Power tussle tears Nigeria's ruling party apart

The latest defection at the National Assembly turned the ruling All Progressives Congress to a minority in the Senate.

As the nation prepares for 2019 general elections, about 15 serving senators and 36 Representatives, including Rabiu Kwankwaso, a powerful and former governor of the northern state of Kano, Senator Dino Melaye joined the People’s Democratic Party while others joined the African Democratic Congress, a party linked to former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The announcement of their defection was made known on the floor of the upper chamber on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

The latest defection at the National Assembly turned the ruling All Progressives Congress to a minority in the Senate, though the party said it will consolidate on its strength in state’s assemblies.

Power tussles between the executive and the legislative arm

For the last two years, there has been a power-play between the executive and the legislative arm. The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s third-highest ranking civil servant after President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, believed that there is a cabal within the government of President Buhari.

Saraki believed as a member of the ruling party he has faced more political battles than the opposition and other members of Buhari's kitchen cabinet accused of corruption. This has caused strain relationship between Nigeria’s legislature and executive.

In a statement released on Monday, Saraki described an invitation to appear at a police station in Abuja on Tuesday for questioning over his alleged link to an armed robbery in his home state of Kwara as witch hunt due to his moves to join the opposition.

Nigeria's ruling party believed defectors are opposition “mercenaries”

Adams Oshiomhole, ruling elected National Chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor Edo state said that he is happy that some members of the Senate and House of Representatives left his party for opposition parties.

Oshiomhole said the governing party is “not disturbed at all” and that he is not losing sleep over the defections.

He assured President Muhammadu Buhari that the defectors cannot affect his fortunes to get more votes in 2019.

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