Nigeria engulfed in political drama as Saraki evades police and defects to PDP with 15 others senators

NIGERIA is currently engulfed in a political drama as senate president Senator Bukola Saraki has just led 15 other members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after an altercation with the police.


This morning, the police cordoned off the road from Senator Saraki's house and that of his deputy Senator Ike Ekweremadu, seeking to prevent them from reaching the National Assembly. However, Senator Saraki got round the road block by getting out of his car and walking on foot.


After getting past the police, the senate president then drove himself into the National Assembly complex in a rickety private vehicle. Upon reaching the National Assembly, Senator Saraki announced the defection, stating that the affected senators would not continue to pursue their political careers under the ruling party.


Among the defecting senators are Dino Melaye, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Barnabas Gemade, Murtala Nyako, Ibrahim Danbaba, Muhammadu Shitu, Usman Nafada, Monsurat Sunmonu, Isah Misau, Sulaiman Nazif, Lanre Tejuosho, Rafiu Ibrahim, Mohammed Lafiagi and Suleiman Hunkuyi. During the sittng, Senator Saraki later announced that Senator Abdullazeez Nyaku has also informed him of his defection from APC to PDP and a full list is expected later with more defections expected.

However, senate leader, Ahmed Lawal opposed the defections, saying the action of the affected lawmakers should be quarantined while the letter they wrote should be stood down. Meanwhile, Senator Ekweremadu, who would have welcomed all the defectors into the PDP is reported to be under house arrest as the police are yet to clear the road from his Abuja home.


Apparently, Department of State Security Services officials, the police as well as men of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission have laid siege to Senator Ekweremadu's home. PDP publicity secretary Kola Ologbodiyan, said he wondered why the security operatives were after the lawmakers.


He tweeted: “Security operatives block deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu’s residence in Apo, Abuja. Senate President Bukola Saraki already invited by the police by 8am. Is this a democracy?”

Senator Saraki's spokesman Yusuph Olaniyonu, said: “The entry to Saraki’s house blocked by police and Ekweremadu’s house surrounded by State Security Services.


"The plan is to prevent the senate from sitting and therefore abort plan for mass defection. By their calculations, as many days as they delay the defection, so they can scare many of the proposed defectors and whittle down their numbers. Also, they believe many of the would be defectors will back down in the face of this intimidation.“

Political commentators are watching the development keenly as it is seen as a prelude to next February's presidential elections. Senator Saraki is expected to be a candidate and looks set to seek the PDP ticket, which if he wins, will lead to a face-off between himself and President Muhammadu Buhari who has declared himself a candidate for the APC ticket.