From the inception of the sixth Senate on June 6, 2007, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was in firm control of the upper legislative chamber.

The dominance of the Senate by the PDP stemmed from the simple fact that the party produced the highest number of Senators from the National Assembly election held in April 2007.

The number advantage thus put the PDP in pole position to form the leadership of the Senate, thus leaving other parties such as the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC forming the opposition.

Of the total 109 Senators sworn in at the beginning of the current dispensation, the PDP alone produced 87 Senators, while the Accord Party, AD, had one senator in the person of Senator Patrick Osakwe.

The ANPP, the party leading the opposition parties in the Senate had 12 Senators at beginning of the sixth Senate, followed closely by ACN producing a total of six Senators while the Peoples Progressive Alliance, PPA, had one Senator at the inception of the sixth Senate.

But the status quo has changed since the 6th day of June 2007 when the Senator David Mark led Senate officially took off.

The change was brought on by widespread swapping of parties by the Senators. Numerous Senators jumped ship most especially from their parent parties to another, citing lack of internal democracies and loss of confidence in the ideologies of their parties as reasons for leaving their parent parties.

So while the change was swelling the ranks of the PDP Senators in the Senate to the point of turning the Senate into a one party chamber other parties such as the AC and ANPP were almost sent to oblivion. Indeed, at least two parties, Accord and the PPA that had a member each at the commencement of the Senate in 2007 have been totally wiped out as at date.

Notably, Senator Uche Chukwumerije who won the ticket to represent Abia North in the Senate defected to the PDP while Senator Patrick Osakwe who came on the ticket of Accord equally decamped to the PDP.

Others who decamped included Senator Patricia Akwashiki who came to the Senate on the ticket of ANPP to represent Nasarawa North. She decamped to join the PDP.

Senator Sahabi Yau Zamfara North also left for the PDP upon becoming a Senator on the ticket of the ANPP.
Other Senators that left for the PDP are Suleiman Nazif of ANPP, Otaru Ohize, Kogi East, and Alphonsus Igbeke Anambra North, of All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP.

But it was not all rosy for the PDP in terms of defecting Senators. The party was marginally affected too because a couple of Senators also left for other parties especially at the twilight of the sixth Senate.

Senators Adego Eferakaya, Delta South decamped from the PDP to join the ACN. He was closely followed by Senator Ehigie Uzamere who came to the Senate to represent Edo South on the ticket of the PDP, but now vying for the same seat on the platform of the ACN. On his decamping, Senator Uzamere who likened the PDP ticket in Edo State to the Zimbabwean dollar told the Senate that he left the party to fulfill his political ambitions in ACN.

Some other Senators that left the PDP in pursuit of their political ambitions are Senators Yakubu Lado, Katsina South, Joel Danlami, Taraba and Chris Anyanwu, Imo North. While Lado left to pursue his ambition of unseating the governor of his State, Ibrahim Shema through the CPC, Senator Anyanwu on the other hand left for APGA in furtherance of her plans to return to the Senate after losing the Senate PDP primary in controversial circumstances.

Thus as the life of the sixth Senate draws to a close in two months time, the CPC which in 2007 had no representation now has two Senators on its platform.

APGA which had no representation in 2007 now has one representation while parties like Accord and PPA that started the sixth Senate with one Senator each 2007 are at the moment left with no representation at the Senate.

The PDP as at 2007 had 87 Senators, it however lost five Senators in the decamping melee but gained six back thus confirming it dominance of the Senate with a total representation of 88 Senators as at 2011.

While the ANPP lost two without getting any Senator into its fold from the parties. It came into the Senate with 12 Senators in 2007, but as at 2011, has 10 Senators.

The ACN, on its part as at 2007 had six Senators but in 2011 now has five after losing three and gaining two from the PDP.

But the defection back and forth of Senators from one party to the other has not reduced the dominance of the PDP so far in the sixth Senate; rather it has dealt badly with the fortunes of the other parties.

At the moment, the party still controls the Senate as evidenced in the composition of its leadership.

Top Senate leadership positions such as the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Senate Leader, Deputy Senate Leader, and the Chief Whip are still in the firm grip of the PDP.

Another evidence of the PDP strength in the Senate is noticeable in the composition of heads of the various Senate standing Committees. The PDP dominates in the chairmanship positions of most of the Senate Committees.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.