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21 Nigerian Senators that may dump their parties and why

With the recent upheavals in Nigeria’s political space, some members of the Senate are expected to defect from their parties in the coming days.

Dino Melaye and Bukola Saraki

The speculation on the defection has been on for a long time but reached new heights on July 4 when a faction of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) announced the formation of a new party bloc, tagged Reformed APC, simply R-APC.

The group comprises mostly members of nPDP, and defunct CPC, ANPP and ACN.

A week later, the R-APC and 37 other parties signed a memorandum for a coalition that will ensure the defeat of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC come 2019.

Some senators were featured in this turn of events and several on–the-side consultations fueled the possibility of massive decamping.


Bukola Saraki

Since the breakaway from APC, Mr Saraki has not publicly announced whether he is part of the disgruntled R-APC or not. But many expect him to change party soon, especially as he has been seen holding meetings with PDP leaders and as some of his supporters have left APC.

Mr Saraki’s travails in the APC is connected to his long-standing cold war with the presidency which started right from his inauguration as Senate President. After his swearing-in, Mr Saraki was slammed with forgery, false assets declaration and sundry charges by the federal government. Though acquitted, many of Mr Saraki’s supporters believe he is being harasssed for standing his ground against the presidency.

Dino Melaye

The Kogi West Senator is not keeping silent his bias on defection. After returning to the Senate in June, Mr Melaye requested to sit in the opposition wing of the Senate chamber. He has been sitting there since then and was also spotted at the venue of MoU signing of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP). He also released a video where he claimed he missed his ‘home’, the PDP.

The unending political feud between Mr Melaye, and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello is a major factor forcing the lawmaker out of APC. Having survived a recall process which he believed was orchestrated by Mr Bello, Mr Melaye will likely make his defection back to PDP in coming days.

Shehu Sani

The Kaduna Central Senator has hinted of his imminent defection in interviews and social media posts in recent times. Mr Sani would want out of APC primarily because of his feud with Governor Nasir El-Rufai.

The crisis dates back to 2015 when, after the elections, Mr El-Rufai made some appointments from the party, APC, in a manner perceived as unconstitutional by Mr Sani and others.

Mr Sani has not been silent all along, criticising most of the policies of the state government and the governor’s party activities he perceived as wrong. When he was suspended from the party in 2017, he accused the governor of masterminding his ordeal, describing him as a ‘parasite to PMB administration’.

His last words on defection was that he was still making consultations.

Suleiman Hunkuyi

Like Mr Sani, the Kaduna North Senator may leave APC because of his feud with Mr El-Rufai.

The genesis of their disagreement is difficult to trace given the fact that Mr Hunkuyi’s younger brother was appointed as commissioner and his elder, Idris Othman, was for many years a close associate of the governor.

Although his has not been as rough as the feud between him and Shehu Sani, all indications point that there is no love lost between him and the governor. Just recently, as in many other occasions, Mr Hunkuyi vowed to “do everything possible” to vote Mr El-Rufai out in 2019 governorship election in the state.


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