The outcome of last month’s Peoples Democratic Party primary election across the country has further led to depletion in the membership strength of the party in the upper chamber. This week, additional nine members of the PDP have defected to the opposition parties.
The affected senators are Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi Central); Bassey Otu (Cross River South); Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East); Mohammed Magoro ( Kebbi South); Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman ( Kogi Central); Helen Esuene (Akwa Ibom); and Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom North East ). Others are Ahmed Zannah (Borno Central) and Saidu Alkali (Gombe North).
PUNCH Newspaper reports that Enang told journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that he would campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan but would work for the electoral victory of all candidates of his new party, the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming elections in Akwa Ibom State.
He said, “I am working for the APC to ensure that it wins governorship election down to any other position. I will only work for Jonathan for presidency.”
With the development, the membership of the PDP crashed to 64 in the red chamber which has a total number of 109 senators. The APC now has 41 members while other parties constitute the remaining five.
The defecting senators attributed their action to the aftermath of the PDP primary which they alleged was hijacked by the governors in collaboration with the national leadership of the party.
They dumped the PDP after being denied the party’s tickets to return to the Senate. The opposition parties had willingly accepted them and handed over the tickets to them.
Otu was denied the party’s ticket for a re-election in Cross River South which was given to Chief Geshom Bassey, the Chairman of the state Water Board.
Otu, however, settled down with the Labour Party where he had become the party’s candidate for the February 14 senatorial election for Cross River South.
Gemade lost the PDP ticket in his senatorial district to Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benue State and decided to join the APC, which had subsequently given him the ticket for the second term in the Senate.
Senator Mohammed Magoro representing Kebbi South on the platform of the PDP also joined his colleague, Senator Bagudu, of the APC.
Esuene, who was one of the aggrieved 22 governorship aspirants in Akwa Ibom State that rejected the outcome of the primary that handed the governorship party ticket to Emmanuel Udom, had also defected to the APC.
Abatemi-Usman, who lost the ticket to return on the platform of the PDP, has picked the ticket of the Progressive Peoples Party.