The Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, has defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Bwacha, who represents Taraba Central in the Senate, made known his move when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa on Thursday.
The lawmaker was received by both the president and the Chairperson of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee(CECPC), Governor Mala Buni of Yobe State.
Presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad, confirmed the lawmaker’s defection on his official Facebook page.
“The Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the governing party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The president has welcomed him this afternoon in Abuja,” he wrote.
Mr Bwacha joins the likes of senators Stella Oduah, Elisha Abbo, Peter Nwabaoshi, Muhammed Hasaan to have joined the APC.
Others who left the PDP for the ruling party are Sahabi Ya’u (Zamfara North) and Lawali Anka (Zamfara West).
Section 68(1)g says that 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.
This means that any lawmaker who defects to another political party when the party on whose platform he was elected is not undergoing any form of crisis or is not part of a merger with two or more political parties shall vacate his seat.
The Supreme Court had in series of decisions given effect to the constitutional provision by ordering the removal of lawmakers who defected to other parties in violation of the provision.
However, the presiding officers have never implemented the court’s decisions.
At present, the PDP on whose platform Mr Bwacha was elected into the Senate is not divided and has not merged with another party.
With his defection to APC, the lawmaker will vacate his position as the deputy minority leader.
In the 8th Senate, when Godswill Akpabio crossed from the PDP to the APC, he resigned his position as the Senate deputy minority leader. Mr Akpabio, who is currently the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, is also a former governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Similarly, when he left the PDP for the APC, Mr Ya’u vacated his position as the Senate Deputy Minority Whip even though he still remains a lawaker on the floor of the Senate.
While he ceases to be the deputy minority leader, it is not clear if Mr Bwacha will vacate his seat as a lawmaker.