World Bulletin/News Desk
Nigeria’s ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday announced the suspension of four key chieftains who are among the pillars of a breakaway faction.
"They are suspended for their anti-party activities and their issues have been referred to the disciplinary committee," PDP National Publicity Secretary Olisah Metuh told Anadolu Agency over the phone.
Metuh named the suspended leaders as former Acting National Chairman Abubakar Baraje; National Secretary Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Board of Trustee members Sam Jaja and Ibrahim Kazaure.
The four belong to a breakaway PDP faction, the NewPDP.
A court has earlier dismissed the faction and its appellation as illegal.
"They have been suspended for identity theft," Metuh said.
"Despite a court ruling barring them from parading themselves as members of the new PDP as no such thing exists, they have continued to parade themselves in that light," he added.
The suspension is seen as a countermeasure to an Appeal Court ruling last Friday which reinstated Oyinlola as the party’s National Secretary.
Oyinlola had earlier been removed by a lower court, in what was seen as a height of power play between the rebels, thought to be loyal to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, and the party’s executive backed by incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
The rebels had yesterday threatened to force the resumption of Oyinlola today.
The ruling party still claims ignorance of any court ruling reinstating its national secretary, though its action tonight is seen as a measure to frustrate the resumption of the man, a former governor and retired brigadier general.
Chukwuemeka Eze, a spokesperson of the NewPDP, criticized the suspension move.
"It is an act of desperation which serves to expose the mindset of the Tukur-led faction," he told AA.
"I can assure you this can only worsen their plight as they embark on desperate measures to frustrate internal democracy," Eze insisted.
Seven governors, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Baraje and others had on August 31 declared a faction of the ruling party after they stormed out of a mini-convention alleging discrimination and anti-democratic tendencies.
Subsequent peace moves have yielded no result.
Part of the conditions for peace, as outlined by the rebels, include that Jonathan agrees not to seek another term in the 2015 presidential polls.
Jonathan has turned down the request.
The PDP has governed Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, since the return to democracy in 1999.Last Mod: 11 Kasım 2013, 23:18