Why Dino Melaye, Gemade, 12 other Senators dumped APC

Dino Melaye
Dino Melaye

For the first time since the inauguration of the eighth assembly, over a dozen senators switched allegiance at once Tuesday.

After weeks of speculations, 14 senators of the All Progressives Congress dumped their party. Twelve went to PDP and two to the ADC.

Here are the senators who moved and the likely reasons they defected.

  1. Dino Melaye

For many weeks now, it was almost certain the Kogi West senator will switch party allegiance to PDP. He was first on the list of names read by senate president, Bukola Saraki.

The unending political feud between Mr Melaye, and Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, and his acclaimed victimisation by the federal government, are major factors that pushed the lawmaker out of APC. Having survived a recall process which he believed was orchestrated by Mr Bello, Mr Melaye had been poised to join the PDP.

  1. Barnabas Gemade

The return of Mr Gemade to the PDP was almost imminent having wined and dined with the party for long. In the first national convention of the PDP after the April 1999 general elections, Mr Gemade, a former minister of works, was elected national chairman. He contested the party presidential primaries in 2003 and remained with the party until 2014 when APC was formed.


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His defection may not be unconnected to 2019 calculation.

  1. Ibrahim Danbaba

The relationship between the senator and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State accounts for his defection. Prior to becoming a senator, he was in the public service and was the deputy governor of Sokoto State from 1999 to 2003.

  1. Shaaba Lafiaji

Though without any known confrontations, Mr Lafiagi is believed to have defected due to his loyalty to Mr Saraki. He was a protégé of Olusola Saraki, Senate leader during the second republic, who helped him emerge as governor of Kwara State in January 1992 on the Social Democratic Party platform, and was removed from office by the administration of Sani Abacha in November 1993. Mr Lafiagi became a member of the Board of Trustees of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

In April 2011, he was elected senator representing Kwara north senatorial district and re-contested for same position in 2015.

  1. Mohammed Shitu

The senator first hinted at his defection two months when he said he would dump the ruling APC if it fails to put its house to order. Beyond this, his ambition to become the next governor of Jigawa State has created an enmity with Governor Abubakar Badaru.

His defection, obviously, is to make real his intention.

  1. Rafiu Ibrahim

Mr Ibrahim’s Defection also could be explained on his relationship and loyalty to Mr Saraki. He was a member of Kwara State House of Assembly between 2009 and 2011. He contested and won the senatorial seat in 2015.


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  1. Suleiman Hunkuyi

His sour relationship with Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, accounts for his defection. The genesis of their disagreement is difficult to trace given the fact that Mr Hunkuyi’s younger brother was appointed commissioner and his elder, Idris Othman, was for many years a close associate of the governor.

Just recently, as in many other occasions, Mr Hunkuyi vowed to “do everything possible” to vote Mr El-Rufai out in 2019 governorship election in the state.

In February, the Kaduna State Government demolished a building belonging to a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. Mr Hunkuyi, a leader of ‘Restoration APC,’ alleged that the demolition was masterminded by the state.

  1. Isa Misau

Mr Misau has not hidden his displeasure towards the government of President Muhammadu Buhari especially in his comments on the Nigeria police and its leadership.

In January, Mr Misau said the Buhari administration was populated with incompetent people who have now taken over the reins, with some of them acting as though they are above the president. His open confrontation with the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, whom he accused of corruption and incompetence also pitched him against the presidency.

Mr Misau also questioned Mr Buhari’s anti-corruption war citing the example of Babachir Lawal, the former SGF who was accused of embezzling funds meant for IDPs and still walking scot-free, including being a frequent visitor to the presidential villa.

Mr Misau is not in good terms with the Bauchi State’s governor, Mohammed Abubakar, over his ambition to return to the senate.

  1. Monsurat Sunmonu

At first, she was announced to have defected to the PDP. She later cleared the air that her allegiance switch was to the African Democratic Congress (ADC). A former speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, her reason for defecting may not be unconnected to the last series of APC congresses.

  1. Usman Nafada

Usman Bayero Nafada, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives was not in good terms with Gombe APC excos. He was a member of the PDP until 2015. His ambition to become governor of the state has courted him many enemies, including the state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo.

His decision to defect appears to be a step to realise this ambition.

  1. Musa Kwankwaso

In the past months, it was obvious the former Kano State governor will make official his return to PDP soon. He wants to be president and his defection is also connected his feud with the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

Early July, he boasted of his ability to defeat President Buhari if fielded by PDP.

  1. Suleiman Nazif

Mr Nazif was a contender for the office of the governor of Bauchi State in the April 2011 elections, running on the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) platform. He came fourth with 102,093 votes, losing to the incumbent Governor Isa Yuguda, who won 771,503 votes.

His political calculations ahead of the 2019 accounts for his defection.

  1. Lanre Tejuosho

The contention for the Ogun Central APC ticket in 2019 forced Mr Tejuosho out of the party. His relationship with Governor Ibikunle Amosun went sour because of the governor’s ambition to return to the senate after his second term as the state chief executive thereby denying the lawmaker of return ticket for Ogun Central.

  1. Abdulaziz Nyako

He is the son of the immediate past governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako. Mr Nyako announced his defection a few days before the announcement at the senate. His feud with Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla of Adamawa State seems to account for his defection. He belonged to a different faction of the APC which organised a parallel congresses in the state.

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