PDP Losing Grip of Majority in the National Assembly As More Senators, Reps Joins New PDP
By yesterday, four more senators and 102 members of the House of Representatives have joined the fray to back the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led faction which unveiled what it called the “new PDP”. Also, 57 out of the 102 House members have already signed up, supporting the splinter PDP.
With the four new entrants, the number of senators has increased to 26; 22 senators had on Monday signed up to back the Baraje faction. But the identities of the four senators have been kept secret: a source said those concerned would address a press conference themselves to disclose their identities within the week.
A senator from one of the south-south states who has been having it rough is said to be coordinating the new drive.
The source said in confidence that mobilization for the new group was expected to reach a high point before the end of the week, but added that the outcome of the elders’ meeting called by former president Olusegun Obasanjo would, to a large extent, determine the next line of action of the lawmakers.
Said he: “As I talk to you this evening, not less than 102 of us in the House of Representatives have agreed to back the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led PDP; it is not a faction; that is the main PDP, so that we can together stamp out the impunity Alhaji Bamanga Tukur has instituted in the PDP.
“Even in the Senate, we learnt that four new senior lawmakers have indicated intention to join their colleagues who took the bold step to openly back Baraje and our respected governors and several leaders who have volunteered to rescue the party.
“It is not as if we want to defect to the opposition party but, from all indications, the leadership of the Tukur-led PDP has turned our party to a private property and that is why we will insist he leaves; in fact, whatever he did on Saturday at the convention, to some us, was illegal, null and void; that is why we are calling for a fresh convention so that all stakeholders will have a voice and not imposition as was witnessed on Saturday.”
The 57 House members, including the chairman of the House Committee on Information, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, said there were more members who could not sign the paper before it was released.
The 57 lawmakers also warned against the danger of using the anti-graft agencies to harass them, saying that they are ready to confront the impunity within the PDP.
The speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, and the other principal officers are currently in South Africa and could not be reached for comment at press time. But most of them are believed to be sympathetic to the cause of the new PDP.
If the threat to back the Baraje-led PDP comes on stream untamed, the ruling party will be inches away from minority status.
For instance, in the Senate before the crisis, PDP had 74 senators as against the opposition All Progressives Congress’ 29; Labour Party has 4 while APGA also has 1. But with the current development whereby 26 of the PDP’s 74 appear to have taken a position, the party’s number has depleted to 48.
Also, barring any stop to further inter-party consultations that are currently ongoing, the 48 PDP senators would be relegated to a minority status as an alliance between the APC’s 29 and the new PDP’s 26 would form a comfortable lead of 55 against the PDP’s 48.
The situation in the Hosue of Representatives is no different as the pre-new PDP membership of 205 has depleted to 103 with the recognition of the Baraje-led PDP by 102 lawmakers. This is just as an alliance between the APC’s 135 and the new PDP’s 102 throws up an overwhelming 237 against the PDP’s 103.
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