The defection of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is threatening the balance of power within the National Assembly as sources confirmed that a tsunami is expected in the chambers in the weeks to come.
Members who are knowledgeable about the developments confirmed that the Atiku factor had loomed large within the two chambers of the National Assembly since the inception of the 8th Assembly in June 2015.
Incidentally, the leadership of both the Senate and the House of Representatives are said to be remotely linked to the Atiku factor, with sources declaring that Atiku’s defection will certainly weigh in on the balance of power in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The core APC loyalists opposed the emergence of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara in 2015 as they were regarded as loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which Atiku also belonged.
The executive under President Muhammadu Buhari and the legislature have been operating more of a cat and mouse relationship ever since the inception of the Assembly.
In fact, Senate President Bukola Saraki had to fight the battle of his life to retain his seat, having been dragged to the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged false asset declaration.
Sources in the polity told Sunday Tribune that with Atiku’s exit from the APC, a number of lawmakers are already reviewing their status in the party.
The expected gale of defections could tilt the leadership of both chambers in favour of the PDP, a source said.
It was gathered that besides the top leaders of the Assembly who have been shown clearly they don’t belong to the inner core of the incumbent government, members of the legislature are also generally marginalised in the administration.
“Right now, most members are grappling with questions of ways and means,” a lawmaker said adding that “a lot of them are battling with debts even as the next election is drawing close. No lawmaker is assured of funds to run re-election campaigns.”
He stated that with such a scenario, many won’t be deterred if the opportunity to defect to another platform that would assure them of opportunities to return to the chamber surfaces.
Another source said that a wave of defection could hit the floor of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the next few weeks as realignments take the central stage.
“A number of lawmakers are on Atiku’s side. They have been with him for many years and it won’t happen that they would remain in the party when their benefactor is on another platform,” a lawmaker said, adding that the sort of scenario that played out following the defection of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to the APC in 2014 is set to play out again.