The PDP is now minority in the House of Representatives
In a historic move, 37 members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday announced a long-awaited defection from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressive Congress, APC, thrusting the APC into the lead as the majority party in a House divided for months by PDP’s internal conflicts.
With the move, the APC leads the House with 175 members ahead of PDP’s 171. The remaining seats are shared by Labour Party, Democratic Peoples Party, All Progressive Grand Alliance and Accord Party.
It is the first time the PDP, in its 14 years of existence, would lose the majority number in any arm of the National Assembly.
Members of the PDP say the APC could only take charge of the House if its members hit 181, basing their argument on the rule that requires a simple majority to take over leadership.
They argue that for a 360-member house, such majority will be above the half mark-180.
The opposition members have rejected that interpretation, which they say fails to take into consideration that the house comprises of other parties, not only PDP and APC.
Early Wednesday, names of the defecting lawmakers were read out by the speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, after which they later took turns for a hand shake with Mr. Tambuwal.
The defection came more than a week after five state governors defected from the PDP to the opposition coalition, APC; after months of failed attempts at reconciling with the presidency and the leadership of the party.
Governors who defected are Chibuike Amaechi, Rivers; Aliyu Wammako, Sokoto; Murtala Nyako, Adamawa; Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara; and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano.
Defecting lawmakers are known supporters of the governors, and their decision on Wednesday apparently to conform to their principals’, save for members from Adamawa state.
Eleven of the defectors are lawmakers from Kano state, 10 are from Sokoto state, 8 from Rivers state, 6 from Kwara state. One member apiece from Katsina and Bauchi also moved to the APC.
The spokesperson of the House, Zakari Mohammed, was among those who defected.
The lawmakers said they took the decision as a result of the divisions in PDP, troubled by months of internal conflict between seven governors, the leadership of the party and the presidency.
“This action is as a result of the division/faction in the political party that sponsored our election into the House of Representatives,” they said in a letter read by the speaker.
Ahead of the defection, the lawmakers secured a court order stopping the PDP from declaring their seats vacant. Twenty two Senators were joined in the suit, meaning at least that number will be announcing their defection.
List of members who decamped:
Abdulahi Balarabe (Sokoto), Abudulmumin Jibrin (Kano), Ali Ahmad (PDP, Kwara), Abudulahi Wamako (Sokoto), Aliyu Pategi (Kwara), Ahmed Zerewa, Aishatu Ahmed (Adamawa), Aiyedun Olayinka (Kwara), Alhassan Garba (Kano), Aliyu Madaki (Kano), Aliyu Shehu (Sokoto) and Aminu Shagari (Sokoto).
Others include Aminu Suleiman (Kano), Aminu Tukur (Adamawa), Andrew Uchendu (Rivers), Asita Honourable (Rivers), Bashir Babale (Kano), Blessing Usiegbe (Rivers), Dakuku Peterside (Rivers), Dawari George (Rivers), Gibson Nathaniel (Adamawa), Gogo Bright Tamuno (Rivers), Isa Bashir (Sokoto), Kabiru Achida (Sokoto), and Maurice Pronen (Rivers).
Also in the group are Sabo Mohammed, Mpigi Barinada (Rivers), Mukhtari Muhammad, Musa Ado (Kano), Musa Sarkin-Adar (Sokoto), Mustapha Dawaki (Kano), Mustapha Mashood (Kwara), Ogbonna Nwuke (Rivers), Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara), Sa’ad Nabunkari (Sokoto), Sani Aliyu (Kano), Shuaibu Gobir (Sokoto), Sokonte Davies (Rivers), Umar Bature (Sokoto), Yusuph Dunari Sule (Jigawa), and Zakari Mohammed (Kwara).
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