*Defection a consequence of PDP crisis in Ondo State
*Akpabio’s effort to get Senator vacate seat fails as Melaye says wide ‘gulf’ exists in PDP
* PDP Senators walking out on session not new, Findings
*Plan siddon look in matters affecting Saraki
*Threatening withdrawal of support for Saraki by PDP Senators amounts to nothing – Source
By Kemi Kasumu
A Senator elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Yele Omogunwa (Ondo South) has formally defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Announcing the defection at plenary, Wednesday morning, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who read the notification letter, said Omogunwa’s decision was in reflection of the recent developments in Ondo State.
With the lawmaker’s change of party, all the three Senators from Ondo are now members of the APC.
Meanwhile, there was an uproar on the floor of the Senate as some APC Senators were seen jubilating over the Ondo Senator’s defection while PDP Senators were clearly heard shouting, “Go, go, go” to Omogunwa, resulting into momentary rowdy session. That happened when Saraki was reading the defection letter.
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, however raised a Point of Order to protest Omogunwa’s defection to APC premising his protest on what he described as defection without a cogent reason, urging the Senate President to declare his seat vacant.
But Akpabio was ruled out of order by Saraki, who also cited another relevant section of the Senate Standing Orders.
Senator Dino Melaye raised another constitutional point of order, insisting that the PDP was not only factionalised but that there was a wide “gulf” in the opposition party.
Consequently, PDP Senators staged a walkout.
Following the pull out of PDP Senators from the chambers, almost all the bills slated for discussion in the order paper were stood down because they were sponsored by PDP Senators, even as the PDP senators never returned to the chambers after their meeting in Hearing Room One.
Briefing journalists after the walk out, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, vowed that PDP as a party would ensure that it retrieved the stolen senatorial seat from Omogunwa through the courts because there was no division within the party leadership now.
He said: “At the appropriate time, I believe that, working with the caucus, we will work with the national leadership of our party to take a correct legal pronouncement and ensure that the seat is declared vacant.”
Meanwhile, the PDP Senators, Wednesday, resolved to weigh their continued support for Saraki, just as they said they had always stood behind him, but that he was not there for them when they needed him, saying they had agreed to maintain a siddon look approach to matters affecting him.
A source close to the Senate however dismissed that whatever that was being plotted would not work as, according to him, even when the PDP Senators were actively in support of Saraki like they claimed, “it never added any value to the legislative system and the nation as a whole.”
He saw the new development as beginning of new thing to come to Nigeria as he said, “Now, the APC Senators would now be able to free themselves from the influence of PDP and stand up to the responsibility of legislative business placed before them by the Nigerian people,” he said, adding that the new development was going to be a plus to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as he would now be at home with party’s Senators for the real business of change.
PDP Senators walking out on session not new, Findings
Wednesday was not the first time PDP Senators would stage a work out while Senate session was ongoing, The DEFENDER’s checks revealed.
It would be recalled that when their effort failed on Thursday October 29, 2015 to stop the Senate from clearing and confirming the President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of former Governor of Rivers State and now Minister of Transport, Rt. Honourable Rotimi Amaechi, the PDP Senators led by Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is Senate Minority Leader.
In their absence at that time, however, Amaechi was unanimously confirmed after the Senate had summarily dismissed the report of its Committee on Ethics and Privileges headed by another PDP Senator and which had recommended that the nomination of Amaechi be put on hold.