By Sylvanus Okpe
The endorsement of Ndudi Elumelu as Minority Leader by the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has shown a lack of unity in the main opposition party in Nigeria as Hon. Chinda Kingsley’s purported backing by the NWC didn’t hold waters.
Elumelu as Minority Leader-led, Toby Okechukwu, Deputy Minority Leader; , Gideon Gwani, Minority Whip; and Adesegun Adekoya, Deputy Minority Whip, as well as other members were spotted at the residence of the BoT Chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin where they reassured the party of their unwavering loyalty, and explained how they emerged as principal officers of the house of representatives against the desires of the party leadership.
Elumele in his explanation insisted that his emergence was in accordance with the provisions of the House Rules which provided that members of opposition parties must select their own leaders.
“We complied with the provisions of the law in arriving at selecting us and not only that sir, what is key is that out of 147 opposition members, 111 nominated us.
“You are father, our leader, we believe in you, we believe in PDP and to tell that we are loyal of PDP and we have nothing against PDP, it is just by the rules that minority parties in the House of Representatives must come together to elect those to lead them.
“On that we complied with provisions of the rules of the House.
“We promise you, we will not let even our immediate party down, we will be very, very mindful of the fact that we are in opposition and that the voice of the opposition must be heard.
“However, we will do it in line with ensuring that there is due respect for one another. What is important is for us to things that would enable this nation to move forward and ensure that there is mutual respect”, he stated.
In his speech, the BOT chairman called on the party to defend the new team so they could speak with one voice in their quest to present Nigeria with a robust opposition that is needed for our Democracy to thrive.
It reads; “On behalf of over 100 members of the BoT, I want to congratulate you, we are talking with one voice, we have contested and we are together in bringing our honourable people from the House of Representatives.
“We are equally happy that the Chairman of the new team, must be happy, as a second Republic Senator, what you have done is what we did in the past and this is in order and I hope nobody will come to make any challenge.
“We are going to defend what you have done with the best of our ability that these people elected will remain in the House of Representatives.
“I want to assure you that we are in opposition but we are not on a blind opposition. We have to cooperate with others in order to make Nigeria forward
“The beauty is that this is the highest organ of this party and I assure you, we are behind you”.
Recall that the PDP had endorsed Hon. Chinda for the Minority Leadership position with Chukwuma Onyeama as Deputy Minority Leader, Yakubu Barde as Minority Whip and Muraino Ajibola as Deputy Minority Whip.
The house of Reps was also thrown into a rowdy session by the members elected under the platform of the PDP as argument over who become a the minority leader of the house escalated into a free for all fight.
The opposition party has also released a statement, blaming the Speaker of the House of Reps, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for the fracas that erupted in the house on Wednesday over who occupies the minority principal offices of the house of reps alleging that he jettisoned the list of preferred candidates the party had send to him and gave room for diversionary interests to set in.