Nigeria’s ruling party stated this at a press conference.
Few hours after it announced the suspension of the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday raised an 11-member committee to investigate the petition by some members of the party in the state against the governor.
The party also said that the opinions of Nigerian members of the public do not matter or influence its decision as a party.
The party also washed its hand off the crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), over the latter’s election last week, which led to two PDP governors laying claim to the headship of the Forum.
The investigative panel, according to the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, at a news conference in Abuja, is headed by Joe Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.
Other members are Victor Kwon, Inalegwu Onche, Friday Nwosu, Udorji Amedu, Ola Kukuyi, and Wakil Mohammed.
Yusuf Jangwe, Bola Doherty, Tanimu Adamson are also members; while Anicho Okoro is to serve as secretary.
The investigative panel, which “is expected to handle all matters in connection with NWC decision suspending the governor,” was not given any time frame within which to conclude its assignment as Mr. Metuh said it would be announced later.
Suspension not related to Governors Forum
The PDP had, in a statement earlier in the day, announced Mr. Amaechi’s suspension over the crisis in the Rivers State chapter of the party.
However, pundits suspect that the governor was suspended because of the crisis in the NGF, whose chairmanship seat he reclaimed after defeating his Plateau State counterpart, Jonah Jang, alleged to have been sponsored by the Presidency and the ruling party.
Mr. Metuh, while responding to questions, debunked the insinuation that the party suspended Mr. Amaechi because of his role in the NGF crisis, saying that the NWC received the report since last week and had to act on it on Monday (this week.)
“I can confirm to you that the NWC received this report of the issue last week. The petition we received from the state executive committee of Rivers State is public knowledge,” he said.
Mr. Metuh’s claim conflicts with that of the party chairman, Bamanga Tukur, who said on Sunday that the Rivers PDP was yet to inform the national secretariat of its crisis with the governor.
The PDP spokesman further justified Monday’s emergency meeting to suspend the Rivers Governor.
“We did not wait till after the election. NWC meets on Wednesdays and because next Wednesday is a public holiday that is why we held an emergency meeting today.”
“We must refer the petition to a committee and that is why the NWC has set up this committee to handle it.”
“The state party did not handle the matter of the governor. They referred it to the NWC to handle. Now we have set up an investigative panel immediately because of the suspension of the governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, from the party pending the outcome of the investigative panel,” he said.
He said that the party does not have any direct dealing with the NGF, which he described as a non-partisan body and therefore could not have suspended Mr. Amaechi over the controversy trailing the election.
According to him, the PDP is only concerned about the party’s Governors Forum led by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, which it set up last February, adding that it is only the governors that attended the meeting where the NGF’s election held that could speak on the matter.
“Let me state it clearly that the leadership of PDP believes that NGF is a non-partisan body constituted by all governors from all the parties in Nigeria. We do not have direct dealing with NGF,” he said.
“The outcome of the election, the reactions, whatever happens we expect the governors who attended the meeting to speak. As a party, we will only concern ourselves with the activities of the PDP Governors’ Forum.”
We don’t care about Nigerians opinions
The PDP spokesman said the party does not bother about how Nigerians view its actions or the impression its action would create in the minds of the public, insisting that the Mr. Amaechi was not suspended over the NGF crisis.
“You do not take a decision because you want to make the public glad but what is in the interest of the party,” he said.
He said the party did not commit any procedural error by suspending Mr. Amaechi before setting the investigate panel, noting that the committee had since been constituted.
Asked if President Goodluck Jonathan, as the leader of the party, was consulted before the panel was set up, he said the NWC was capable of taking any decision on issues affecting the party.
Mr. Metuh said, “The constitution gives the NWC the right and the discretion to handle the affairs of the party. We have not had any reason to set up a disciplinary committee and investigative committee in the first instance and because this issue has come up under our constitution we must set up a committee to look at it.”
He debunked the claim the NWC relied on the party’s constitution that has not been adopted by the convention to suspend Mr. Amaechi.
According to Mr. Metuh, the constitution was adopted by the national convention of the party in 2012, noting that when it was taken for printing, there were some spelling and grammatical error which needed to be corrected.
He added that the National Executive Committee, NEC, does not need to ratify what the convention had approved.