© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Saraki, Sani, Laah… Senators that could dump APC soon
THE ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, lost 15 senators to opposition parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
One of the defectors, Monsurat Sunmonu, said she had moved to the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
This development meant that the APC has lost its majority in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly to the PDP.
However, the number of senators dumping the APC is expected to grow in the coming days and months as the crisis in the ruling party appears to be deepening.
The following are members of the senate who could join the bandwagon of defectors sooner than later:
It is only a matter of when, not if, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s number three man, will dump the APC.
A former strongman of the PDP, Saraki ruled Kwara State for eight years on the platform of the now opposition party, but all seem set for him to return ‘home’. Despite being an APC member, the PDP played an important role in Saraki’s eventual emergence as President of the Senate, and he reciprocated the gesture by ensuring that a PDP member became his deputy.
More recently, Saraki has not hidden the fact that his heart is no more with the APC, especially following his many travails at the hands of the federal government. Saraki has had at least two court cases instituted against him by the Buhari administration; first, for alleged illegal tampering with the Senate standing rules, and secondly, for alleged false assets declaration.
Then came the indictment by the Offa armed robber gang who said Saraki was their benefactor and arms supplier. Saraki has denied all these accusations.
On Tuesday, Saraki’s Abuja residence was besieged by Security Agencies who cordoned off the area in order to prevent him from attending the senate’s sitting, but he was able to maneuver his way out.
“This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalised without just cause, where injustice is perpetrated at the highest level and where there is no respect for constitutionalism is an exercise in futility and it will fail,” Saraki wrote in a statement on Monday.
Like Saraki, it is all but certain that Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, will dump the broom party, though his name was not among the ones announced on Tuesday.
Sani, who does not see eye-to-eye with Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, has written countless posts on the social media pointing to the fact that his departure from the ruling party is imminent.
On July 5, Sani posted the following on his twitter handle: “We the persecuted are on Exodus, riding on horses, chariots and caravans, departing Pharaoh Thutmose’s Egypt; we are now at the coast of the Red Sea, about to leave the land of cruelty and injustice.”
The very next day, July 6, Sani shared another post laced with anecdotes and innuendos, but which was not very difficult to understand.
He wrote: “Friends of Caesar said if we decided to leave Rome for Athens we will be committing ‘a political suicide’; And we told them that in the streets and hinterland of Rome today there are enough corpses for the vultures, they shouldn’t bother about our suicide.”
Of the three senators representing Kaduna State, namely Shehu Sani, Danjumah Laah and Suleiman Hunkuyi, none is in friendly terms with Governor El-Rufai. And given the structure of politics in Nigeria where a sitting governor controls the state chapter of the party, it is unlikely that any of the Kaduna senators will remain in the APC.
Laah had described El-Rufai as “the devil Kaduna state has ever had since the creation of the state”. This was after the Governor rained curses on Laah, Hunkuyi and Sani, for refusing to approve a $350 million loan application he made to the World Bank.
“There are no haters of the masses of Kaduna state like Shehu Sani, Suleiman Hunkuyi and Danjuma Laah,” El-Rufai said while addressing APC supporters in the state in May this year.
“God will curse them. God will reward their wickedness against the masses, may God never bless them. If they come to Kaduna, shave their heads and beard. They have shown that they are bastards, they have no origin, therefore, it is important to tell them that they did not originate from this state.”
Hunkuyi was among the senators that defected on Tuesday, it is just a matter of time before Sani and Laah follow suit.