PDP loses majority in House of Representatives


For the first time since the end of military rule in 1999 the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has lost its majority in the 360 seat House of Representatives.

The move came yesterday when 37 PDP Members of Parliament announced that they were leaving the PDP and moving to the All Progressives Congress (APC) which was established earlier this year. The move comes just days after five Governors crossed over to the APC in a move which has weakened President Goodluck Jonathan both in the state legislatures and in parliament.

It is unclear what will happen now, but the PDP with just 171 parliamentarians are clearly going to have to strike some deals with other opposition parties to remain in power. The APC now has 172 parliamentarians.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed in February 2013 as a merger of four opposition parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The party was formally recognised on 31st July 2013 and since its formation it has been nibbling away at the power base of the PDP, culminating in yesterday’s announcement.

A further ten PDP legislators are rumoured to be about to cross over to the APC in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the PDP were quoting the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and in particular Section 68 (1) (g) which reads:

“68. (1) A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if –

(g) being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected;
Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored; or”

Once the APC gets over the 181 threshold to force a motion of no confidence in the government and if pressed on the constitutional issue they might well force a general election.

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