Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), has said that he was removed as the leader of the APC caucus in the Upper Chamber when he went to pray.
Ndume said that he had handed over his role to his deputy, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah before leaving the chambers. 10 minutes later, he was sacked and sitting was adjourned
“I was leading the business of the Senate and when it was 12.45 as usual I asked my deputy to sit in for me while I go to pray. On coming back, I discovered that the session is over and one of your colleagues (referring to journalists) approached me and said leader what happened and I said what happened and he said, I have been removed. I didn’t know that there was change of leadership because I was not there I went for prayers and I didn’t know what actually happened and I cannot say much than this,” he said.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki read announced that Ndume had been sacked as APC leader of the Senate when he read a letter of APC Senators.
“This is to inform your Excellency and the Senate that after several meetings, upon due deliberations and consultations, the APC caucus of the Senate hereby wish to notify you of the change in the leadership of the Senate. The new Senate leader is Senator Ahmed Lawan, representing Yobe North,” the letter read.
According to Daily Trust, the plot to oust Ndume began even while Ndume moderated the sitting.
He was unaware that his colleagues were appending their signatures to a statement approving his ouster.
Ndume and Saraki fell apart after the Senate declined to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In December, when his colleagues rejected Magu on the basis of adverse security report on Magu by the Department of State Services (DSS), Ndume objected it.
Several senators told the Daily Trust that they signed the document approving his sack on the floor of the Senate yesterday.
They said the letter for the sack of Ndume was conveyed from one seat to the other by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), a die-hard supporter of Saraki. Melaye had in December engaged in a war of words with Ndume over Magu.
“When I came in, Dino accosted me and brought the letter that I should sign and I did. I was told that the sack was perfected at Dino’s residence on Monday,” one Senator said.
Asked why Ndume was sacked, the senator said; “It is because of Magu and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal.”
The Senate had called for Lawal’s removal after it received a report from its Ad hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North East, that he (Lawal) was diverting IDP funds. The report stated that Lawal awarded a contract worth N233 for “removal of invasive plant species in Yobe on March 8” to Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company, where he is a Director.
Another Senator from the South West said he also signed the letter during plenary. “I was invited for the meeting but I didn’t make it. I think it was held at Saraki’s office.”