Tension in Senate over Senate President's refusal to read defection letter of 11 PDP senators defecting to APC

The Senate for the second time in two days held an executive session on Wednesday because of the fear that an open deliberation on the defection bid of the 11 Peoples Democratic Party senators to the All Progressives Congress could generate tension.

But tension still played out as the aggrieved senators and their APC counterparts left angrily immediately the session which lasted about two hours ended.

The action of the senators , who were led by Senator Magnus Abe, was considered ‘strange,’ going by the fact that the Senate President, David Mark, was usually allowed to leave the chamber before other lawmakers.

A meeting between Mark and the aggrieved senators on Tuesday night over the issue had ended inconclusively.

A source at the session confirmed that Abe and the others were disappointed when Mark directed the Senate spokesperson, Enyinnaya Abaribe, to brief the media on the outcome of the meeting.

Abaribe told journalists that the meeting resolved that Mark should seek legal advice before he could act on the letter of defection written by the 11 senators.

He explained that there were serious legal and constitutional issues surrounding the defection of the aggrieved lawmakers which needed the opinion of legal experts.
Abaribe said, “I can confirm to you that on the matter of those who want to defect that the issue was also discussed during the closed session and it was also resolved that the Senate, the Senate president in particular, would have to seek further legal advice.

“There were serious legal issues that were thrown up during the discussion and the legal issues relate to both the interpretation of the 1999 Constitution and the interpretation of our rules within the Senate.”
The Senate spokesman said more time was given for further consultations.