Akin Akande, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has insisted that the suspension of Sokoto State Governor, Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, has nothing to do with his alleged role in the just concluded Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) election.
The ruling party on Wednesday Wamakko in what many believe was a move to discipline him for his alleged support for Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who contested for the chairmanship of the NGF against the party’s anointed choice of Dr. Jonah Jang of Plateau State.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement issued on the matter stated that the reason for his suspension predates the NGF election, insisting that Wamakko was suspended for insubordination.
However, the PDP said while clarifying its position on Thursday that Wamakko’s suspension came after very wide and exhaustive consultations in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the party and in the overriding interest of the party.
“The decision to suspend His Excellency, Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko came after very wide and exhaustive consultations, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the PDP and in the overriding interest of the Party,” Metuh said in Thursday’s statement.
The statement read in part: “It is important to note that the reason for the suspension of Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko predates the Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s election.
“Sometime in early April, the leadership of the Party was concerned with the statements and conduct of the Governor whereupon the National Chairman placed several calls to draw the attention of the Governor to the matters concerned.
“However, it was not possible for the National Chairman to speak with the Governor despite several attempts. The National Chairman thereafter vide a letter dated 12th April, 2013 requested an explanation to the NWC within seven days.
“Instead of replying the National Chairman, Governor Wamakko directed the Sokoto State Secretary of the Party, Mallam Aminu Bello Sokoto to reply the National Chairman. The State party Secretary in a letter dated April 14, 2013 and on the official letterhead of the Sokoto State Government House, replied the National Chairman on behalf of the governor.
“This amounted to gross disrespect and act of insubordination to a National Officer and a lawful organ of the party which is in violation of Articles 58.1 (c ), (h) and (m) of the PDP constitution which prescribed sanctions for any member who (c ) “disobeys or neglect to carry out lawful directives of the party or any organ or officer of the party”, (h) “engages in any conduct likely to cause disaffection among members of the Party or is likely to disrupt the peaceful, lawful and efficient conduct of the business of the Party” and (m) “fails, refuses or neglects to treat a petition, complaints or appeal timeously” respectively,” Metuh said.
The party also said that the National Working Committee (NWC) vide a letter dated April 17, 2013 requesting Wamakko to appear before it on the 8th of May, 2013 to clear the issues thereof, even as it wrote the State Secretary, Sokoto PDP, Mallam Aminu Bello Sokoto requesting explanations for his actions as a state party officer, in replying the National Chairman.
“Regrettably, Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko never honoured the invitation and refused to respond in any way despite repeated invitations from the NWC, an action which is in clear violation of Article 58.1 (c), of the PDP constitution. In the same vein, the State Secretary, Sokoto PDP also refused to respond to the National Working Committee (NWC).
“Consequently, the NWC at its 336th meeting held on May 22, 2013 suspended the State Secretary, Sokoto PDP Mallam Aminu Bello Sokoto and communicated the decision to him in a letter dated May 22, 2013.
“The NWC thereafter extended yet another invitation to His Excellency, Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko in a letter dated May 23, 2013 in which it requested him to appear before it on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 to clarify the issues.
“Unfortunately, in complete disregard to a lawful organ of the Party, His Excellency, Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, instead of appearing before the NWC travelled out of the country on Tuesday June 5, 2013 without any form of response to the party.
The NWC frowned at this act of gross indiscipline and disrespect to the party and was therefore left with no other option than to invoke relevant articles of the PDP constitution in furtherance of the determination to enforce discipline at all levels within the Party,” it said.