Why did the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) fail to adhere to the provisions of its constitution which stipulates that an “offender” like Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State face its Disciplinary Committee before his suspension? An emergency meeting of the party’s NWC presided over by the national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, had met at about 7am on Tuesday and resolved to suspend Governor Amaechi, citing anti-party activities.
However, LEADERSHIP findings revealed that the Rivers governor who was re-elected over the weekend as the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) was denied fair hearing because the national chairman had failed to constitute a standing Disciplinary Committee.
Our checks in the party and its constitution confirmed that the national chairman has refused to constitute the committee because it is statutorily to be chaired by the deputy national chairman of the party, Dr Sam Sam Jaja, believed to be Governor Amaechi’s loyalist.
Sources in the party said that the national chairman had refrained from constituting this committee to avert “empowering some factions within the NWC”. It is believed that there are three factions within the NWC: one faction supports President Goodluck Jonathan, the second one comprises those loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, while the third faction is loyal to the Governor Amaechi-led NGF.
LEADERSHIP further confirmed that the last Disciplinary Committee in the PDP was the one chaired by the then deputy national chairman, Dr Haliru Bello.
Our findings also confirmed that, even in the event that a Disciplinary Committee existed, the party’s constitution does not vest it with the power to discipline a sitting governor; only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party is vested with such powers.
Instead of setting up a Disciplinary Committee to be headed by the deputy national chairman, Alhaji Tukur empanelled an 11-member committee led by Chief Joe Gadzama to probe the Rivers State governor after he had been suspended by the NWC.
However, it is doubtful if the Tukur-led NWC would convene the party’s NEC meeting. It is on record that the NWC has not been able to convene a NEC meeting since it assumed office on February 25, 2012, contrary to the provision of the party’s constitution that stipulates that NWC should convene NEC meetings every quarter.