Recall that the ruling All Progressives Caucus in the Nigerian Senate sacked the Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, as its leader on Tuesday.
The decision was conveyed in a letter to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, which was read on the floor of the chamber during the plenary, he also announced Senator Ahmed Lawan as its new leader.
While speaking exclusively to Premium Times hours after his removal on Tuesday, Senator Ndume said he was removed for insisting that the Senate did not follow the proper procedure before declaring that it had rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Speaking further, the lawmaker said he insisted that in view of the Senate’s standard procedures and practice, Magu had not been rejected by the Senate because there was no confirmation hearing for the nominee to defend claims made against him.
“What I said was that for us (Senate) to claim to have a rejected a nominee sent to us by the president, we have to follow the right procedure, and observe our rules.
“The nominee should have been called into the chamber and presented before senators who will then openly vote on whether to accept or reject his or her nomination.
“In the case of Magu, that was not done. We only had a closed-door session and when we emerged the Senate spokesperson claimed that he had been rejected. I had to set the record straight by saying we never rejected the nominee.
“This is because you don’t accept or reject a nominee at a closed session. Our votes and proceedings are there as evidence of my claims,” he said.
Ndume said the clarification he made unsettled some of his colleagues, who immediately began to plot against him.
“I was surprised that such a simple and harmless clarification could rattle and anger some of my colleagues,” he said. “I thought it wasn’t a big deal to disagree over issues. I didn’t realise that that simple matter would snowball into a plot to remove me.
“The other day, somebody mentioned to me that the Senate President had commissioned Dino Melaye to collect signatures to remove me. I didn’t pay much attention to the information because I actually thought it was a joke or a rumour.
“I didn’t feel that disagreeing with colleagues, and sharing my understanding of what transpired at our closed session was an offence, grievous enough to cause my removal.”