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Friday, 27 July 2018

MATTERS ARISING: Lawan says APC has 52 senators – why did only 39 visit Buhari?

MATTERS ARISING: Lawan says APC has 52 senators – why did only 39 visit Buhari?

On Tuesday, a controversy arose as to which party had the majority in the senate. This followed the mass defection of lawmakers from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Fourteen senators and 32 members of the house of representatives dumped the ruling party for the PDP in a dramatic twist of events. Dismissing reports that the PDP had taken over the upper legislative chamber, Ahmad Lawan, majority leader, said despite the defection, the APC was still in control of the senate.

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According to Lawan, the APC has 52 lawmakers while the PDP has 50 lawmakers in the red chamber.

While this may be true, the majority stance of the APC is fickle as the party may lose more members.

39 OF 52 SENATORS VISITED BUHARI… WHAT ABOUT OTHERS?

After the wave of defection that swept through the ruling party, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday invited the “remaining” APC senators to Aso Rock for what was described as part of the president’s “engagement with critical stakeholders to build synergy and consensus on national issues”.

But of the 52 senators said to be in the APC, only 39 attended the meeting.

Joshua Dariye was unavoidably absent as the Plateau central senator is currently serving a 16-year jail sentence for “diverting N1.126bn from the state’s government’s ecological funds” when he was governor.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and 13 others were absent for reasons unknown. While Saraki’s absence can be attributed to his ill relationship with the APC leadership and the federal government, what could have kept the other senators away from a meeting as important as solidarity with Buhari.

The president needed that visit more than ever at that moment, why were those lawmakers absent? Could their absence be attributed to a point Reno Omokri, spokesman to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, raised while reacting to the meeting of Buhari with the legislators.

“Let me assure President @MBuhari that many of the Senators that met with him yesterday and pledged loyalty to him are only fooling him. We are strategists in the @OfficialPDPNig, not fools. Some of our loyalists will remain behind to destroy that useless contraption from within!” Omokri wrote on Twitter.

Reno Omokri

@renoomokri
 Let me assure President @MBuhari that many of the Senators that met with him yesterday and pledged loyalty to him are only fooling him. We are strategists in the @OfficialPDPNig, not fools. Some of our loyalists will remain behind to destroy that useless contraption from within!

MATTERS ARISING: Lawan says APC has 52 senators – why did only 39 visit Buhari?

SARAKI, SHEHU SANI MAY SOON DEFECT

Saraki, who has been having a running battle with the federal government, told Reuters that his chances of leaving the APC are very high. Although Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna cental, was at the meeting, he made it clear that the grievances with the party are still there.

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Reacting to rumours that he had defected from the APC, Sani said consultations are still underway.

“I am yet to defect or decamp or migrate from the APC to any other party. However, discussions and consultations are ongoing as regard to our future in the party. Decision will be taken in a matter of (one) week or two whether to remain in the party or migrate,” Sani had said.

Given the dynamics of the possibility of defections from the APC, the party needs to do all within its powers to maintain the majority in the upper legislative chamber.

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