15 Nigerian Senators have on Tuesday defected from the country’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Senate President, Bukola Saraki in the morning tactically beat security Operatives who besieged his residence to prevent him from presiding over the day’s plenary session.
The Operatives knew the session was going to witness the dumping of the ruling Party by some of the Senators.
Surprisingly, while the Security Operatives were keeping vigil at the premises to stop Saraki from coming out, all they later learnt was that the Senate President was already at the Upper Chamber presiding, during which 15 Senators dumped the APC.
With this development, the ruling APC has now become minority party in the Senate, While the former opposition, PDP controls more than half in the chamber.
The defecting Senators announced their movement to the PDP in a letter to President of the Senate, which was read at plenary.
The defectors are Dino Melaye (Kogi-West), Barnabas Gemade (Benue North-East), Ibrahim Danbaba (Sokoto), Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara North) and Ubali Shittu (Jigawa North-East).
Others are Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South), Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), Isa Misau (Bauchi Central), Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo Central), Soji Akanbi (Oyo South) and Usman Nafada (Gombe North).
Also on the list are Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano Central), Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), Olanrewaju Tejuosho (Ogun Central) and Abdulaziz Nyako (Adamawa Central).
Citing Section 68 (1G) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the defectors said “we hereby inform the Senate that we, the undersigned are changing our political affiliation from All Progressives Congress (APC) to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We thank you for your exemplary leadership.”
They said that their action was after due consultation with their constituents and stakeholders in their constituencies.
Reacting to the development, Senate Leader, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, said “the APC, our party certainly has its own internal challenges.
“But, Mr President, we all know how much effort he and other stakeholders have put into addressing the issues that bedevil this party.
“The disagreements do not translate into factions. I therefore feel that our senators of the APC do not have to move to any other party.
“I also believe that because the issues are under serious discussions by the major stakeholders of this party, I will urge that the announcement be quarantined.
“Very seriously, this matter should be stepped down until we exhaust all the opportunities,” Lawan said.
In his remarks, Saraki said “as you know and have seen that the seat beside you is empty.
“As we speak, the Deputy Senate President cannot get out of his house.
“He is under siege. This morning, I could not also leave my street as well, all by efforts of some people that believe that today’s sitting must not hold because some members want to move or defect.
“It is not something that has started today; it will not end today; people have gone, they’ve come back.
“But this kind of action does not allow for what you are saying.
“You are speaking as the leader of the Senate, who has been here for many years.”
AFRICA PRIME NEWS gathered that more legislators would tow the same line.
Reaction From House Of Reps
Members of PDP in the House of Representatives immediately went into celebration as soon as news of the defection of 15 senators from the ruling APC to PDP was announced.
Earlier, the PDP lawmakers, converged on the lobby of the National Assembly, and vowed not to allow a leadership change in the Senate.
Some of them even threatened to break into the Senate Chamber to forcefully stall any attempt to change the leadership of the Red Chamber.
However, as soon as news filtered from the Senate about the defection of 15 senators into the opposition party, the PDP Reps broke into dance, singing “ooo my home, oooo my home, when shall I see my home.”
They also chanted “Dogara Dogara Dogara” to welcome the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.