Confusion Trails Purported Defection Of 11 PDP Senators To APC
SAN FRANCISCO, January 29, (THEWILL) - Confusion has continued to trail the purported defection on Wednesday of 11 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
THEWILL gathered that the letter containing the names of the 11 senators was handed to President of the Senate, David Mark, by the arrow-head of the group, Senator Bukola Saraki (PDP, Kwara), earlier during plenary session.
Senator Mark however declined to read the letter at the plenary and it is not yet clear if he will eventually read the letter on Thursday as reading it on the floor of the senate chamber will give effect to the defection.
In the letter, the defecting senators cited factionalisation and division in the party as reasons for their defection.
They also said their communication is pursuant to Section 68 (1g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
"We, the undersigned Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, elected under the platform of 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 PDP that sponsored our elections into the Senate.
"In view of the above, we write to inform you that following the division and factionalisation in the PDP, we have formally joined the APC.
"This communication is pursuant to Section 68 (1g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
"For your information, guidance and record purposes," the defecting senators said in their letter.
Senator Mark is scheduled to meet the defecting senators this night for a crucial talk, the agenda of which was not known when filing this report.
Sources however confided in THEWILL that the Senate President told the group to go and write individually since they were not collectively elected.
"This much is what Mark was expected to tell the defecting senators at a meeting he is scheduled to hold with them this night.
He is holding fast to the position, which he views as very constitutional,' a source at the senate disclosed.
THEWILL further learned that some of the Senators have suddenly developed cold feet and approached the Senate President not to read the letter yet as they may reconsider their position.
"Particularly a top senator from Sokoto State was said to have appealed to Mark to hold on, thus prompting him to decide to meet the senators at a private meeting, to either sound them out on the lasting implication of their action," the source further said.
Another source close to the President of the Senate said Mark has come under heavy pressure not to act on the letter and at worst he should apply his constitutional powers.
Besides, the source disclosed that Senator Mark was furious over the press statement issued by the interim publicity secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announcing that 11 PDP senators have defected to APC and that the letter would be read at the Senate Wednesday's afternoon.
Mark, according to the close source, views the action as not only pre-emptive but arm-twisting and one geared towards putting his constitutional powers to test.
The list of defecting senators include Senators Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Abdulahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Bukola Saraki (Kwara), Jumai Alhassan (Taraba),Umaru Dahiru (Sokoto), Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto), Magnus Abe (Rivers), Wilson Ake (Rivers), Shaaba Lafiaji (Kwara),Ahmed Barata (Adamawa) and Jibrila Bindowo.
Meanwhile, the Senate Spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe , told reporters that as at Wednesday, there has been no defection by any senator.
"I cannot confirm what has not been read on the floor.
The senate is not aware of any such letter.
As at today, there is no such thing and until their letters are read on the floor, then I can confirm the development", he said.
BY EMMA UCHE, ABUJA