Senate in disarray over defections, resignations of principal officers

Tunde Joshua, Abuja

  • Majority, Minority Leaders involved
  • PDP’s position vacant, says Lawan

The Senate Chamber has been thrown into disarray as two major principal officers, the majority leader, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya and minority leader, Sen.Enyinnaya Abaribe, have resigned their parliamentary positions having defected from the parties that gave them positions in the upper legislative chamber.

Another senator and former Kebbi State governor, Adamu Aliero, also defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Senate President Lawan started by informing the chamber of Abaribe’s resignation and defection.

Praising Abaribe, Lawan said the former minority leader gave considerable leadership in the opposition and he was greatly appreciated for his contribution to the unity in the 9th Senate.

The Senate President thanked Abaribe on behalf the Senate for his qualitative leadership and wished him good luck in his new party, the APGA.

Speaking, the Minority Whip and Senator representing Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Phillip Aduda said Abaribe did not discuss his decision to leave PDP with its caucus.

But he was punctured by Lawan who said Aduda did not discuss the issue with him as required by the Order 42 which the former cited in his intervention.

Sen. George Sekibo said until minutes ago, Abaribe was still the leader of the opposition but he ought to have met and discussed officially his defection with members of the minority caucus.

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Sekibo said Abaribe was also supposed to have submitted some letters to that effect.

Sen. Gabriel Suswam said Lawan should have read the letter before making such pronouncement on the floor of the Senate. He said this is necessary for posterity sake.

He was cut short by Lawan who said Abaribe left the PDP about two weeks ago and transmitted a letter to him. He, therefore, admitted that the fault was on his part , saying he ought to have read the letter.

Lawan then promised to read the letter the following legislative day (Wednesday).

However, Lawan read the defection letter written by Aliero who blamed his defection to absence of democratic processes in Kebbi State APC chapter. He alleged the high-handedness of Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu.

He thereafter, read a letter by Abdullahi Yahaya notifying the Senate of his resignation of his position as Majority Leader, having defected from APC to the PDP.

Yahaya appreciated his colleagues in the Senate and APC for good relationship that existed while his tenure lasted.

Lawan said every member irrespective of party leanings will never forget the unifying leadership quality in the past three years. He praised Yahaya’s sense of patriotism who always took national issues on the floor of the Senate with great passion.

The Senate President expressed a personal sense of loss from Yahaya’s departure to PDP. He urged him to keep the personal relationship built since 2003 intact.

Attempt by both senators Betty Afiapi and Sabi Abdulkahi to further dwell on the defection issue was overruled by Lawan.

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