Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Embattled minority leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu, minority whip, Gideon Gwani and deputy minority whip, Segun Adekoya, yesterday, appeared before the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) panel investigating the leadership crisis in the minority caucus of the Green Chamber.
Elumelu and three other minority principal officers were accompanied to the meeting with the panel by several opposition lawmakers, who came in three buses and several private cars, to show solidarity with them.
The panel, which is headed by a former Senate President, Iyorchia Ayu, was set up by the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), to mediate in the leadership crisis in the minority caucus.
Other members of the panel are former senate presidents, David Mark, Adolphus Wabara, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, who is secretary. The House of Representatives minority caucus have been in crisis since last Wednesday, following the announcement of Elumelu as minority leader by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
Earlier, in a letter to the speaker, the PDP National Working Committee had nominated Kingsley Chinda, Chukwuka Onyema, Yakubu Barde and Muraina Ajibola as minority leader, deputy minority leader, minority whip and deputy minority whip, respectively.
Last Friday, the PDP leadership suspended Elumelu, Okechukwu, Gwani, Adekoya, Oke, Ikpeazu and Edwin; for their role in the crisis.
In a brief speech shortly before the meeting went into a closed-door session, Ayu said his committee will take a decision that will be in the overall interest of the opposition party.
“Elders of the party are meeting and this is a family affair,” he added.
A member of the committee, who declined to be named, said the panel is more interested in reconciliation as it cannot afford a crisis in its fold.
“Before the meeting with our lawmakers, we met as a committee. We are planning reconciliation and I can assure you that any decision reached will ensure peace. We will not factionalise the party,” he said.