The Senate on Tuesday received a letter from the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyorcha Ayu, nominating Senator Shuaibu Isa Lau (Taraba North) as the new Deputy Minority Leader in the Senate.
Ayu said Senator Lau’s nomination was against the backdrop of Senator Emmanuel Bwacha’s defection from the opposition party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last week.
The letter was read at the Start of plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The letter reads in part, “following the defection of Senator Emmanuel Bwacha to the ruling APC, the PDP Senate caucus has nominated as his replacement, Senator Shuaibu Isa Lau.
“Senator Lau is from Taraba State, the North East geo-political zone of the country, where the position has been zoned.
“The PDP Senate caucus has duly informed the National Headquarters of the party, in view of which we so communicate to you.
“We believe that Senator Lau will be an asset to the leadership of the Senate.
“Thank you and accept the assurances of our highest regards.”
Meanwhile, the former Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate, Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South), has formally defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bwacha’s defection brings the number of APC Senators to 70, PDP 38 Senators and Young Progressives Party (YPP) 1.
His decision to leave the opposition party was conveyed sequel to a point of order raised by the lawmaker during plenary.
Relying on Order 42 of the Senate Rules (Personal Explanation), Senator Bwacha gave reasons for his defection.
He said, “In view of my desire for equal competition, and about my desire to enjoy the full operations of my fundamental human rights, Mr. President, I want to announce this day, that it is appointed to me, henceforth, to enjoy free air.
“As King Solomon said, there’s a time for everything; now is a time for me to leave the People’s Democratic Party.
“Mr. President, I say I have opportunity to breathe freely because of a deliberate isolation and huge division and factionalisation in the party in my state.
“Mr. President, I had to leave because I seek to breathe better. This day, I announce henceforth my exit from the Peoples Democratic Party, and to join the governing party because of the visible presence of the party in my Senatorial District.
“I say this without fear of contradiction that my constituents are happy about this movement because of what they have seen on ground in Taraba South Senatorial District.
“So, we make bold to pay the PDP back by ensuring that better days are ahead for the party in Taraba State.”
Immediately after his announcement to defect from the opposition party, Senator George Thompson Sekibo (Rivers East), came with a counter point of order to oppose Bwacha’s defection citing the provisions of Section 68 (g)(h) and subsection 2 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The lawmaker, against the backdrop of the provisions cited, requested the Senate President to declare Bwacha’s seat vacant.
Sekibo was however ruled out of order by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
Lawan observed that Sekibo’s demand was null as Senator Bwacha had explained that the PDP in Taraba was factionalised.
He also drew Sekibo’s attention to a letter by the National Chairman of the PDP nominating a new deputy leader to replace Bwacha.
According to Lawan, the decision by the PDP caucus in the Senate to intimate the National Body of the opposition party of a new nomination translates to an acceptance of Bwacha’s resignation from the PDP.
The Senate President, on the strength of the reasons advanced, ruled Sekibo out of order.