29 January 2014

Nigeria: Why 11 PDP Senators Defected to APC, Five More May Defect

Photo: Leadership
National Assembly

The rank of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the Senate swelled on Wednesday with the defection of eleven Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators to the APC.

The senators that defected are Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central), Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara North), Mohammed Ndume (Borno South), Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) and Magnus Abe (Rivers South East), Wilson Ake (Rivers West).

Others are Bindo Jubrilla (Adamawa North), Abdullahi Gobir (Sokoto East) and Alhassan Aisha Jummai (Taraba North).

Although the names of five other senators were listed, they did not sign the letter, indicating that they had not finally taken the decision to leave the PDP.

The senators are Saidu Alkali (Gombe North), Basheer Mohammed (Kano Central), Ahmed Zanna (Borno Central), Ahmed Barate (Adamawa South) and Mohammed Maccido (Sokoto North).

An aide to one of the decampee senators said the five others would soon announce their own decampment too.

The 11 senators communicated their decision to decamp to the APC in a letter addressed to the Senate President, David Mark.

The two page letter, which also listed the senators and their signatures, reads: "We the undersigned senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria elected under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wish to notify you that we have severally and jointly joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).

"This action and decision is as a result of the division and factionalisation in the Peoples Democratic Party that sponsored our election into the Senate.

"In view of the above, we write to inform you that following the division and factionlaisation in the PDP, we have formally joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).

"This communication is made pursuant to Section 68 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) for your information, guidance and record purposes."

Mr. Saraki submitted the letter to Mr. Mark during the plenary session.

The Senate President, however, did not openly acknowledge receipt of the letter; neither did he read it before the Senate rose from its plenary session.

Even with the defection of the 11 senators, the PDP is still to have a majority in the upper legislative chamber with over 60 senators; while the APC has about 43.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has only one senator, Chris Anyanwu, who represents Imo East Senatorial District otherwise called Owerri Zone. The Labour Party is believed to have 2 senators.

Official figures are, however, yet to be released.

The gale of defection had hit the House of Representatives last December when 37 PDP members of the lower legislative chamber defected to the APC.

Five PDP governors had earlier moved to the opposition party on November 26.

The governors are Chibuike Amaechi (Rivers), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Rabi'u Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara).

Mr. Saraki had told journalists at the weekend that more PDP senators would decamp upon resumption of the upper legislative chamber this week.

Before now, it was speculated that no fewer than 22 PDP senators would move to the APC, which was registered as a political party on July 1 last year by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The APC is the product of a merger between the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, a section of the APGA.

The new National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu'azu, had repeatedly appealed to the decamped governors and other party members to return to the party.

Before his forceful exit, Bamanga Tukur, Mr. Mu'azu predecessor, had boasted that the exit of the governors and the lawmakers would not affect the fortunes of the ruling party.

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