APC, PDP lose more senators – Premium Times

Senators Francis Onyewuchi and Haliru Jika
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has lost another senator to an opposition party.
The latest defection is by Haliru Jika who represents Bauchi Central senatorial district. He has joined the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
His official announcement was contained in a letter addressed to and read out by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, at the start of plenary on Wednesday.
He, however, gave no reason for leaving.
“I hereby wish to notify you of my defection from the APC to the NNPP whose ideals is in line with my political aspirations,” he simply said in his letter.
No lawmaker protested Mr Jika’s defection which had, before the official announcement, taken place two days ago.
In recent past, lawmakers of a party would complain of their colleagues defection and accuse them of breaching the law. They would cite Section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution.
The Section says a member of Senate or House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member “if being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by another political party he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.
“Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”
In a separate letter read out by Mr Lawan, Imo senator, Francis Onyewuchi, notified the Senate of his decision to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Labour Party.
Mr Onyewuchi reportedly joined the party in Imo State on Tuesday and has since emerged candidate for the Imo East senatorial poll.
Like Mr Jika, he gave no reason for his defection.
“This is after due consultation with my family, constituents and supporters. This will enable me participate fully in the movement for a new Nigeria,” he said.
These defections come barely 24 hours after the Senate President announced the defections of three senators – Francis Alimekhena (Edo North) and Babba Kaita (APC, Katsina North) who defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Lawal Gumau (Bauchi South) who left the APC to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Although the lawmakers had defected weeks ago, their letters were read out at the start of plenary on Wednesday.
The latest defections also come about a week after Mr Lawan read out similar defection letters from the former Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi and Adamu Aliero – both from Kebbi State.
The duo had cited crisis in the party as their reasons for leaving, but also accused the state governor, Atiku Bagudu, of frustrating the efforts of party members in the state.


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QueenEsther Iroanusi covers the National Assembly for PREMIUM TIMES. She is a 2018 Female Reporters Leadership Programme fellow of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism. She has a degree in French. She can be reached on Twitter @QueenExtha



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