Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), has recently faced massive defections to the country’s ruling opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in the country’s legislative arm, the National Assembly.
Top on the list of defectors is the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, a two term past governor of Kwara state. Having lost 15 senators to the opposition in a row, the APC is projected to lose its dominant voice in the legislative arm of government in no distant time.
Senator Saraki who made his defection known via a tweet on his official handle, did not take Nigerians by surprise as rumours of his defection have been making the rounds since his residence was stormed last week by security personnel attempting to stop him from attending the senate plenary allegedly on the orders of the presidency – an accusation the presidency also denied in the media. Saraki was later attended the sitting after he outsmarted the security blockade sneaked out in a rickety car.
Another big loss to the APC is the defection of the incumbent governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who is considered a loyalist to the Senate president. Ahmed made his announcement of defection shortly after Saraki made his known to the public.
A total of 16 senators, excluding the senate president, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday 24th, July, 2018, dumped the ruling party and defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
An APC stalwart and governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, described senators who defected from the All Progressives Congress, APC, as corrupt politicians afraid of being arrested if President Muhammadu Buhari wins his second term bid.
Speaking to local news reporters on the defections, El-Rufai said:
“It’s not surprising because we have been hearing that many senators will defect. We heard about it, even though some of the senators whose names appeared among those that defected denied it. “We have been assured that our party, APC, still controls majority in the senate. I have confidence in our new party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, that he will handle the issue well and any governor in his state will also take measures. “We were also told that apart from the senators, there are also governors that will defect. We wish them well because we know those who cannot win election in their homes among them. They are only elected into Senate based on Buhari’s factor or popularity. “Majority of them were elected because their election was conducted same day with President Buhari. If they think they can win alone, we wish them luck.”
The country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari is considering running for a second term amidst rumours of frail health and a recession that has taken its toll on the nation’s economy. Many have considered his re-election bid an unpatriotic move citing that the leader was not fit for the hassles that accompanies the apex office having spent more than half of his first term reign in a hospital in the United Kingdom.
Rising Call for Young Leaders
The country has been predominantly ruled by a set of military officers from the 80’s, who now still continue to dominate the country’s leadership as civilians. There have been calls for a chance for younger politicians to emerge as leaders. A recent success in legislation via the “NOT TOO YOUNG TO RULE” bill, which seeks to lower the minimum age to run for a public office, has given vigor to many young people to rise to the call of leadership.
There are about 10 young presidential aspirants and many more for lower offices hoping to stand in the forthcoming 2019 elections. Some of the current presidential aspirants were in high school when the current president, Buhari, first ruled the nation as a military dictator in 1984.