After 16 years of majority power in Nigeria’s two houses of parliament, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has finally lost the Senate to the now ruling party-elect, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The APC secured 60 seats out of 109, according to PREMIUM TIMES’ tally, based on results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
At Saturday’s National Assembly elections, the PDP swept through the South East, taking all 15 senatorial seats, and all but two of South South’s 18 seats.
If the PDP wins the Edo State’s South Senatorial district, which is yet undecided, the party will take 17 seats in the South South.
But the two big wins are a far cry from the party’s bleak national performance in the Senate.
Elsewhere – North Central, North West, North East and South West – the APC, whose presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, won Tuesday, took a sweeping lead.
In the South West, the APC won 13 out of 18 seats. The party lost Ekiti’s three seats to the PDP, and lost one seat apiece in Ondo and Ogun States.
In the North West, the PDP managed to secure a single seat in Kaduna, leaving the APC with the outstanding 20, the biggest regional win for the party.
In the North East, the PDP won all in Taraba and snatched a seat in Yobe. The APC took the remaining 13.
In the North Central, the PDP took Plateau, and picked one seat each from Benue and Nasarawa States.
The spread gives the APC the majority power with at least 60 seats, the first time the PDP has been edged out of federal legislative leadership since the end of military rule in 1999.
The closest the PDP came to losing its majority lead, was after a series of defections to the APC in the House of Representatives, between 2014 and 2015.
Results of Saturday’s elections also show that the APC has won the majority in the House, this time, not through defections.
With the APC’s win, the biggest political casualty in the Senate would be David Mark, who has spent eight years as president of the Senate.
After the National Assembly’s inauguration in June, Mr. Mark’s best bet will be the Minority Leader post.
The APC, on the other hand, will produce the President of the Senate, Deputy President, Majority Leader and Chief Whip.
Notwithstanding its lead, the APC currently lacks a two-third majority (73), needed for key decisions. The party will count on the PDP as it stands.