Fresh facts have emerged about what transpired during the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting which culminated in the suspension of Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, former Governor Ayo Fayose’s son, Oluwajomiloju, and other candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu, Imo and Ekiti States.
The NWC also dissolved the Ekiti State Executive Committee which was populated by Fayose’s loyalists.
It also emerged why G5 Governors – Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Samuel Ortom (Benue) – who have been campaigning against their party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar – after Atiku rejected their demand to remove the PDP Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, escaped the hammer.
They had accused Ayu of siding with Atiku during the presidential primary of the PDP which the latter won, beating Wike to the second position.
Sunday Vanguard gathered in Abuja, yesterday, that with the suspension, the affected candidates, most of whom are contesting the National Assembly elections next month, risk losing their right to contest the February and March polls.
Wike joins fray
Wike, yesterday, joined the fray as he vowed to lead a court battle against the dissolution of Ekiti State Executive Committee (EXCO) of the PDP.
The Rivers governor, speaking during a rally of Rivers PDP Campaign Council in Bori, Khana Local Government Area, described the action of the NWC as tyrannical, a resort to despotism that will do the party no good in the forthcoming general elections.
He said, “Your dissolving Ekiti State PDP Exco will not help you in any way. Your suspending people will not help you. The battle line has been fully drawn. We will do everything legally possible to challenge any decision we know is illegal.
“So, don’t think you can threaten people by saying so, so persons have been suspended. Rubbish! Completely rubbish. We are above that level that you think you can threaten anybody, intimidate anybody with whatever illegal decision you have taken.
“So, we are waiting for you to announce my own and any other of my friend. As I said, when a man says you will not sleep, he too will he sleep. Will Ayu sleep? Will those his cohorts sleep? So don’t worry, we have the capacity to pay back. We have the capacity to tell you that enough is enough.”
Chapter 10 of the Constitution of the PDP (As amended in 2017) states in Section 57 (3): “The Working Committee at any level of the party, and the Executive Committee (at the Ward Level) may, after preliminary hearings, suspend a member from the party for a period not exceeding one month, during which period the member so suspended shall lose his right to contest any election, and shall be referred to the appropriate Disciplinary Committee.”
It was learnt that the PDP NWC, which met on Friday, wasted no time in arriving at a decision when each case was tabled for discussion.
A source familiar with what transpired said, “It wasn’t a meeting that took so much time because the issues were straightforward.
“Take the case of Senator Nnamani for example, he has not only been fraternizing with Asiwaju Tinubu the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, he has also been campaigning for him and destabilizing our party in Enugu.
“Nnamani, who is seeking re-election into the Senate, has been at it despite several appeals to party members to abide by our rules.
“In Ekiti, of our three senatorial candidates, only Senator Biodun Olujimi, who has remained loyal to the party despite several challenges, was spared from suspension.
“Fayose’s son and other House of Representatives candidates in Ekiti were equally suspended for various acts of anti-party activities, all of them have been hobnobbing with the opposition and took it a step further by absenting themselves from our rallies in the state and in the South-West without justifiable reasons.
“The chap from Imo was caught in the web of working against our party’s collective interest.”
Another party source, however, explained that the suspension was not final, noting that the affected persons still have an opportunity to explain themselves before a disciplinary panel which, if satisfied with their explanations, may recommend it’s lifting.
The source said, “The NWC decision in this matter is not yet final. The suspended members can still appear before the disciplinary committee to state their cases.
“In any case, if they appear and show remorse, chances are that they’ll be forgiven. We are a party of laws and due process that is why it appears to some that we are slow in taking action on such infractions.”
Asked if the matter of the G-5 governors was discussed, the source simply said “No”. He explained that “despite all of their antics, they have consistently announced their membership and loyalty to the party. None of them has been engaged in an open and direct campaign for our opponents.
“You are also aware that none of them has denied us the use of facilities in their states for our campaigns, it shows that though we are quarrelling like is normal in most families, we are still members of the same family.”
Recall, the PDP NWC announced the suspension of Nnamani and a host of other party candidates and the dissolution of the Ekiti State Executive for actions bordering on anti-party activities.
The NWC’s decisions were contained in two separate statements signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, in Abuja, late Friday.
Ologunagba said, “After a very extensive review and consideration of the affairs of our Party in the country, pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) approved the suspension of Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu State) and Chief Chris Ogbu (Imo State) with effect from today, Friday, January 20, 2023, over allegations of anti-party activities.
“In the same vein, the NWC has approved the suspension of the underlisted Party members in Ekiti State also with effect from today, Friday, January 20, 2023, over allegations of anti-party activities.
“The suspended members in Ekiti State are;
1.Ayeni Funso -(Ekiti North)
2.Ajijola Lateef Oladimeji -(Ekiti Central)
1.Emiola Adenike Jennifer -(Ekiti South II)
2.Ajayi Babatunde Samuel -(Ekiti North II)
3.Olayinka James Olalere -(Ekiti Central)
4.Akerele Oluyinka -(Ekiti North I)
5. Fayose Oluwajomiloju John -(Ekiti Central I)
The party urged its leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our Party across the country to remain united and focused on the mission of our Party to Rescue, Rebuild and Redirect our nation from misrule.
Ologunagba also said, “Following recent developments in the Ekiti State Chapter of our great Party, the NWC after careful deliberations and extensive consultations, on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and pursuant to Sections 29(2)(b) and 31(2)(e) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), has dissolved the PDP Ekiti State Executive Committee with immediate effect.
“In its place, the NWC, on behalf of NEC has approved the appointment of Ekiti State Caretaker Committee to run the affairs of the Party in the State for a period of three (3) months effective from today Friday, January 20, 2023, and to function pursuant to Section 24(2) of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).
“The NWC also approved the appointment of Arch. Sadiq Obanoyen as Chairman of the PDP Ekiti State Caretaker Committee.
“The PDP urges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our Party in Ekiti State to remain united and focused on the task ahead.”
Meanwhile, the seven suspended National Assembly candidates in Ekiti State, yesterday, faulted the action by the party leadership, describing it as an unnecessary distraction.
The candidates said the suspension won’t have an effect on their candidacy, adding that their concern was how to win the elections.
Reacting to the development, Ajijola, Ayeni, Akerele, Ajayi, Olayinka, Joju Fayose and Jennifer called on members and supporters of the party in the state to remain calm, assuring that nothing will be left undone to ensure victory in the forthcoming elections.
While describing the party’s action as unfortunate and unguided, they said that, by the Constitution of the PDP, the purported suspension was null and void because none of them was informed of committing any offence.