By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – STRONG indications emerged yesterday that planned resumption of the suspended former Senate leader, Senator Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South next week at the expiration of his six month suspension slammed on him by the Senate would face fresh hurdles.
For him to resume next week, it was gathered yesterday that the major obstacle that would stop him is the condition that he must withdraw his case challenging his suspension by the Senate.
According to a source close to the Senate leadership, the resumption date of Ndume had been worked out from the date he was suspended to tally with the six months suspension duration, just as the calculation showed that the former Senate Leader would resume plenary on November 14, 2017, adding that if Monday October 2nd is declared a public holiday by the Federal Government, Ndume’s resumption date would be November 15, 2017.
The source said that another hurdle Ndume would face, would be for him to withdraw the case he instituted challenging his suspension in court, adding that it would be setting a bad precedence to readmit Ndume to the Senate chamber while he was challenging the authority of the Senate to discipline him in court.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi had also said that Ndume’s resumption will not take effect next week because of the two-month recess the Senate went, even as it was gathered that the recess period would be deducted from the six-month while public holidays which fell within the period, will also be excluded from the period.
It would be recalled that the Senate on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, suspended Senator Ali Ndume for a period of six months.
The decision of the Senate was sequel to the presentation of a report by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, led by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East.
He was suspended following his point of Order he raised that the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki was on a vengeance mission against the Comptroller- General of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Col.Hameed Ibrahim Ali , retd as the agency was said to have impounded a bulletproof SUV valued at N298 million imported into the country by Saraki following his alleged refusal to pay the Customs duty of N74 million that was expected to be paid on the car.
While Ndume was suspended and later sacked, the Senate however cleared Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Dino Melaye of Range Rover and Certificate scam.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki has sworn in Andrew Uchendu as the Senator representing Rivers East following the sack of Senator George Sekibo.
Uchendu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) replaces George Sekibo of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Sekibo was sacked by the Court of Appeal in Abuja on August 24, 2017 to uphold the earlier ruling of the Rivers State National and State Elections Petitions Tribunal.
The tribunal had in its judgement delivered on June 29, 2017, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to PDP’s Sekibo and directed that a fresh one be issued to Uchendu of the APC as the duly elected senator for Rivers-East.
The newly sworn in Uchendu who arrived the Senate chambers, was accompanied by his family members and associates who came to witness the swearing in ceremony, just as he was dressed in the traditional Niger Delta regalia.
The gallery of the Senate chambers was however filled to the brim with family members and political allies of the newly inaugurated Senator.
The new senator did not stay in plenary till the end as he was said to have proceeded to an undisclosed place where the celebration for his swearing in was put in place by his friends, family members and his party.