Perhaps, oblivious of legislative nuances or just being overzealous to break the news without the details, some online news portals went to town with the fake story of Senator Dino Melaye’s defection from APC to PDP.
For the avoidance of doubt, there is a spelt out constitutional ground for changing political party by a serving lawmaker including a tradition of formal notification to the presiding officer of either Chamber of the National Assembly in order to give official effect to the lawmaker’s decision.
While it is apparent that there is cogent reason for such decision by Senator Melaye as we speak and as allowed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended), it is however important to note that there is a time and season for everything under the sun.
In today’s case, neither Senator Melaye nor Senate President Bukola Saraki alluded to or acknowledge the existence of any such formal notification before the Senate.
What Senator Melaye did at plenary today was to seek a technical safety net for himself – a vantage sitting position that will aid his fast recovery given his present health condition – and pending the provision of such a seat, he requested to sit beside a former Senate President, Senator David Mark, JUST FOR TODAY and irrespective of party affiliation.
Whether he technically defected or not, a technicality remains a mere technicality. Remember that the President made a “Technical Stopover” in London while returning from US few weeks ago and he eventually returned to Nigeria, likewise Senator Melaye technically relocated his seat in the Senate chambers for health reasons and he will eventually return to where he truly belongs.
It is pertinent to note that Melaye was earlier called upon to resume plenary today after weeks of recuperation from police brutality. In the words of Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, who had made the call, the Senate was no longer LIVELY without Melaye.
Melaye earlier while addressing his colleagues, acknowledge the role played by the entire National Assembly, individuals and organised bodies during the period of his travail especially the people’s Democratic Party in the case of his recall, who went beyond party affiliation to defend our Democracy.
True to his character, he resumed and the Senate came ALIVE with his presence.