Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara are delaying their defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to guard their positions and make a big impact when they quit the ruling party, sources told Daily Trust last night.
Some henchmen of Saraki and Dogara defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP yesterday.
Senators that joined the PDP are: Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara); Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara); Bayero Nafada (Gombe); Ubale Shittu (Jigawa); Dino Melaye (Kogi); Abdullahi Danbaba (Sokoto); Isa Hamma Misau (Bauchi); Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi); Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna); Barnabas Gemade (Benue) and Lanre Tejuoso (Ogun). Monsurat Sumonu (Oyo) and Abdulaziz Nyako (Adamawa) opted for the ADC.
With this, the APC has slim majority with 53 senators, while the PDP has 50. ADC and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) have two senators each, bringing the total to 107 senators. Two seat are vacant in Bauchi and Katsina states following the demise of Senators Ali Wakili and Mustapha Bukar respectively.
One of the senators initially listed among defectors to PDP, Adesoji Rilwan Akanbi (Oyo State), later told journalists that he remains a bonafide member of the APC.
In the House of Representatives, 37 lawmakers of the APC left the party, with 32 joining the PDP, and four from Oyo State joining the ADC.
Some of the 32 defectors to the PDP included Ahmed Rufai Chanchangi (Kaduna), Razak Atunwa (Kwara), Aliyu Sani Madaki (Kano), Hassan Saleh (Benue), Mark Gbillah (Benue), Aliyu Hamman Pategi (Kwara), Aminu Shagari (Sokoto), Abdussamad Dasuki (Sokoto), Emmanuel Oker-Jev (Benue), Nasiru Sule Garo (Kano).
Others were Zakari Mohammed (Kwara), Hassan Omale (Benue), Funke Adedoyin (Kwara), Tope Olayuonu (Kwara), Dickson Takghir (Benue), Bode Ayorinde (Ondo), among others.
The four lawmakers who defected to the ADC were Taiwo Akintola (Oyo), Olufemi Samson (Oyo), Sunday Adepoju (Oyo) and Wole Olasupo (Oyo).
In the House of Reps now, the composition of the Green Chamber stands at APC, 192; PDP, 156; APGA, 5; ADC, 4; Accord, 1; SDP, 1; and a vacant seat over a deceased member.
Meanwhile, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila told journalists that the defected members were in desperate search for tickets for the 2019 general election.
Saraki, Dogara ‘bidding time’
All the lawmakers from Kwara State and a few loyalists to Dogara from Bauchi State have joined the PDP, the two leaders are delaying their defection to create a bigger impact.
One of the sources said, “For now, Saraki and Dogara are closely watching how the events of yesterday would be responded to by the Presidency, other power brokers and Nigerians. However, I want to assure you that many PDP legislators would defect to APC soon.
“But one thing is certain, the two principal officers are already out of the APC, I can assure you that in the coming days, they would move to the PDP alongside some governors, more senators and Rep members just the way we would receive some, so it is not yet over,” he said.
He said for now, it is certain that Governors Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Samuel Ortom (Benue) would defect to the PDP but expressed doubts on where Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) stands.
According to him, “If you remember, some APC governors led by Abdulaziz Yari and Kashim Shettima had met with Tambuwal in Sokoto. They actually cautioned him against moving to the PDP because he would not get what he wants, which is the presidential ticket; I think he agreed.”
Another source said there is a marked difference between the defections of nPDP in 2015 and what happened yesterday.
“All those that defected yesterday were much stronger and influential politically in 2015. With the exception of Saraki, many of them have lost out in their states,” he said.
A source in PDP told Daily Trust in a telephone interview that Saraki and Dogara will leave very soon.
“It won’t be long at all. Saraki and Dogara are principal officers in the National Assembly so they don’t want to rock the boat yet. The two officers are like shepherd. They can’t stay behind when the flock is gone. So the defection is going to be holistic; they are already half-way into the PDP, there is no two ways about it,” he said.