by Stanley Azuakola
The PDP National Working Committee insists that its suspension of the Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, is not as a result of his victory at the NGF polls. The party has maintained that Amaechi’s crime is his failure to reinstate the elected local council representatives of Obio-Akpor local government area of the state.
The governor on his part has insisted all along that failure to reinstate the council bosses was not his prerogative but that of the state house of assembly. But his position is disputed by the Rivers PDP executive which is opposed to him. It is the Rivers PDP exco which allegedly tabled the petition against Amaechi which led to his suspension.
However, in making haste to suspend the governor in an unprecedented 7am emergency meeting of the PDP’s NWC on Tuesday, the party ignored a provision of its own constitution. According to the PDP laws, an accused person like Amaechi must face the party’s disciplinary committee first before he can be suspended. But the chairman did not deem it fit to constitute such a standing disciplinary committee.
Statutorily, the Disciplinary Committee is supposed to be chaired by the deputy national chairman of the party. That position is currently occupied by Dr Sam Sam Jaja, a Rivers man and a loyalist of Governor Amaechi. The last Disciplinary Committee in the party was the one chaired by the then deputy national chairman, Haliru Bello Mohammed.
But even more than that, a disciplinary committee, according to the PDP constitution, cannot even discipline a sitting governor. It can make recommendations to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, which is the body empowered by the law to take such an action. But Bamanga Tukur has not convened a single NEC meeting in the fifteen months that he’s been party chairman, even though such a meeting is supposed to be convened every quarter.
Reports suggest that some governors are now demanding that the party leadership immediately convenes a NEC meeting.
According to a source, “The governors have directed that a letter demanding for the immediate meeting of NEC be dispatched because it is believed that some excesses and obvious illegality on the part of the party leadership will be addressed.”
The PDP chairman instead of following the route of setting up a Disciplinary Committee to be headed by the deputy national chairman, chose instead to empanel an 11-member committee led by Chief Joe Gadzama to probe the Rivers State governor after his suspension had already been effected.