Foremost Niger Delta leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has endorsed the announcement of Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority leader of the Federal House of Representatives and urged the National Working Committee, NWC and leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to accept the decision of the Femi Gbajabiamila led House of Reps, in the interest of national unity and respect for the institution of the National Assembly, which is an integral arm of our democratic structure.
The former National Information Minister, who gave this timely advice, while fielding questions with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, July 7, spoke against the backdrop of the controversy which attended the announcement of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority leader of the House of Reps and three other members for the remaining key minority positions in the House, by the Speaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila .
Pa Clark, who stated categorically that the decision of the Speaker to announce Hon. Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader of the House was final, noted with concern that there were many other burning issues confronting the nation, even as he advised the PDP, as an opposition party, to be mindful of acts and comments that may likely cause political confusion and tension in the House and even heat up the nation’s polity as a whole, urging that the party would do well to take on the federal government and tackle it over the critical issues bedevilling the nation.
Clark said, “If the members of the House who are in opposition all agreed that this is what we want to do, I will appeal to PDP to face larger problems in this country. Ruga is there and there are many other things in this country that are going wrong. PDP should play the role of opposition effectively in those areas and leave this matter. It is done.
“If the Speaker has already announced that Elumelu is the minority leader now there is nothing anyone can do. Otherwise, you want to create problem in the House which should not be.
“So, I am advising the PDP leadership that now that they have suspended them for a month, that may be enough sanction. Allow what has happened in the House to go on. They are all members of the PDP,” he said.
Chief Clark, who buttressed his appeal with graphic details of what had transpired in the past concerning the House leadership, said, “PDP alone has established the precedent. In the 7th National Assembly, PDP zoned the leadership position to the South West. It did not zone to the South East or North West but members said they would regulate their own functions. That they would elect someone of their choice. Even the PDP, in President Jonathan’s time, disagreed with them.
“But the same PDP said at that time that it was the same Gbajabiamila who was the then minority leader that was behind PDP members in the House at that time and supporting Tambuwal, then a member of the House from Sokoto, who said he would contest against a lady, and Ihedioha was to be his deputy.
“Everyone of us went to the House including BoT Chairman, Late Chief Tony Anenih. The SGF was there and so many PDP members were there and election was conducted among themselves. The lady agreed to contest and PDP allowed the election to go on. at the end, Tambuwal won and Ihedioha became his deputy.
“Heavens did not fall. Commonsense prevailed and they moved on but again, that was the beginning of the problem of the PDP. Then at the end of it, Tambuwal for reasons best known to him cross-carpeted with the belief that one day, he would become the presidential candidate.
“I believe that if there are about 141 opposition members in the House of Representatives and 121 of them belong to PDP, the other 20 members are members of the House and they must be consulted,” the elder statesman said.