The gale of defection coming with the unfolding melodrama yesterday if its anything to go by has indeed given an edge to the opposition people’s Democratic party taking control of the upper chambers with having more of those that left the governing party into its fold. But the All Progressive Congress has said the “giant in them still remains” even as 15 lawmakers defected from its fold.
The party’s national publicity secretary Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, in a statement urged APC members to remain calm. He said that the party would continue to consolidate on its “majority status” in the build-up to next year’s elections.
“APC remains in firm control of 25 of the 36 states of the federation and maintains a clear majority in the federal House of Representatives and state assemblies,” he added.
While the plot to jump ship was already anticipated, an early morning blockade by security operatives at the residences of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu seemed to have hastened the action.
It is believed the barricade was part of a plan to checkmate the defection.
The police had on Monday invited Saraki for questioning over his alleged involvement in the April 5 Offa robbery incidents. But before this could happen, armed policemen took up positions, sealing off his street.
It was allegedly to prevent Saraki from going anywhere else except the police station.
The plan failed nevertheless, as Saraki mysteriously appeared at the chamber and presided over the decisive session. His deputy, barred by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services was not as lucky.
The senators who crossed to the PDP are: Barnabas Gemade (Benue), Dino Melaye (Kogi), Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara), Mohammed Shittu (Jigawa), Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo), Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi), Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna), Usman Nafada (Gombe), Adesoji Akanbi (Oyo), Ibrahim Dambaba (Sokoto), Isa Misau (Bauchi), Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara), Lanre Tejuoso (Ogun), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano) and Senator Abdul-Azeez Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
While 32 of the House of Representatives members mainly from Kano, Kwara, Kaduna, Kogi, Sokoto and Benue defected to the PDP, four others from Oyo State moved to the African Democratic Congress (ADC). One, Emmanuel Orkev-Jev, simply resigned his membership of the APC.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has vowed to forcibly arrest Senate President, Bukola Saraki, if he fails to honour its invitation over his alleged complicity in the Offa bank robbery.
The Police had invited Saraki for further questioning on the Offa bank robbery yesterday (Tuesday, July 24, 2018).
But the Senate President ignored the invitation and went to the National Assembly despite the blocking of his convoy by security operatives at his Abuja residence.
Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Jimoh Moshood, however, denied besieging Saraki’s residence as being alleged.
A statement yesterday by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris said: “The Senate President must honour Police invitation; otherwise the Force will not hesitate to use all the instruments of the law to ensure compliance with the law.”
“The Nigeria Police Force on July 23, 2018, invited President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bukola Saraki, to report to the head of investigation team at the Intelligence Response Team in Guzape junction, Asokoro Extension, Abuja on July 24, 2018, at 8am for further investigation.
“This is in continuation of his indictment from confessional statements of five gang leaders arrested for their participation in the Offa bank robbery and gruesome murder of over 31 persons and snatching of 21 AK47 rifles on April 5, 2018.
“But Saraki refused to honour Police invitation as at the time of this press release,” the statement further reads.
Jimoh maintained that the police personnel pictured in the media were those in the Senate President’s convoy and others attached to him.
“The Nigeria Police attention was also drawn to the innuendos in the early hours of yesterday that some policemen surrounded Saraki’s residence.
“The Force wishes to state that it did not authorise the deployment of police personnel to the residence of the Senate President or Ekwerenmadu as reported in the media.
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