Rising from a marathon meeting yesterday, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) approved the suspension of the chairman of the “new PDP” Abubakar Kawu Baraje, its secretary Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Dr Sam Sam Jaja, and Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure for what the party called “identity theft”.
The party said that it took the action against Baraje, Oyinlola, Jaja and Kazaure because of their past and present positions in the PDP and that their actions are inimical to the provisions of its constitution.
Addressing a press conference last night at the Wadata Plaza headquarters of the party, the PDP national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the party had been inundated with a lot of requests from the public to make its position clear on national issues especially on the “dramatization of the state forward matters”.
According to him, the party has stated it clearly that there is only one PDP and its leaders are united on matters that will move the nation forward.
Metuh said the party has witnessed an attempt of “political identity theft” by its aggrieved members and unknown individuals, which, he said, has failed judicially through the pronouncement of the court.
He said the party has continued to appeal to its aggrieved members that the issues at hand are not the production of a drama or Nollywood movies but a serious matter, which is about administration of a party in power and a party that wants to help the president it produced to deliver on the party’s mandate. He added that, sadly, the aggrieved members have refused to adhere to the party’s guidelines, hence their suspension and referral to the PDP Disciplinary Committee for necessary action.
Metuh said, “Today, the National Working Committee, in line with its constitutional right and the provisions of the constitution, has after preliminary hearings as stated in our constitution suspended forthwith from the PDP the following: Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Dr Sam Sam Jaja, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and fourthly Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure.”
According to the PDP spokesman, the suspension of the four members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) because of their past and present positions in the party is for the breach of Section 58(1) (b) (g) (h)& (i) of the party’s constitution.
“The provisions of our constitution stated that anyone who does or says anything likely to bring the party into disrepute, hatred or contempt has committed a disciplinary offence. Anyone who engages in disorderly conduct at meetings or rallies at any party function including staging a walkout at conventions is guilty of an offence against the constitution,” Metuh said.
He added that section 58(1)(i) of the party’s constitution says anyone who engages in unauthorised publicity of dispute in the party or creates a parallel party at any level is guilty of an offence against the PDP Constitution.
He said, “We have withheld taking any decision for a long time. The leaders of our party, National Working Committee have been appealing to our aggrieved brothers to put a stop to their attempt to political identity theft but they continued.”
On why the PDP sledge hammer did not fall on other “new PDP” members especially the G-7 governors, Metuh said the PDP decided to suspend Baraje, Oyinlola, Jaja and Kazaure for arrogating parallel party positions to themselves.
Suspension is to circumvent Appeal Court verdict over my reinstatement – Oyinlola
But in a swift reaction, Oyinlola said the PDP’s decision is biased and an attempt to circumvent the judgement of the Appeal Court which ordered his reinstatement to the position of national secretary of the party.
He said, ‘’This is part of the impunity we are protesting against. None of us has been queried or requested to give explanations for any alleged offence. And if they are reacting to the issue of the new PDP, why did they decide to leave out the serving state governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives who have been very vocal? It is all an attempt to circumvent the verdict of the Court of Appeal. Certainly, the last has not been heard about this matter and I am sure that truth will prevail over falsehood.”
Action, height of impunity – Sam Jaja
For his part, one of suspended “new PDP” leaders, Jaja, has described the action of the Tukur-led PDP NWC as “the height impunity”. He said the suspended members of the new PDP will not appear before the PDP Disciplinary Committee.
He said, “This is the real reason we have engaged ourselves in the PDP. This is the height of the impunity we have fought all along and it is just laughable and funny that they have taken this ignoble path.