The controversial Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, caused an online uproar, when he changed his seat for health reasons, to get close to former Senate President David Mark, with Media outlets speculating that he had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), even when he is yet to, and has to, make such announcement formally to the House.
Melaye had been hospitalised, following reports that he jump out from a moving Police vehicle taking him to Kogi State, to be questioned on his indictment by some bandits who claimed that he was their sponsor.
He was later re-arraigned and taken to the Court on stretcher, where he was granted bail of N10 million with one surety in like sum.
The Senator, who is just returning to the Red Chamber after the incident, appeared with clutches and neck support, raised a Point of Order and expressed gratitude to his colleagues, constituents, House of Representatives and Nigeria citizens for standing by him during the trying time.
“They stood up for me when I could not stand up, they fought for me and protected my mandate during the failed recall exercise, orchestrated by the Governor of Kogi State.”
He also specifically lauded the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), for its support and nice gesture towards him.
He then requested to sit beside David Mark, pending when he would be allocated his own seat.
“I have a 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 at the PDP wing).
“I’m 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 sticks I will take a comfortable seat close to Papa General, Senator David Mark (PDP), pending when you get me a comfortable seat on this side”.
His statement was immediately greeted with reactions as the APC Senators objected to the moved, its opposition Senators welcomed him with cheers.
However, his move has been widely misconstrued by the Media to mean Melaye defected to PDP which is reflected in their reports.
Dino’s counterpart from Bayelsa, Ben Murray-Bruce, also took it to mean a defection and welcomed the Senator to PDP.
Senate President and APC reacts
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, debunked the rumours that Senator Melaye had defected to PDP.
According to him, Melaye was only permitted a temporary seat for now, which does not mean a defection.
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdulahi, iterates that Senator Melaye has not informed the Party of his intention to defect.
“Well, to the best of my knowledge he did not inform the Party. I don’t want to speculate on the reason for his decision.
“I am also aware that for it to qualify as defection he has to formally notify the Senate President, which as far as I know, he has not done.”
For Melaye’s move to count as defection, he would write to the Senate President, announcing his desire to leave his current party and also revealing the next party he would be joining.
He would also need to leave his position as Senator as it has been established in several Court verdicts that offices are won by parties, not individuals. An exception is made if the party is factionized. The APC is not, at least not clearly.