ABUJA – Senators of the All Progressives Congress extraction yesterday, replaced Sen. Ali Ndume (Borno South) with Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North) as leader of their leader in the Senate of the Federal Republic.
By inference, political watchers interpret the replacement to mean change of baton in the office of the Leader of Senate. The convention is that the leader of the majority party caucus of any of the two chambers of the National Assembly is usually the Leader of that chamber
The removal of Sen. Ndume who has been the senate leader was contained in a letter to Senate President Bukola Saraki, by the APC caucus in the Senate, detailing their removal of Sen. Ndume.
According to the letter which was read by the SP on the floor of the Senate shortly before adjournment yesterday, Sen. Ahmed Lawan leader is now the APC senators caucus.
The APC senators further stated that their decision was arrived at during the party’s caucus meeting on Monday, January 9. Once the announcement was made, the session went cold and the Senate President directed Sen. Bala Ibn Na’ala, Deputy Majority Leader to move for adjournment which was seconded by Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Minority Leader.
“A letter from the APC senate caucus dated 10 January: His Excellency, the President of the Senate; NOTICE OF CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP; This is to inform Your Excellency and the Senate that after several meetings held on Monday, 9th of January, 2017, and upon due deliberation and consultation, the APC Caucus of the Senate, hereby wish to notify you of the change in the leadership of the Senate that the new Senate is now Senator Ahmad Lawan, representing Yobe North Senatorial District.
Kindly accept our esteem regards and best assurances. Yours faithfully”, Senate President Saraki read the letter.
Later in their respective press briefing, Sen. Ali Ndume and Sen. Abdullahi Sabi, Senate spokesperson claimed ignorance of the APC decision and the subsequent announcement by the Senate President, and would not talk much on the matter.
Sen. Ndume explained that he was out of the chamber to pray and that by the time he returned to the chamber the session had adjourned for the day, only to be told that he had been removed as leader of the APC caucus.
“Let me say I don’t have much to say because, actually, I was leading the Business of the Senate and when it was like quarter to one 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 (journalist) approached me and said leader, what happened? and I said what happened? and he said there has been announcement in the change of leadership, I said I didn’t know.
And at this point, that is the position. I didn’t know that there was change of leadership because, I was not there. I went to prayers and I didn’t know what actually happened and I cannot say much than that”, Sen. Nude told the journalists.
On his part, Sen. Sani noted: “I am speaking for the Senate and of course as you can hear from the announcement it was a letter from the APC caucus.
I am not the spokesman of the APC caucus but I am a member of APC and I am here to speak for the Senate so it will be very difficult for me and I don’t want to find myself in saying who sent you.
For the other one l’m not the spokesperson of the caucus. So the announcement is made and of course, the Senate made the announcement and the announcement is self explanatory.
Another leader was announced and as far as I am concerned it is an announcement that somebody is announced as the new leader of the majority because it is the majority leader”.
Sen. Ali Ndume was a member of the Federal House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011 representing Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives on the platform of ANPP.
He was unanimously elected minority leader in the lower house’s 6th Assembly in 2007. In December 2010, barely 100 days to 2011 elections Ndume decamped to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and as a result of this, the PDP re-opened the sale of nomination forms for the senate and Alhaji Sanda Garba, the only aspirant, stepped down for him.
However, he later teamed up with the new PDP (nPDP) along with 20 of his colleagues in what eventually became known today as the APC.
In 2015 election, he was re-elected and became the Leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 8th Assembly.
Conversely, Sen. Ahmed Lawan was initially chosen by the APC to be the President of Senate but was rejected by the senators who preferred Sen. Bukola Saraki. Again, he was anointed to be the Majority Leader but was again rejected by the APC caucus in the Senate, who preferred Sen. Ndume.