During the week, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) finally dragged the quartet (Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Sam Jaja, Abubakar Baraje and Ibrahim Kazaure) before the party’s Disciplinary committee—The National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) headed by Alhaji Umaru Dikko, of the crated fame. The four persons were accused of anti party activities.
For a government that established the concept of Due Process as a thematic mantra, it is ironical that the PDP is driving against the ethos of Due Process. Why did the thought of inviting Oyinlola and co. come after they have been suspended by the party? Which one should come first: defend yourselves before a panel and if found guilty, you are sanctioned? Or you get sanctioned first before you are given the opportunity to defend yourself?
The underlying verbiage is that the PDP wants to be seen as fulfilling all righteousness. But this is in an awful and warped sequence. For the Tukur-led PDP, it is punishment before explanation, not the other way round. Of course many know that the NDC will merely be working from the answer to the question, not the other way round. But for the sake of mere argument, what if the disciplinary committee does not find them guilty of the charges leveled against them? Who would pay or atone for the humiliating punishment of the celebrated suspension? As a father, does Tukur punish his erring children before asking them what they did or why they did what?
With a determination to justify the suspension slammed on the quartet, the NDC, we fear, will merely serve as the institutional executioner for the PDP. No one can truly expect justice from such a panel. Surely, Oyinlola is the target of the action. Others are mere collateral damages. And is it not curious that Tukur suddenly thought of suspending Oyinlola and co , after the Appeal court ruled that Oyinlola was wrongly removed as the secretary of the party? Truly, it was an ambush of the judiciary.
With Tukur, this wonky order of addressing issues appears to be his pattern. Last May, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was suddenly suspended from the party, for no other reason than that he dared to contest the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) election. That, on its own, does not amount to anti-party activity. And a week later, Tukur sets up a committee to look into the allegations against Amaechi—after he had been suspended! Till today, six months after, the committee did nothing. So is the so-called reconciliation committee headed by the Bayelsa Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson.
Undoubtedly, the PDP’s resort to the Disciplinary committee is an after-thought, and a queer means of responding to the court action instituted by Oyinlola against his suspension from the party.
All things considered, the faith of party members to the usual retort that the party has internal mechanism of resolving crisis will be thoroughly eroded if this obnoxious order of punishment before investigation is the operational template.