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Senate President denies sitting on defection letters

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan has dismissed reports that more Senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have submitted defection letters to him and he is sitting on them.

Last Friday, some news outlets reported that the Senate President had refused to read defection letters of at least 12 APC Senators for fear of removing him as the presiding officer in the upper chamber.

Following disaffection over the APC primaries for the 2023 general elections, 13 APC drifted to other parties in June. APC has 62 Senators at the moment with the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) having 39, while the other four minority parties have four.

If 12 Senators move out of the APC, as alleged, the party will become a minority in the chamber and will lose the No 1 seat – the Office of the Senate President.

In a statement on Sunday, the Senate President’s spokesman, Mr Ola Awoniyi said no letter had been submitted to his boss.

The statement reads: “We have seen a story on social media and some online newspapers purporting that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, is sitting on letters from some senators allegedly intimating him of their defections from the All Progressives Congress.

“The story insinuated that Lawan is sitting on the purported letters to protect his position as the President of the Senate. We hereby state categorically that the story is utter falsehood as there is no such letter before the Senate President.

“The report mentioned only Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa as one of the affected Senators.

“Obviously, the purveyors of the syndicated lies had not even bothered to confirm from the Distinguished Senator if and when he submitted any such letter to the Senate President. It is public knowledge that the Senate President has always promptly read out at plenaries letters by senators defecting from one party to another.

“The Senate President is sufficiently knowledgeable about the rules and workings of the Senate and has been discharging his responsibilities within the ambit of those rules.

“That is why he has continued to enjoy the confidence and full cooperation of his fellow Distinguished Senators, irrespective of party affiliations”.

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