Members of the All Progressives Congress in the Senate and House of Representatives may defect en mass to the Peoples Democratic Party shortly before July 31.
Investigations showed that the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) split from the main APC, on Wednesday, was the first phase of the plot ahead of the mass defection.
It will be reminiscent of a similar mass defection by the new Peoples Democratic Party to the APC in the run-up to the 2015 polls in 2014.
Findings indicated that in spite of the belittling of the strength of the R-APC by the APC, many lawmakers were aggrieved and would leave the latter.
One senior source among the lawmakers told Punch that though he had chosen to stick with the APC for “personal reasons,” he was aware that many of his colleagues would spring a surprise soon.
Fighting with govs over 2019, power sharing cause of split
The source added, “A lot is happening but the whole truth is not being told by the APC. There is this impression that because the party has many supporters in the North-West, there is a guarantee for them.
“Members are not happy. Politics is about self interest. When governors collude with party officials to snatch the return tickets of members, you know they will seek survival elsewhere.
“Return ticket is the issue. In the APC, many of them have been told to forget 2019. If they will get it in PDP, then that is the aim of the planned mass defection. There are consultations across board and before the end of the month, they will make the defection come through.
“With the split, the R-APC has fulfilled the provision of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution. There are sufficient grounds to leave the APC today with the division created by the split.”
The section reads, “A member of the Senate or House of Representatives shall vacate his seat if “being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that house was elected – PROVIDED that his membership of the latter political is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member…”
It was learnt that as many as 80 Reps were on standby, in the first instance, to defect to join the alliance with the PDP.
The source added, “Take it or leave it, the APC can no longer beat its chest to say it has the loyalty of members in many states, particularly in the North-Central states, where herdsmen kill villagers at will, and with no action by the Federal Government.
“States like Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Taraba contributed in swinging the votes in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
“So, you are looking at an alliance between these states and the almost wholesale support for the PDP in the South-East and the South-South and you will get the picture.
“Even in the North-West, the APC will lose members in Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa and Gombe states. The situation is not different in the South-West, where the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, can no longer secure mass support like he did in 2015.”
Many senators, Reps have issues with APC —Atunwa
A member with strong affinity to R-APC, Mr. Razak Atunwa, disclosed to Punch that the faction had a robust action plan that it would unfold as time progressed.
Atunwa, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Justice, stated that people seemed to have a narrow understanding of the discord within the APC and preferred to reduce it to a few political office holders.
He claimed that there were “many senators, Reps, members of the state Houses of Assembly and more people across the country,” who had issues with the party.
“I will say that after the (illegal) national convention, things are beginning to unfold.
“It is a matter of time and the reality will dawn on everyone. There is a massive disagreement. This is not a joke,” Atunwa said.
Asked to put a figure to the lawmakers who might defect, Atunwa stated that it was unnecessary since time would address the question.
“There is no need because the numbers will make themselves available in a matter of time, shortly; very shortly,” he added.
No need for confirmation, we’re ready —Senator
Speaking with The Punch, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South), one of the lawmakers loyal to Senate President Bukola Saraki, insisted that those who were marginalised would be forced out of the APC .
Asked to confirm the comments by his House of Representatives counterpart that the mass defection would occur by the end of July in the National Assembly, Ibrahim said, “There is no need for you to try to confirm such a decision. There is no need. It is as simple as that.”