I Was Removed As Senate Leader Because…- Ali Ndume, Says Saraki Behind His Removal
Senator Ali Ndume of Borno South who was yesterday removed from his position as Senate Leader by the APC Caucus in the National Assembly, has revealed the reason behind the urgent action against him.
It was gathered that Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki read the letter sent by the caucus during plenary session.
On how the letter was read in his absence, Premium Times gathered that the lawmaker had stepped out to observe his early afternoon prayers.
His replacement, Senator Ahmed Lawan was also stated in the letter.
Hours after he was ousted, Senator Ndume his removal was based on his stand about the rejection of Ibrahim Magu as the substantial head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The Borno State lawmaker, the home State of Magu insisted that in view of the Senate’s standard procedures and practice, Magu had not been rejected by the Senate because there was no confirmation hearing from the nominee (Magu) to defend claims made against him.
“What I said was that for us (Senate) to claim to have a rejected a nominee sent to us by the President, we have to follow the right procedure, and observe our rules,” the senator said.
“The nominee should have been called into the chamber and presented before senators who will then openly vote on whether to accept or reject his or her nomination.
“In the case of Magu, that was not done. We only had a closed-door session and when we emerged the Senate spokesperson claimed that he had been rejected. I had to set the record straight by saying we never rejected the nominee. This is because you don’t accept or reject a nominee at a closed session.
“Our votes and proceedings are there as evidence of my claims.”
Ndume said the clarification he made unsettled some of his colleagues, who immediately began to plot against him.
“Ï was surprised that such a simple and harmless clarification could rattle and anger some of my colleagues,” he said.
“I thought it wasn’t a big deal to disagree over issues. I didn’t realise that that simple matter would snowball into a plot to remove me.
“The other day, somebody mentioned to me that the Senate President had commissioned Dino Melaye to collect signatures to remove me. I didn’t pay much attention to the information because I actually thought it was a joke or a rumour.
“I didn’t feel that disagreeing with colleagues, and sharing my understanding of what transpired at our closed session was an offence, grievous enough to cause my removal.”
Mr. Magu’s rejection followed a report sent to the Senate by the State Security Service which accused the acting EFCC chairman of corruption.
But there was also another report by the SSS which advised that Mr. Magu be confirmed in view of his sterling performance since he started working in acting capacity.
A senator familiar with the matter said Mr. Ndume especially angered Mr. Saraki when he asked why he guided members to act on the report advising against Mr. Magu’s confirmation, while ignoring the one which urged that he should be cleared for the office.
Mr. Ndume reportedly argued that what the Senate should have done was to call attention to the two security reports, and then ask the president whether to continue with the confirmation process or not.