APC faces the risk of losing its senate majority as over 20 senators plan to defect to other parties

NIGERIA'S ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is facing the threat of losing its parliamentary majority in the upper chamber of the National Assembly after about 20 of its senators have announced plans to defect to other parties.


Next year, Nigeria goes to the polls and as is the custom when elections looms, politicians start switching parties if they fear their re-election is under threat. Over the course of the current National Assembly, the APC has lost 13 senators to other parties since 2019 and it is believed that a further 290 will leave for the defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).


Most of those planning to defect are aggrieved for losing their return tickets to the National Assembly during the party primaries, while a few others fear they may lose standing as APC candidates. APC leaders are now said to be worried that if the rate of defections continued and the opposition PDP gained more members, the ruling party might lose its majority status in the senate.


During yesterday's plenary, Senator Dauda Jika representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, announced his defection to the NNPP, bringing the number of APC senators to 67. Currently, the five minority parties in the upper chamber have 43 senators with the PDP boasting of 39 senators, while the Young Peoples Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Labour Party and the New Nigeria People’s Party have four senators between them.


To stem the gale of defections, the APC chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu, met with the party's senators behind closed doors at the National Assembly complex yesterday. He said that the party was worried by the wave of the defections among the APC senators despite the fact that it was a usual occurrence during election periods.


Senator Adamu said:  “The meeting with the senators was most fruitful. The issue of defection is an unfortunate development when it happens but this is a season where there are all sorts of behaviour in the political space and ours is not an exception.


“In every election year, this kind of thing gives cause for stakeholders to sneeze and Nigeria is not an exception so is the APC, not an exception. I don’t care about what is happening in other parties, my focus is on the APC but because we are the ruling party, our problems are exaggerated before the public.”


He also said he did not know if the problem of defection would persist in the party but he had met with his colleagues and believed the issue was surmountable. Apparently, Senator Adamu told senators that the party would look into the issues raised and do something about it as it was a dangerous time for lawmakers to defect because it was the election year.


Over the last week since the resumption of the plenary, no less than six senators have sent their defection letters to the senate president. They include the majority leader Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, representing Kebbi North senatorial district, who defected to the PDP.