The recent mass defection of some senators from the All Progressives Congress (APC) which saw Senate president Bukola Saraki, Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and others switch allegiance to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has thrown up a big question: Which party now controls the majority?
After the gale of defections, the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan, insisted that the ruling APC still has a majority in the Senate with 52 lawmakers. He provided a list of the APC senators.
However, Legit.ng notes that as at the time Senator Lawan released the list, Senator Lanre Tejuosho from Ogun central senatorial district, who was one of the senators that defected to the PDP, had not rescinded his decision.
So, if Senator Tejuosho is added to the list of the APC senators as he has announced his return, the APC will be having 53 senators in the upper chamber, according to Senator Lawan's list.
Lawan added that the PDP has 50 seats while ADC has three and APGA has two.
“The essence of this press briefing is to let you know that even though some of our colleagues have left, the APC remains the majority party in the Senate in terms of numbers. Out of the 109 senators, APC has 52, the PDP has 50, ADC has three and APGA has two. And you’ll recall that we lost two of our colleagues. So we have two vacant seats and the total gives you 109,” the Senate leader said.
Going by Senator Lawan’s statement, the total number of occupied seats in the Senate is 107 (not 109 mentioned by Lawan). The remaining two seats, Katsina North and Bauchi South, to make 109 are vacant at the moment.
However, another report by Channels TV claims the PDP is now in the majority, particularly after the defection of Senator Saraki.
According to the report, the PDP now has 54 while the APC has 50. The report added that even if the APC wins the two vacant seats, it will still be in the minority with 52 senators.
Even though the report lists the number of the senators and their geopolitical zones, it does not specifically mention their names.
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The question of which party has the majority seats in the Senate may not have an answer at the moment.
APC claims to occupy the majority seats with a list earlier referenced in this report. Another report by Channels TV claims it is the PDP that has the majority seats.
Meanwhile, an effort to get the fact from the Nigerian Senate’s website, www.nass.gov.ng, was unsuccessful as the portal has not been updated since the gale of defections started.
To get the fact on which party occupies the majority seats, the opposition PDP may have to publish an updated list of the senators currently on its platform, just like the APC has done, in order to have an objective and comparative assessment of the lists by the two major parties and fish out the discrepancies.
Nigeria News 2018: Here's What Saraki and Tambuwal's Defection Means for the APC | Legit.ng TV