•Mass defection alters legislative equation
•Oshiomhole’s brinkmanship, too late -Shehu Sani
The ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), may have technically lost its majority status in the two chambers of the National Assembly, following last week’s implosion in the party. It had assumed the status of the majority party in the parliament after the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.
In the upper chamber of the National Assembly, the APC won a total of 64 Senate seats; the PDP, 45; and the Labour Party, one. Similarly, the APC won 214 seats as against the PDP which got 125 seats -a difference of 89 seats in favour of the ruling party.
These statistics had given the APC a clear political advantage in the parliament until the party split into factions, following the emergence of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), a coalition of the aggrieved members of the party.
However, with the latest developments, while the PDP maintained its moderate presence in the Red Chamber with 43 seats, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has two seats while the APC has been split down in the middle.
The numerical strength of the APC may have been depleted by almost half, given the fact that the implosion which occurred within its ranks was of a high magnitude and came in two waves.
The tsunami, it was learnt, has forced at least 30 senators elected on the platform of the APC into the newly formed R-APC, a special purpose vehicle on a political journey to the PDP. A source within the Senate told us that apart from a few staunch Buharists from the core North and South-West, the APC would have been completely depleted.
According to our source, a similar scenario played out in the House of Representatives where the bulk of those who represent the APC in the 360 – member Green Chamber were members of the New PDP (nPDP) and now subscribe to the R-APC train.
“As it stands now, the APC, as a party has lost its majority to the PDP because majority of them occupying APC seats are now members of the R-APC. These include members of the nPDP who had been at loggerheads with the mainstream APC and others who were originally APC but have been forced by circumstances to join forces with the nPDP in the exodus out of the ruling party,” our source said.
Although, the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, had dismissed the emergence of the splinter group as a non-issue, there are strong indications that the rebel group has already activated a programme that could deal a heavy blow on the ruling party at the next polls.
A member of the R-APC and serving member of the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Sen. Shehu Sani, said the desperate moves by Oshiomhole to halt the drift in the APC came rather too late.
Oshiomhole had launched a two-pronged peace shuttle to the National Assembly last week on what could be described as the last ditch effort to halt the implosion in the party. Though he met separately with the APC Caucuses in the two chambers on two different days, he and his delegation met a brick wall.
Sani said though the meeting at the Senate Wing witnessed frank and positive discussions, it would take only a magic wand to stop many lawmakers from leaving the ruling party.
“Well, the outcome was positive. He has good intentions and he has good ideas but he has come when the sickness has reached a cancerous level. Many legislators have made up their minds and they wish he had come earlier than now.
“But we are hopeful that in the next few days, if they have any magic wand to address the problems, then they can do it. But I can tell you that for now, many of the lawmakers have made up their minds about leaving the party. It was a product of years of persecution, marginalisation and contempt of people who worked hard to build the party,” Sani said.
Also, the Senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly introduced a comic dimension to the proposed defection to the PDP yesterday in a video titled: “Oh my home.” Wearing a white caftan with cap, the senator, in apparent displeasure over ill-treatment he suffered in the APC danced as he sang: “Oh my home, PDP, oh my home, When shall I see my home, When shall I see my PDP, I will never forget my home.”
Upon his bail in court a couple of months ago, the senator had crossed to the PDP section in the Upper Legislature, and abandoned the APC, the party on whose platform he was elected to office, and indication that his defection was only a matter of time.
The formation of the R-APC was only a prelude to the actual mass movement of lawmakers from the APC to other political parties and PDP appears to be the favourite destination of these defectors, given the fact that the former ruling party has the much needed spread, strength and wide acceptance across Nigeria.
•90 Senators, 27 Govs in talks with NIM, PDP SDP others
The opposition against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and by extension, President Muhammadu Buhari, has continued to swell, as parties and movements have vowed not to rest until they see the back of the ruling party in the next election.
One of them is the National Intervention Movement (NIM), which has continued to engage likeminds in talks in order to achieve its aim.
For this, the movement is talking with five major and 34 smaller parties. They include: PDP, SDP, ADC, ANN and the newly Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC).
A source familiar with goings on in the movement said that the number of Senators, both serving and former, have risen to 90 from the 80 reported recently. Two others have joined the initial 25 sitting and ex- governors, who are disenchanted with the current happenings in the polity. There are also 19 aspirants who have their eyes on Buhari’s job.
“The talks are going on about Alliance for a new Nigeria until a grand coalition is formed to be able to contest, where everybody can come together to sponsor a presidential candidate,” our source said.
Unlike before, the NIM, has soft-pedalled on its former position of taking a clean break from the past and presenting only fresh candidates, who have not been tainted, the movement has decided to make it an all-inclusive.
“All NIM is interested in is to form a credible grand coalition formidable enough to unseat the current political order. Anyone that is aggrieved with the current system is welcomed.
“We have the bad and the good. Some of them have apologised, shown remorse. Those who were going in a particular way before have decided to turn on a new leaf. We carefully recruit such into the grand alliance. The human society is not static but dynamic.”