APC’s lead in national assembly narrows as 51 lawmakers defect

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*Senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara

The gale of defections in the national assembly has narrowed the lead by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the senate to 52 members against 50 of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with African Democratic Congress (ADC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) having three and two respectively.

The PDP had expelled one of its members, Senator Buruji Kashamu for anti-party activities and it is uncertain where he belongs while two APC seats from Katsina and Bauchi states are vacant as a result of the demise of their senators.

On Tuesday, 14 senators wrote to the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, notifying him of their defection.

The defectors are senators: Dino Melaye (Kogi West), Barnabas Gemade (Benue), Ibrahim Danbaba (Sokoto), Sha’aba Lafiaji (Kwara ), Mohammed Shitu (Jigawa), Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South), Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), Isa Misau (Bauchi), Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo Central), Usman Nafada (Gombe), Musa Kwankwaso (Kano Central), Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi), Lanre Tejuosho (Ogun Central).

Senator Abdul’Aziz Nyako (Adamawa Central) had earlier defected from the party to African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Also on Tuesday, 37 members of the House of Representatives defected from the APC.

Out of the number, 32 joined the PDP, four joined the ADC while one later announced he was also leaving the APC but did not state his new party.

Members who defected from APC to ADC are: Sunday Adepoju (Oyo), Olugbemi Samson (Oyo), Taiwo Michael (Oyo) and Olasupo Abiodun (Oyo).

The 32 who defected to PDP are: Garba Umar (Kano), Olayonu Tope (Kwara), Ahmed Garba (Kano), Kabiru Marafa (Sokoto), Zakari Mohammed (Kwara), Abubakar Amuda-Kanike (Kwara), Ali Madaki (Kano), Hassan Saleh (Benue), Ahman Pategi (Kwara), Mark Gbillah (Benue), Shehu Usman (Kano), Aminu Shagari (Sokoto), Nuhu Danburam (Kano).

The other are Atunwa Abdulrazak (Kwara), Salisu Zakari (Bauchi), Hassan Omale (Kogi), Oker-Jev (Benue), Rufai Chanchangi (Kaduna), Abdulsamad Dasuki (Sokoto), Sani Zoro (Jigawa), Benjamin Okolo (Kogi), Funke Adedoyi (Kwara), Bode Ayorinde (Ondo), Bashiru Salihu (Sokoto), Barry Mpigi (Rivers), Nasiru Sule (Kano), Segun Ogunwuyi (Oyo), Lawal Rabiu (Kaduna), Sani Rano (Kano), Dickson Tarkighir (Benue) Musa Adotsamiya (Kano) and Emmanuel Udende (Benue).

With the defection, APC now has 188 members; PDP, 161, APGA and ADC, four apiece.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, one of the defectors, Mr. Abdurazak Atunwa (Kwara) cited victimisation as one of the reasons the lawmakers decided to part ways with the APC.

“Some of us have left the APC mainly to the PDP and ADC and we tell you that constitute the first batch of those that have signified that they will leave APC. Expect more defections in the days to come,” he said.

On why they returned to PDP after abandoning it in 2014, the legislator said they monitored the PDP and found that it “has learnt its lessons, taken corrective measures and reformed itself.”

He said while the APC caucus is concerned with size of its membership, the PDP is interested in ideals.

“The focus of APC should tell you something. While we are talking about ideals, it is busy with numbers. We are more concerned with saving democracy, improving the nation’s economy and providing succour for our people,” he added.

Also journalists in Abuja, senate leader, Mr. Ahmad Lawan, said there was no cause for concern, as the APC remains the majority in the senate and House of Representatives.

“Out of the 109 Senate seats, the APC has 52, the PDP has 50, the ADC has three and APGA has two,” he said.

He gave the names of the 52 senators still with the APC to include Adamu Aliero, Kebbi, Yahaya Abdullahi-Kebbi, Bala Ibn N’Allah-Kebbi, Aliyu Wamakko, Sokoto, Ibrahim Gobir, Sokoto and Ahmed Yerima, Zamfara, Kabiru Marafa, Zamfara, Tijjani Kaura, Zamfara, Abu Ibrahim, Katsina, Umar Kurfi-Katsina, Kabiru Gaya, Kano, Barau Jibrin, Kano, Abdullahi Gumel, Jigawa, Sabo Mohammed, Jigawa, Shehu Sani, Kaduna.

Others are Ahmed Lawan-Yobe, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Yobe, Ali Ndume, Borno, Abubakar Kyari, Borno, Baba Kaka Garbai, Borno, Sabi Abdullahi, Niger, David Umaru, Niger, Mustapha Mohammed, Niger, Abdullahi Adamu, and Nasarawa.

Others are George Akume, Benue, Joshua Dariye, Plateau, Francis Alimikhena, Edo, Andy Uchendu, Rivers, Magnus Abe, Rivers, Ovie Omo-Agege, Delta, John Eno, Cross River, Nelson Effiong, Akwa Ibom, Andy Uba, Anambra, Sonni Ugboji, Ebonyi, Hope Uzodinma, Imo, Ben Uwajumogu, Imo, Danjuma Goje, Gombe, Binta Masi, Adamawa, Ahmed Abubakar, Adamawa, Yusuf Yusuf, Taraba, Oluremi Tinubu, Lagos, Gbenga Ashafa, Lagos, Solomon Adeola, Lagos, Tayo Alasoadura, Ondo, Gbolahan Dada, Ogun, Soji Akanbi, Oyo, Ajayi Boroffice, Ondo, Yele Omogunwa, Ondo South, Abdullahi Buhari, Oyo, Babajide Omoworare, Osun, Olusola Adeyeye, Osun, and Fatima Raji Rasaki, Ekiti.

“Recall that we lost two of our colleagues, one from Katsina, one from Bauchi. So, we have two vacancies. If you put this together we have 109.

“I want to assure you that by the grace of God, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct by-elections to fill in the vacancies in Bauchi and Katsina and by the grace of God they are our safest seats. We are still expecting some of our colleagues in the PDP who are originally our members to defect.

“They have expressed willingness to join APC and for our colleagues that have left we are still optimistic that many of them or all of them will have a change of heart. APC remains the majority party in the Senate and in the House of Representatives,” he said.

Lawan said the APC administration is focused adding that the federal government was doing so much for the country.

“We need to work to support the president to ensure that Nigeria reduces its deficit in infrastructure, so that the social investment we are making will come to fruition.

“Every well meaning Nigerian is supposed to support the president to fight all those few challenges that we have across the country,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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