Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has suffered a setback with the defection of 15 senators to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In a letter to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, signed by the 15 senators, they indicate their intention to leave the ruling for PDP.
The number of PDP senators has thus risen to 64, giving the party a clear majority.
The defectors do not need to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, was also reportedly set to join PDP.
“Dear Senate President, after due consultation with our constituents and stakeholders in our constituencies, in proper recognition of section 68(1G) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and with the fact our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is hereby emerging factions.
“We hereby inform the Senate that we the undersigned are changing our political affiliation from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We thank you for your exemplary leadership,” the letter reads.
Speaking after the defection, Dr Saraki who expressed displeasure at the siege on his residence and those of other lawmakers, said that it was uncalled for.
“People have the freedom of association. I have been sitting down here and more than 15 senators have decamped or defected to one party or the other. There was no siege on their residence,” he said.
Dr Saraki and his deputy, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, were early on Tuesday held-up by the police at their respective homes.
The senate president had earlier been invited by the police over his alleged connection with April 5, Offa robbery in Kwara state, where 31 people died.
Dr Saraki’s media adviser, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the house of his principal had been blocked by the police.
Mr Olaniyonu, in a WhatsApp post, also said the house of Mr Ekweremadu too had been surrounded by the Directorate of State Service (DSS) officers.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) publicity secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, corroborated the unusual security presence at Mr Ekweremadu’s house.
Dr Saraki was on Monday invited by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to report at 8am Tuesday at Guzape Police station to give a further statement on the Kwara State robberies.
Some of the suspects arrested claimed Dr Saraki gave them money and guns as members of a group used by the politician to cow opponents.
Nsanzimana Ernest ni Umwanditsi w’Ikinyamakuru Umuryango. Afite Impamyabumenyi y’Icyiciro cya Kabiri cya Kaminuza (A0) mu Itangazamakuru n’Itumanaho yakuye muri Kaminuza y’u Rwanda Ishuri ry’ itangazamakuru n’ itumanaho