ALI Ndume, an immediate past majority leader of the Senate, on Wednesday, January 11, accepted his removal from the position, which he assumed on June 9, 2015.
Ndume accepted his fate in a point of order raised at plenary on Wednesday, January 11, a day after he was dramatically removed by the caucus of the All Progressives in the Senate and replaced by Ahmed Lawan. But he warned that the rules and tradition of the upper chambers must be strictly adhered to, just as he wished Lawan best of luck in the discharge of his duties in his new position.
According to him, if not followed, a similar scenario could play out to remove Ike Ekweremadu, deputy president of the Senate, as the next person to be sacked the way and manner he was removed on Tuesday, January 10, when he only went out of the chambers to pray.
Speaking on Wednesday at plenary under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Order, 2015 as amended, Ndume said: “Mr President, I discussed with you before the sitting that sequence to the event that happened yesterday in my absence I went to pray there was change in leadership particularly affecting me and I felt it is important for me to be given the chance to as I said when I was nominated as the Senate leader by my colleagues for the opportunity given to me to serve as the senate leader. When I was nominated as the Senate leader, I said one thing at that time and I want to repeat today that as a senator I am not better than anybody here and I also want to believe that all of us are equal in this senate.
“I thank God for the way and the courage God given me to carry-on with my responsibility for the time one and half years that God said is my time as the senate leader. So, I want to thank unanimously especially my colleagues for the confidence you had in me. I thank God that throughout my service as the senate leader, most of the times my colleagues casually will say leader we are proud of you, I was not found wanting for anything that I know and because of the unity of this Senate that is more important than myself three times I offered to resign and if that will bring peace but I believe that God’s time is the best…
“But then just like that the Senate caucus has the right to say we have lost confidence in you and I think that should be now that I have said it I think it’s on record that I did not do anything not to the best of my knowledge I did not do anything, but as I said since my colleagues consciously 38 of them signed it. So, if they signed that they have lost confidence… then I have no moral ground to continue to lead this Senate because that means there are some people that are not with me.
“If it is Ndume today and it’s ok, it may be God forbid Ekweremadu tomorrow. So, what I am saying is that anytime our colleagues erred in one way or the other, we should be given the chance to say look this is what we did and, therefore, we have lost confidence in you, but I thank God since there is nothing and I am grateful for that. So, I want to once again say thank you very much for the opportunity given me to serve as the senate leader and I wish my brother the new senate leader we have been struggling for this for a long time. I hope and I wish you the best of service to this important institution.”
In his remarks, Ekweremadu who hailed Ndume for the way and manner he accepted the decision of the APC caucus in the Senate which led to his removal and the way and manner he wished his successor well. Ekweremadu said: “This is coming on under order 43 and is not open to debate. But let me on behalf of the rest of our colleagues thank you for your service to the senate and indeed to the National Assembly because you were a member of the House of Representatives leadership at some point, you came to the Senate and also held very important committee assignments and then rose to become the Senate leader.
“These are services we cannot wish away, so we would like to congratulate you for the manner you have accepted the position of things and I will like to assure you that we would all continue to work harmoniously in the best interest of our country and do hope that you continue also to render your services not only to this senate but also our people. We are conscious of the efforts you made regarding matters concerning the Northeast and the role you played in ensuring that the humanitarian crisis there are been addressed not only in this senate but by the federal government.
“So, you will continue to serve at different capacities and we would all continue to work together with you and also believe too that you are going to give maximum support to the new senate leader and especially at this moment is sitting right in your front and you would be whispering to him when mistakes are meant to be made. Thank you for the position you have taken and for accepting this for your desire to work with everybody and to support the new leadership.”
— Jan 11, 2017 @ 16:15 GMT