In its bid to return to power at the centre, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party has resorted to wooing members of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the National Assembly with automatic tickets.
This comes amid fears for many members of the APC caucus at the National Assembly that that governors of their respective states were after their seats, significantly reducing their chances of getting return tickets.
One of the aggrieved lawmakers told Punch that the governors used their influence in the party against the political interests of National Assembly members from their states.
“The only person who can avert defections (from the APC to other parties) in the National Assembly is the President. All the crises that will lead to the defections are happening in the states. The President will not be safe when the defectors move to the opposition and form a camp, even if it is for just one week,” the unnamed source said.
“The issue is that many governors have problems with their senators and the other party is wooing senators with tickets. Going by the fact that many of the APC senators came from the PDP, they are most likely to go back. In the worst case, APC might turn out to become the minority party in the National Assembly soon.”
When asked if the tickets being offered by the PDP would be automatic for APC defectors, the senator said, “It is.”
Another APC senator, explained that first-term governors were planning to replace the current National Assembly members with their loyalists and political allies, while the second-term and outgoing governors would hijack senatorial seats from the current occupants.
He said: “The governors want to bring in their ‘boys’ because in 2015, both the governors and the senators were on the same platform; all of them were contesting positions, so there was no boy and master. But now, because those governors have made some money and built structures for themselves, they want to replace the senators either with their secretary to state government or their commissioners or their chief of staff.
“In the case of the second-term governors, they want to come over (to the Senate) themselves. As it is with the APC today, the President appears to be the only person who can solve this problem; the governors cannot and the party itself cannot.”
This has been confirmed by Senator Ben Murray-Bruce (PDP Bayelsa), who said the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, specifically mandated him to ensure the return of former PDP members in the Senate to the opposition party.
“Yes, it is true. We welcome them 100 per cent with open arms. They should come and join us. We miss them; we love them and they should all come back. Even those who were not with us, we will take everybody.”