. Officially Announce Defection
The atmosphere at Tuesday’s plenary reached a dramatic point as the 11 Senators who decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party took turns to officially and openly make their intentions to join the All Progressives Congress known to the Senate President and the general public.
The senators made it known on the floor that their decision to declare their intentions openly was as a result of the refusal of the leadership of the Senate to read their letter of defection on the floor of the Senate.
Senator Bukola Saraki who spoke on behalf of the Senators read out their observations that weeks after submitting their letter, it has not been read. He said the defecting Senators were pained at this, but he was now notifying the senate president again. Senator Saraki quoted from Order 14(a) of the Senate which bordered on privileges.
Order 14(a) states that “Privileges are the rights enjoyed by the Senate collectively and the members of the Senate individually conferred by the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap 208 Laws of the Federation 1990 and other statutes, or by practice, precedent usage and custom while 14 (b) “Whenever a matter of privilege arises, it shall be taken up immediately.”
The senate president, David Bonaventure Mark however responded that the case is in court, hence it should not be a subject of discussion.
Saraki responded that “presently, under privilege, I have informed the Senate that I have defected from the PDP to the APC and the matter in court is not about defection but the declaration of my seat vacant.”
The Senators however made a move towards making their defection official as they took turns to announce that despite the senate leadership not reading their letters, they had defected from PDP to APC with each of them raising a point of order.
The Senate President would however not be caught unawares as he promptly ruled the Senators “out of order”, relying on the Senate Order 53(3).