By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—Nine serving Senators of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, defected to All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Labour Party, LP.
While some of the Senators left PDP after they lost at the primaries, the opposition parties had willingly accepted them and gave them the ticket to run. One of them is Senator Atiku Bagudu Abubakar, representing Kebbi Central, who joined APC and was given the party ticket to contest the governorship election.
Another PDP Senator, Prince Bassey Otu, who lost the party ticket for Cross River South Senatorial District to Chief Geshom Bassey, Chairman of the State Water Board, defected to LP, where he has become the party’s candidate.
It was also the same case with the erstwhile National Chairman of PDP, Senator Banabas Gemade, who had a long battle with Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State on who flies the flag of the party for Benue North-East Senatorial District.
Senator Gemade defected to APC to seek re-election for a second tenure in the Senate.
Senator Mohammed Magoro, representing Kebbi South on the platform of PDP, also joined his colleague, Senator Bagudu in APC, while Senator Ita Enang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business and one of the staunch members of PDP, also joined APC.
Senator Ita Enang, Akwa Ibom North-East, told Vanguard: “I am working for APC to ensure that it wins governorship election and any other position. I will only work for Jonathan for presidency.”
It was also expected that Senator Helen Eseune, who was one of the aggrieved 22 governorship aspirants in Akwa Ibom State that rejected the outcome of the primaries that handed the governorship party ticket to Emmanuel Udom, would also join APC.
Before the defection of 11 PDP senators, after the crisis that gave birth to the defunct new-PDP, the ruling party had 72 senators, while APC had 33; LP, three; All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, one.
Senator Nurudeen Usman, Kogi Central, has picked the ticket from Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA; while Senator Saidu Alkalirep, Gombe North, has also dumped PDP for APC.
Senator Ahmad Zana from Borno Central, has finally joined the main opposition party and had been given the APC ticket for re-election to the Senate.
After the defection, APC had 44; PDP, 61. But with the registration of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, three APC senators from Ogun State defected to SDP.
The only APGA Senator, Chris Anyanwu, later joined PDP alongside Senator Ehigie Uzamere from the then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Joshua Dariye, from Plateau Central and Solomon Ewuga.
However, after the December party primaries, the number of APC senators rose to 44, with PDP having 61; SDP, three; Accord Party one, and PPA one.
The defections have made no difference on the floor of the Senate as the sitting arrangement remains the same.