules and regulations, adding that one of the rules of the House stipulated that “elected members of the House whether they are in the majority or in the minority should sit among themselves and elect their leaders.”
He explained that the rule did not say that one political party should nominate people for the chairman or secretary to submit their names to NASS.
He, however, said the party should also be in the know in the arrangement of the House minority leadership.
He recalled that in the past, when the PDP was in government at the federal level, there was a leadership crisis in the House of Representatives, adding that the party managed the crisis well.
He said, “The PDP alone has established a precedent. In the 7th NASS, the PDP zoned the speakership position to the South-West. It was not zoned to the South-East or North-West but members said they would regulate their own functions. That they would elect someone of their choice; even the PDP, in President Goodluck Jonathan’s time, disagreed with them.
“But the same PDP said at that time that the same (Femi) Gbajabiamila who was the minority leader, was behind the PDP members in the House at that time when Aminu Tambuwal, then a member of the House from Sokoto said he would contest against a lady, Mulikat Adeola, and Emeka Ihedioha was to be his deputy.
“Everyone of one of us went to the House including the then PDP Board of Trustees’ chairman, the late Chief Tony Anenih.
“The Secretary to the Government was there and so many PDP members were there and election was conducted among themselves. The lady agreed to contest and the PDP allowed the elections to go on and at the end, Tambuwal won and Ihedioha became his deputy.”