Senator Ali Ndume on Wednesday accepted his removal as the Leader of the Senate in “good faith”.
Ndume, however, warned the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, to watch his back, saying he may be the next victim of the politics in the upper chamber.
Ndume’s removal was announced on Tuesday when he left the plenary session of the Senate to pray at the National Assembly mosque.
Reacting to the development during plenary on Wednesday, Ndume, who came through Order 43 (personal explanation), expressed dissatisfaction with the procedure used to remove him from office as Leader.
He stated that to best of his knowledge, he did nothing wrong to warrant his removal.
He said: “I went to pray yesterday and there was change in leadership, particularly affecting me, and I felt it is important for me to have been 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 it 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 of 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 (Ekweremadu) are one of those that even warned me here to stop saying that I will resign, but yesterday I was not around, 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 lose 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 Melaye 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 confronted with allegations on what you have done and be given the chance to defend yourself.
“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 want to say that this Senate is an institution that we must protect.
“How do you protect the institution?
“It 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 okay, it may be, God forbid, Ekweremadu tomorrow.
“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 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 response, Ekweremadu applauded Ndume for his courage to accept what happened in the best interest of the Senate.
Ekweremadu said: “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 harmoniously 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 North East and the role you played in ensuring that the humanitarian crisis there are being addressed, not only in this Senate but by the Federal Government.”
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