By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE immediate past Majority leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume,Wednesday accepted his removal from his position, but warned that the rules and tradition of the upper chambers must be strictly adhered to, just as he wished his successor, Senator Ahmad Lawan best of luck in the discharge of his duties in his new position.
According to him, if not followed, a similar scenario may play out when the deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu may be the next person to be sacked the way and manner he was on Tuesday removed when he only went out of the chambers to pray.
The Senate had on Tuesday adopted the change in the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the red chambers as it affirmed the replacement of Senator Ali Ndume with Senator Ahmad Lawan as the Senate majority leader.
Meanwhile, the just appointed Senate leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan yesterday took charge in his new position and directed the affairs of plenary as well as the introduction of motions and bills as contained in yesterday’s Order Paper.
Speaking Wednesday at plenary under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Order, 2015 as amended, Senator Ali 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.
“You are one of those that even warned me here to stop saying that I will resign, but yesterday I was not around when 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 order to loose confidence of any of you and that is why 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 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 what Dino is trying to bring out now is not what and I am not going there at all because by the time you are to be removed at least you will be confonted with allegations on what you have done and be given chance to defend yourselves but as I said since I have lost confidence even if it is 10 of you members then I have no moral ground to continue to lead this senate because that means there are some people that are not with me.
“Having said that I wasnt to say that this Senate is an institution that we must protected. How do you protect the institution is to obey the rules and the tradition. If today, just like that without telling somebody and he goes out, 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, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who hailed the outline Senate leader, Ndume for the way and manner he accepted the decision of the APC caucus in the Senate which has to do with his removal and the way and manner he wished his successor well, 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 amoniously 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.”