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28 Jan 2019

Party With Highest Number In The Senate Has Finally Been Revealed

In spite of the many defections in the Senate,  the All Progressives Congress, APC is the still the majority party with the highest number of senators, beating the rival Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Both parties have in recent times been laying claims to having the majority of members in the red chamber.

However, an independent analysis by The PUNCH based on the gale of defections in the chamber late last year showed that the APC is still maintaining the lead with 56 senators, closely followed by the PDP with 46 members. Others are African Democratic Congress (3), Social Democratic Party (1), All Progressives Grand Alliance (1) and the Peoples Redemption Party (1).



It was gathered that many senators who defected had not notified the leadership of the senate in writing, hence the confusion.

The defection moves started when 14 senators dumped the APC and defected to the PDP July last year in the floor of the senate.
The Senators who defected were initially 14 but senator Nyako signed his defection shortly afterwards. The names of the senator who have defected to the PDP are as follows: Senators Dino Melaye; Tejuoso; Shaaba; Gemade; Shittu; Rafiu; Shitu Ubali; Isa Misau; Hunkuyi; Monsurat; Danbaba; Nafada; Nazif; Kwankwaso and Senator Azeez Murtala Nyako.

Their move was later followed by that of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki who also dumped the APC for the PDP same July.

Saraki while explaining his reasons for leaving APC in a statement he released on July 31, accused influential persons of the APC of intolerance and causing his exit.

“While I take full responsibility for this decision, I will like to emphasise that it is a decision that has been inescapably imposed on me by certain elements and forces within the APC who have ensured that the minimum conditions for peace, cooperation, inclusion and a general sense of belonging did not exist,” he said.

“However, what we have seen is a situation whereby every dissent from the legislature was framed as an affront on the executive or as part of an agenda to undermine the government itself. The populist notion of anti-corruption became a ready weapon for silencing any form of dissent and for framing even principled objection as “corruption fighting back”.

Persistent onslaught against the legislature and open incitement of the people against their own representatives became a default argument in defence of any short-coming of the government in a manner that betrays all too easily, a certain contempt for the Constitution itself or even the democracy that it is meant to serve.

“Unfortunately, the self-serving gulf that has been created between the leadership of the two critical arms of government based on distrust and mutual suspicion has made any form of constructive engagement impossible.

Therefore, anything short of a slavish surrender in a way that reduces the legislature to a mere rubber stamp would not have been sufficient in procuring the kind of rapprochement that was desired in the interest of all.

But I have no doubt in my mind, that to surrender this way is to be complicit in the subversion of the institution that remains the very bastion of our democracy. I am a democrat.

And I believe that anyone who lays even the most basic claim to being a democrat will not accept peace on those terms; which seeks to compromise the very basis of our existence as the parliament of the people,” the Senator also said.

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