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3 PDP Senators Defect To Other Parties

Source: EMMA UCHE -
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ABUJA, Nov 10, (THEWILL) - Three Senators of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today dumped the party for other parties in a move bolster their chances of returning to the Senate after the 2011 general elections.

Senators Joel Ikenya (Taraba) and John Eferakeya (Delta) decamped from the PDP the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) while Senator Umar Argungu (Kebbi) joined Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

The three senators cited lack of internal democracy in their former party, lack of fair play, unresolved crisis and high-handedness as reasons for jumping ship.In his letter notifying the Senate President of his intention to withdraw his membership from the PDP, Ikenya cited ‘the unbridled manner’ party officials in his ward and local government area are being removed without recourse to fairness and party constitution as his main grouse with the PDP.

He then said he was decamping to the ACN based on his belief that the party would offer a transparent platform on which he and his supporters could realize their political ambitions without intimidation.

But at this point, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (PDP, Bayelsa) raised a point of order, saying since Ikenya did not mention the existence of a division in the Taraba State chapter of the PDP as the reason for his decision to quit, his seat in the Senate should be declared vacant in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

Thereafter, the Senate President then told Ikenya to convince the Senate that there is division in his state chapter of PDP.

Senator Jibril Aminu (PDP, Adamawa) offered to convince the Senate on Ikenya’s behalf, saying there is a noticeable double standard in the way the issue of decamping is being treated in the Senate.

According to him anytime an opposition senator is decamping to the PDP, nobody seems to raise any eyebrow but when the reverse is the case, members of the majority party to which he also belongs try everything possible to block such defection, which he said is not proper.

He then said it is true that all is not well in many states chapters of the PDP and urged the Senate leadership to convey a salient message to the party’s national headquarters that it should tread softly on the noticeable injustice in the party in order not to alienate more members.

But Senator Anthony Manzo (PDP, Taraba) said as far as Taraba PDP is concerned, there is no division in its rank and file, saying that Ikenya, as a foundation member of the party is a well respected party man in the state.

Manzo however wondered “how will you help in forming a party and whenever there is a small problem you run to another party?”

Also in another point of order, Senator Smart Adeyemi (PDP, Kogi) said, “The content and spirit of Ikenya’s letter is unconstitutional, insulting and immoral” and urged the Senate President to direct Ikenya to re- present his submission.

However, Senate President Mark over-ruled all the points of order and asked Ikenya to move to his new party.

In his own letter, Eferakeya said he was decamping from the PDP based on the unresolved crisis in the Delta State chapter of the party. Senator Grace Bent (PDP, Adamawa) said the wave of defection from the ruling party is a wake-up call for the PDP to put its house in order.

She said: “the development is taking a worrisome dimension and an indication that all is not well with the party.” But Mark tried to cut her short, saying since the Senate is composed of many parties and not only the PDP, Bent should use another forum to raise her point which borders on the party’s internal affairs.

On his part, Argungu said his decision to quit the PDP for the CPC is informed by what he called “PDP’s lack of internal democracy and lack of fair play.”

In his comment on Argungu’s move, Senator Kanti Bello (PDP, Katsina) said the Kebbi senator “is moving from the known to the unknown, since the CPC is non-existent in the Senate.”

The Senate President also counseled Argungu to reconsider his step, wondering how somebody would move “from a recognized party to an unknown one.”