Dino Melaye, an All Progressives Congress, APC, senator representing Kogi West, has crossed the aisle of the Senate to sit with members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, alleging that the Nigerian Police attempted twice to kill him in their frantic moves to prosecute him for alleged gunrunning.
He made this declaration on Wednesday following an adopted order 43 for personal explanation on his appearance at the plenary after about one month of absence.
Melaye, who attended the chamber with a neck support and a walking stick, declared that the Police wanted to kill him first, through harmful substance, and second, through injection but for God’s protection.
While expressing appreciation to his colleagues, constituents and other Nigerians for standing with him during his travails in April, he said “Specially, I appreciate the Peoples Democratic Party for making statement during my recall exercise and asking everyone to stay aback. Politics has been shown not to be individualistic but to be about issues and purpose. To the National Chairman and executives of PDP in Kogi State, I salute you.”
Melaye thereafter asked the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to mandate the sergeant-at-arms to create a seat for him at the opposition wing of the chamber, announcing that he would sit beside former Senate President, David Mark, pending the time a seat will be allocated to him.
He said, “I have a special request to you Mr President. Because of the trauma I went through and I’m still going through, I want to seek your indulgence that you will call on the Sergeant-at-arms to look for a comfortable seat for me on this side of the divide (pointing to the opposition wing) because I am no longer comfortable sitting here. So, I want to ask the Senate President that you mandate the sergeant-at-arms tomorrow to look for a seat for me on this other divide of the chamber.
“Before you do that today, through the 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.”
After stating this, the embattled senator moved to the opposition side to sit beside Mark.
Melaye’s movement was greeted by rowdiness among lawmakers at the Senate floor with those who spoke later expressing mixed reactions. The PDP senators spoke in favour of his move while APC senators tried to prevent his movement.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, granted his immediate prayer of sitting beside Mark for the day, while noting that his request for a permanent seat at the opposition wing will be looked into.
But following widespread report that the APC lawmaker has defected to the opposition, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi maintained that Melaye was still a member of the party since he has not fulfilled the requirements for defection having been elected to the Senate on the platform of the Party.
Abdullahi told journalists in Abuja, “Senator Dino Melaye merely expressed the desire to seat on the wing of the opposition during plenary. I am also aware that for his desire to qualify as defection, he has to formally notify the Senate President, which as far as I know, he has not done”.