The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State has criticized the suspension of six members of the state legislature, describing it as unlawful and unacceptable.
The party made its stance known in a statement signed by its Chairman, Charles Ugwuh but read out at a news briefing in Owerri on Monday, July 19 by its state Secretary, Ray Emeana.
The party said it is unheard of, unconstitutional and illegal for the six legislators including the Minority Leader of the House, Anyadike Nwosu to be suspended without the benefit of fair hearing.
It regretted that the House has entered the annals of the country’s legislatures as a trailblazer with such obnoxious action.
The PDP disclosed that its investigation has proven the suspension to be both unlawful and ultra vires to powers vested in the presiding officers and codes of ethics and conduct of the House.
The party observed that the affected lawmakers were merely accused of ‘unparliamentary conduct and insubordination’ without any elaboration of these vague and nebulous terminologies.
According to the PDP, the Minority Leader of the House as a principal officer has some privileges which preclude his suspension from office over the charges levelled against by the speaker.
It described the suspension of the lawmakers as a dangerous threat to democracy and urged the speaker to expeditiously rescind the suspension and recall the affected lawmakers to continue to represent their constituents and enact laws for the proper functioning of the state.
It accused the All Progressives Congress lawmakers of victimizing their PDP colleagues by cutting their allowances and entitlements by 50 percent and intimidating them for refusing to cross over to the APC in order to massage the ego of the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma.
While noting that some lawmakers were last week invited to a retreat held in Abuja leaving ones elected on its platform, the PDP accused Gov. Uzodimma of eroding democratic principle of separation of power.
The party stated that the governor has arrogated to himself the combined power and authority of the three arms of government, but enjoined him to allow democratic best practices to flourish in the state.
It noted that the affected lawmakers were elected to represent the interest of their people, stressing that suppressing or gagging them is usurping their responsibility and powers.
It described as abnormal the action of first suspending people before constituting a panel to hear their own account of the charges levelled against them.
This being the case, the PDP urged the speaker to do the needful by recalling the lawmakers he unilaterally suspended without recourse to due process, pointing out that this was the best way to douse the tension that has been mounting since their suspension was announced.