Senator Ali Ndume who lost his position as the senate majority leader has said the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, may be the next to lose his leadership position in the Senate.
Ndume, who was sacked by the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the Senate on Tuesday, January 10, stated this during plenary today (Wednesday) while reacting to his ouster.
Ndume, who was replaced with Senator Ahmed Lawan however said: “If today, just like that, without telling somebody and he goes out (is removed) … If it is Ndume today and he goes out, it may be, God forbid, Ekweremadu tomorrow.”
Although Ndume accepted the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers to remove him as senate majority leader and thanked them for the opportunity giving to him, he insisted that he was not given a fair hearing by the lawmakers.
He said this was more so because he had attempted to resign from the position for the sake of unity among the lawmakers thrice before his removal.
However, he warned that senate rules and tradition must be strictly adhered to, and wished his successor, Senator Ahmad Lawan best of luck in the discharge of his duties in his new position.
Should the senate deviate from the rules, he reiterated that a similar scenario may play out when Ekweremadu may be the next person to be sacked the way and manner he was removed when he (Ndume) only went out of the chambers to pray.
He however stressed that it would have been better if he were confronted with the allegation rather than taking such a decision in his absence.
He added that if as little as 10 of his colleagues had disclosed the loss of confidence, he would have resigned honourably.
He reiterated that he had accepted his fate adding that he was no better than any other senator to occupy the position of leader.
“I was not found wanting for anything that I know. 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.”
“You are one of those that even warn me here to stop saying that I will resign, but yesterday (Tuesday) I was not around, change of leadership was announced.”
“In fact if the number of those that lost confidence in me is not up to this number and I am made to know I will resign because I did not become a senate leader in other to lose confidence of any of you.
“I am concerned about the loss of confidence because as far as I know I have not done anything.”
“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, non to the best of my knowledge.”
However, he thanked his colleagues for the confidence and the opportunity he was given to serve as leader of the Senate.
“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 give 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.
“This Senate is an institution that we must protect. How do you protect the institution is to obey the rules and the tradition.
“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, he said.
In his response, Ekweremadu who presided over plenary thanked Ndume for his service as leader. “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.
“Those 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.
“I do hope that you continue also to render your services not only to this senate but also our people,” said Ekweremadu.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES: PUNCH, VANGUARD