OrderPaperToday – It has become common practice for politicians to defect from one political party to another as they often engage in political calculations about where their interests will be best served.
Senators played a starring role in defection dramas especially in the build up to the 2019 elections. As lawmakers dumped the party that brought them to power for new ones, it is hard not to conclude that they did so in the hope that of increasing their chances of making a return to the red chamber.
While the defections have proved to be masterstrokes for some, it has been a disaster for others following the National Assembly elections held last Saturday.
Ovie Omo-Agege (LP to APC)
Following his victory in court that launched him to the Senate in 2016, Ovie Omo-Agege quickly dumped the Labour Party for the All Progressives Congress (APC) the following year. He has since established himself as a stalwart of the party, fighting many political battles including a famous one against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Omo-Agege had the last laugh on many occasions as he successfully overturned his suspension from the Senate in Court and won his re-election to the chamber in last Saturday’s elections.
Omo-Agege polled a total of 111,100 to defeat his closest rival, Everlyn Oboro of the PDP, who got 99,422 votes.
Dino Melaye (APC to PDP)
The vocal and dramatic Dino Melaye has survived many battles since he became a Senator. He survived yet again at the polls last Saturday. He timed his exit from the APC and defected to the PDP. That move paid off as Dino defeated his former party at the polls.
He polled 85,395 votes to defeat Senator Smart Adeyemi of the APC, who scored 66,901 votes.
Stella Oduah (PDP to APGA to PDP)
Senator Stella Oduah dumped the PDP for APGA in 2018 but quickly retraced her steps back to the PDP, a move that paid off as she was re-elected back to the red chamber polling 113,989 votes to defeat 20 other candidates including Emmanuel Chinedu of APGA who came second with 59,937 votes.
Bukola Saraki (APC to PDP)
Senate President Bukola Saraki is perhaps the biggest defection casualty. Following his defection from the APC to the PDP in July 2018, the ruling party started a campaign to immediately oust him as Senate President. That move failed and pushed the APC to spearhead the “o te ge” movement that eventually consumed the strongman of Kwara politics in last Saturday’s Kwara Central Senatorial elections.
Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe of the APC won the election, scoring 123,808 against 68,994 votes polled by Saraki.
Godswill Akpabio (PDP to APC)
Senator Godswill Akpabio is another major defection casualty. Akpabio held so much influence that when he decided to dump the PDP for the APC, it was hailed as the end of the PDP in Akwa-Ibom State.
Akpabio however failed to live up to expectation. Not only did his defection fail to deliver Akwa-Ibom state in the presidential polls, it also cost him his own seat.
Akpabio was trashed at the polls by a former deputy governor of the state, Chris Ekpenyong of the PDP who scored 136, 373 votes, more than double the 67,487 votes recorded by Akpabio.
Nelson Effiong (PDP to APC)
Nelson Effiong was among the early defectors having jumped ship from the PDP to the APC two years to the 2019 elections. That move will prove costly in the PDP dominated Akwa-Ibom state as he lost to Akon Eyakenyi of the PDP.
Eyakenyi polled 122,412 votes to defeat Senator Nelson Effiong of APC who polled 44,053 votes.
Andy Uba (PDP to APC)
Senator Andy Uba dumped the PDP for the APC with an eye on the Senate Presidency. He will however have to wait for at least another four years to realise his ambition as he lost his re-election bid to Ifeanyi Uba of the YPP.
He was thoroughly beaten at the polls and even failed to make the top 3. The candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Ifeanyi Ubah, emerged winner with 87,081 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chris Uba of the PDP, who got 62,462 votes. Nicholas Ukachukwu of APGA polled 51,269 votes while Andy Uba of APC placed fourth with 13,245 votes.
Isah Misau (APC to PDP)
Dumping the hugely popular APC in Bauchi is a political suicide for many and so it proved for Senator Isah Misau who dumped the ruling party for the PDP last July. Misau came a distant third in the polls which was won by Haliru Jika of the APC as predicted by OrderPaperNG in the build up to the polls.
APC’s Jika polled 120,871 votes to defeat Bappah Aliyu of PRP, who polled 66,024 votes and Isah Misau of the PDP, who garnered 57,069 votes.
Suleiman Nazif (APC to PDP)
Also from Bauchi, Senator Suleiman Nazif joined Senator Misau in dumping the APC for the PDP. Unsurprisingly, it ended the same way – defeat to APC.
Mohammed Bulkachuwa of the APC polled 110,631 votes to emerge winner. Mustafa Faruq of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) came second with 92,140 votes, while incumbent Senator Suleiman Nazif of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) came third with 56,379 votes.
Muhammad Shitu (APC to PDP)
The Jigawa North-East Senator dumped the APC for the PDP but was also destroyed in the Buhari/APC tsunami that hit most states of northern Nigeria last Saturday. Shitu lost his seat to the deputy governor of the state, Ibrahim Hassan of the APC.
Hassan polled 184,185 votes to defeat Shitu of the PDP, who polled 103,039 votes.
Shehu Sani (APC to PRP)
The famous activist-senator and twitter active lawmaker, Shehu Sani held on to the APC until he was forced to leave when he failed to secure the party’s ticket for reelection. He found comfort in the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP). However, that comfort was short-lived as he was soundly beaten by APC’s Uba Sani at the polls.
Uba Sani polled 355, 242 votes which is more than five times Shehu Sani’s 70, 613 votes. Next to Uba Sani was Lawal Usman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 195, 497 votes.
Rafiu Ibrahim (APC to PDP)
Senator Rafiu Ibrahim is a core loyalist of Senate President, Bukola Saraki. He is famed for releasing press statements in defence of the Senate president. It is unclear if he even contested the senatorial election or he was just a campaign tool for the incumbent governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
While it was widely rumoured that Ibrahim was the candidate of the PDP in Kwara South, it was the name of the Governor that made it to the INEC official list of candidates. Nevertheless, one thing is certain, neither Ibrahim nor Governor Ahmed will be in the next Senate as the PDP lost woefully to the APC.
APC’s Lola Ashiru garnered 89,704 votes ahead of PDP’s total of 45,176 votes.