Political re-alignment takes shape as Melaye resumes, technically ‘defects’ to PDP

There was mild drama at the Senate on Wednesday, following the resumption of plenary by the embattled chairman Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dino Melaye, who technically defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday.
The development happened a day Adams Jagaba, a member of the House of Representatives from Kaduna State, defected from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP. Melaye’s resumption comes two weeks after he was granted bail by a Kogi State High Court sitting in Lokoja.
He was wearing a neck brace and holding a walking stick. Rising on Order 14 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015 (as amended), the lawmaker said he was no longer comfortable sitting on the row of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and requested to sit on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) row.
He accused the police of attempting to kill him twice by administering chemical substance and injection on him. Although he thanked the National and Kogi State leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for coming to his rescue during the failed recall exercise, he, however, did not mention his party – the All Progressives Congress (APC).
His words: “I want to say I am alive because God defended me. But I want to say that the Nigerian police attempted to kill me twice. One, through the application of a chemical substance and the second time through injection. They actually came with an injection to inject me but God intervened. And to Him alone be the glory forever and ever.
“And that is why I quote this part of the Holy Book that ‘He who sits
in the sacred place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty’.
“I thank the Almighty God for being alive and I want to promise
Nigerians that because of the love I have seen, I will not derail. I will stand by the truth. No amount of intimidation, harassment, arrest, name-calling, blackmail planted will detract my attention from championing this cause. The battle to salvage this country from financial scavengers and economic cancerworm is a battle of no retreat, no surrender.
“We must salvage this country together. We have no other country to call our own but this country. So, I want to say as I get better, my voice gets better, it will become better. And I shall not cease to continue to ask questions where necessary.
“But I want to conclude that by saying that we must not allow this to discourage us or get us disenchanted. We must be emboldened to ask questions. The Executive cannot cow the Legislature. We must be bold at all times and speak truth. Like I have always said, ‘if you speak the truth, you die. If you lie, you die. It is better to speak the truth and die’.
“I have a special request to you, Mr President. That because of the trauma I went through and I am still going through, I want to seek your indulgence that you will call on the sergeant-at-arm to look for a comfortable seat for me on this side (pointing at PDP row) of the divide because I am no longer comfortable sitting here. So I want to ask Mr President that you mandate the sergeant-at-arms tomorrow to look for a seat for me on this other divide of the chamber. And that before you do that today, through help of my walking stick, I will take a comfortable seat close to Papa General Senator David Mark, pending when you get me a comfortable seat on this side.”
The embattled senator has been on a running battle with his state governor, Yahaya Bello; President Muhammadu Buhari; APC national leadership and Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
His request was granted by Senate President Bukola Saraki, despite stiff opposition from APC lawmakers including Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan; Chief Whip, Sola Adeyeye; Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Kabir Marafa as well as Jibrin Barau.
He was then accompanied by PDP senators who supported him with his walking stick to relocate to the opposition row.
Meanwhile, Minister of Mines and Steel Kayode Fayemi, has resigned his appointment as minister to concentrate on campaigning ahead of the July 14 Ekiti governorship election in which he is candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Fayemi tendered his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari three weeks ago, but it officially takes effect from Wednesday, May 30. He emerged the candidate of the APC having won a rescheduled primary of the party on May 12, to become the Ekiti APC candidate, polling 941 votes.
While the closest aspirants Segun Oni had 481 votes, Kayode Ojo (281), Olufemi Richard Bamisile (179), Oluyede Oluwole (121), and Aluko Daniel Olugbenga (86).
 
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja & INIOBONG IWOK
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