Mass defection hits PDP camp in Senate

•APC to hit 71, PDP 37 •2 Cross River PDP lawmakers defect to APC

Eid-el-Fitr: Buhari, Govs, Kalu, others seek unity against criminals

From Fred Itua, Abuja

Barely two years to the 2023 general elections, senators elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are ditching the party in droves for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The number of PDP senators which got depleted from 44 to 43 last year when Ishaku Clifford from Adamawa State defected is set to reduce to 37 within the next few weeks.

One of the five senators, who was fingered to defect from the party this week, Muhammad Hassan Gusau from Zamfara State, set the ball rolling for others yesterday by resigning from the party in a letter read by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan during plenary.

Gusau in the letter, hinged his resignation from PDP on alleged collapse of internal democracy and factionalisation of the party in Zamfara State .

He joined Peter Nwaoboshi from Delta State , who defected from the party last week, which earned him a Presidential recognition.

Daily Sun learnt that three other senators are waiting at the departure lounge of the party – Lawali Anka, Zamfara West; Sahabi Ya’u, Zamfara North and Stephen Odey, Cross River North.

It was  gathered that while three of the four senators are set to formally announce their defection to APC on the floor of the Senate, Sahabi Ya’u may defer his own.

“Being the Deputy Minority Whip, a principal officer in the Senate, Ya’u may not want to lose the position for now,” a source said.

However, by the time the defections are officially made and carried out in the Senate , PDP which started with 44 senators at the beginning of the 9th Senate in June, 2019, would have 37 Senators, while APC which started with 66 Senators would increase to 71.

The remaining one seat still in the opposition is occupied by Ifeanyi Ubah (Abambra South) on the platform of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) .

Meanwhile, two members of the House of Representatives from Cross River, Legor Idagbo and Michael Etaba have defected from PDP to APC.

The lawmakers notified the parliament of their defection in separate letters addressed to the House and read by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila at plenary, yesterday.

The lawmakers said the crisis rocking the PDP leadership in the state was the reason for their defection.

However, Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu) urged the Speaker to declare their seats vacant in line with section 68 of the  1999 Constitution.

He said a lawmaker elected on a platform of a political party, can only defect to another when there was crisis in the party.

Okechukwu said there was no crisis in the PDP insisting that the seats of the defectors be declared vacant.

In his ruling, Gbajabiamila said the fact that the defecting lawmakers said there was crisis in PDP showed that there was a division in the party.

He, however, said the point raised by Okechukwu was noted and continued with proceedings of the day.

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