From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
The lingering defection drama in the Senate took a different dimension yesterday as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators took the fight to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with a request to Senate President David Mark to declare five seats vacant in the chamber.
On Tuesday, senators Bukola Saraki, Danjuma Goje, Abdullahi Adamu, Magnus Abe, Aisha Jummai AlHassan and Wilson Asinobi Ake informed Mark of their movement to the APC. These were the five senators, out of the 11, who, through Order 14 of the Senate Standing Rules (2011, as amended), openly pronounced their defection on Tuesday from PDP to APC on the floor of the Senate. Mark promptly ruled them out of order and declared that the information was null and void and of no consequence in the chamber.
Tuesday’s plenary was characterized by nine Points of Order, a first in the chamber, which succeeded in disturbing a smooth flow of legislative business on the day.
On the same day,after plenary, at about 8pm, the PDP Senate caucus met in the home of Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) to strategise on how to counter the offensive from their APC colleagues. They were expected to meet again at the Apo mansion residence of the Senate President.
But by the morning of yesterday, the tables, however, turned when, rather than wait for APC senators to disrupt the day’s proceedings with another set of Points of Order, PDP senators went on the offensive.
Senators Ita Enang and George Thompson Sekibo pleaded passionately with the Senate President, through orders from the Senate Standing Orders and the 1999 Constitution, to immediately declare the seats vacant.
At a point, Enang referred to the five senators as “strangers” in the chamber.
First off the firing block was the chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Enang, who quoted copiously from Order 14 of the Senate Standing orders and Section 68, subsection 1(g) as well as 109 (g) urging Mark to declare the seats vacant.
This agitation was favourably received by his PDP colleagues who started chanting loudly ‘now! now!! now!!!’ insisting that immediate action be taken to bring weeks of intrigues to an end.
Enang further argued that Section 68, subsection 1(g) as well as 109 (g) makes it offensive for a lawmaker to leave the party that sponsored him in an election without crises or faction in the party.