Lawan consoles senators who lost primaries, asks colleagues to remain committed to political system
APC loses two senators to opposition party, PDP
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—AFTER it adjourned sitting for six-weeks to enable members participate in the just concluded primaries to pick candidates ahead of 2023 general elections, the Senate yesterday resumed sitting in what could be described as a gloomy plenary as the hallowed chamber remained scanty.
The chamber had suspended plenary on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, to enable lawmakers participate in the primaries of their political parties.
At the resumed plenary yesterday, president of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, announced to his colleagues the resignation of the Majority Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, Kebbi North and the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Abia South.
He added that the resignation followed their defection from their political parties under which platform they got elected into the Senate.
The atmosphere in the Senate Chamber was solemn, as no fewer than 70 per cent of the senators lost their bid to return to the red chamber on the platform of their parties, even as some of them dumped their parties for new ones.
In a letter he read on the floor of the chamber, Lawan said Abdullahi’s resignation was attributed to his decision to defect from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,
Lawan also said that Abaribe dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
The senator, who resigned as the Minority leader about 48 hours after he withdrew from the state’s governorship race, had decried the party’s use of “an imaginary three-man adhoc delegates and the exclusion of the party’s statutory delegates” in the primary elections to elect candidates.
In another letter Lawan read to his colleagues, he disclosed that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Senator Adamu Aliero, Kebbi Central, had defected from the APC to PDP.
Soon after reading the letters, he directed the Chief Whip, Senator Orji Kalu, APC, Abia North, to relocate both the former Senate Leader and his colleague in the minority caucus, to another seats that are very comfortable.
Attempts by Senators Phillip Aduda,PDP, FCT; George Thompson, PDP, Rivers and Gabriel Suswan, PDP, Benue to stop the relocation of Abaribe to another seat, because he had not formally communicated his decision to his caucus, proved abortive as the Senate president frustrated them.
PDP senators, who faulted the defection of Enyinnaya Abaribe, raised several issues ranging from failure to consult the PDP caucus to breaching some provisions of the constitution.
Speaking further, Lawan noted that Abaribe had sent two letters notifying him of his defection and resignation, but did not read them.
He simply made a verbal announcement, saying “Abaribe has decamped from the PDP to APGA; the position of the minority leader is now vacant for the PDP to fill. We wish him success.”
Lawan, who announced that APGA was now represented in the Senate, with the former Minority leader now in that party, said Abaribe gave “good leadership” and “kept the majority party on its toes” and also supported the progress of the administration.
But shortly after Lawan’s announcement, the Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda, who raised a Point of Order – Order 42, said the section was asking for explanation on the circumstances upon which Abaribe left.
According to Aduda, he would go on to say it was a controversial one and that the former minority leader “did not consult the minority leadership caucus” before making a decision to decamp.
At this point, Aduda was however, interrupted by Lawan who said that the circumstance was not a controversial one.
Senator Sekibo, who was the next to raise a similar issue, said that the PDP caucus was initially not aware of his reasons for leaving and that “if the reason was division in his state party”, he was expected to come to the caucus for discussions and interventions.
But Lawan said that everyone was aware the moment Abaribe defected, adding that the senator’s decision to consult the caucus was his to make.
APC loses 2 senators to opposition party, PDP
Meanwhile, two prominent members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senate Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, and Adamu Aliero, have officially defected to Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
Also to defect formally tomorrow is the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, whose defection to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and exit as Minority Leader was deferred as a result of the inability of the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, to come with his defection and resignation letter to plenary.
Although an announcement to that effect was made by Senate president , it was, however, agreed that Abaribe’s letter be formally read on the floor before his exit as minority leader, after a point of order raised by Senator Gabriel Suswam.