The new Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday, assumed duties, even as his predecessor, Ali Ndume complained that due process was not followed in his removal.
Lawan walked into the chamber around 10.45am, alongside the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
Lawan who hugged and exchanged pleasantries with his colleagues, was ushered into his seat by some APC Senators.
The deposed Senate Leader, Ndume, sat two seats away from his former position in the Red Chamber, specifically in Lawan’s former seat and was also dressed in his regular white ‘agbada’.
The business of the day was yet to fully commence, when Ndume got up to protest his removal as Senate Leader. In his explanation, he said he was not given fair hearing.
Contrary to his earlier stance that he was unaware of his removal, Ndume, recanted and instead, claimed that due process was not followed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators.
In his remarks, Ndume said: “Mr. President, I discussed with you before the sitting that sequel to the event that happened yesterday (Tuesday) in my absence. I went to pray when there was a change in the leadership particularly the one that affected me
“I felt it is important for me to be given the chance to speak. When I was nominated as the Senate Leader by my colleagues, 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.
“As Leader, 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. I did that because I felt it will bring peace, but I believe that God’s time is the best.
“Just like the APC Senate caucus has the right to say we have lost confidence in you, I think that I should be given the chance to say something on record. I did not do anything wrong to the best of my knowledge, but as I said, since 38 of my colleagues signed it, I agree.
“So, if they signed that they have lost confidence in me, I agree. I should have at least, been confronted with allegations of what I have done wrong and be given the chance to defend myself.
“But since you have lost confidence in me, then I have no moral ground to continue to lead this Senate because that means there are some people that are not with me.
“I want to say that this Senate is an institution that we must protect. How do you protect the institution? You do that by obeying the rules and the tradition.
“So, what I am saying is that anytime our colleagues err in one way or the other, we should be given the chance to say something.”
Quoting from Senate Standing Rules Order 32 (6), which addresses the issue of change of leadership, Senator Kabir Marafa countered Ndume, insisting that due process was followed.
Order 35(6) states that, “after due notice of the Senate, each party has the right to change its Leader or Whip, provided that the change is made by majority of the Senators of the party in the Senate.”
By Ehisuan Odia….
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