Reacting publicly for the first time to his suspension from the Senate, the lawmaker representing Borno South, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume has revealed that his travail at the upper chamber was sparked by his support for the ideals and policies of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmaker, who added that he was handed a six-month suspension for speaking the truth, vowed on Sunday that he would not tapologise to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in order to get reinstated.
The lawmaker representing Borno south, Ali Ndume, has stated that he would not apologise to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in order to get reinstated, following his suspension by the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Ndume was slammed with the suspension by the Senate after he had requested the upper legislative house to investigate online media report that accused Saraki, and a fellow senator, Dino Melaye, of wrongdoings, to the extent that the the allegations against the two breached his privileges as a Senator.
The report by Sahara Reporters had accused the Senate President of using fake Customs papers to import an official vehicle while Melaye was accused of lying that he graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University.
But after investigations into the matter by the Senate committee on Public Petitions and Ethics, the lawmakers were cleared of the charges, as Ndume was accused of raising a false alarm without first of all verifying the report. This culminated in his suspension.
Shortly after it was reported that Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state had met with Saraki trying to persuade him to reverse Ndume’s suspension, the Senate President told newsmen that he alone cannot make that possible, adding that it is the decision of the Senate.
But addressing a crowd of supporters who turned out to receive him when he visited his constituency, the Senator insisted that he does not regret the actions that led to his earlier removal as Senate Leader and his recent suspension.
He pointed out that his suspension was because of his insistence on doing the right thing, arguing that it was not just because of his call for the investigation of his colleagues as widely believed in some quarters.
Ndume, who was at Shani, Biu, Bayo and Kwaya Kusar local government areas of Borno state where he was received by politicians and monarchs, reasoned that if his suspension was based on corruption or abuse of office, he would not have been well received by his people.
He however, assured that though he is on suspension, he would continue to work for his people, particularly in the area of execution of constituency projects.
While speaking at the palace of the Emir of Biu, Umar Aliyu, the senator said: “Your Royal Highness, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it took us hours to squeeze through the crowd of supporters to get to this place. And this gives me the greatest joy because my people still appreciate me.
“I will not remain a Senator for the rest of my life; but for the time I serve as the representative of my people, I shall continue to do and tell the truth. I know if I had erred, I would not have been received here. But I enjoy the support of my people because they know my suspension was because I spoke the truth.
“I know those that suspended me are going now regretting their actions because of the massive protest that trailed my illegal suspension. After seeing the support that I enjoy from Nigerians, the same people that suspended me came to say I should tender an apology so that my suspension could be lifted. But I said no to that because I did not commit any offence in the first place.
“They later came to say the Senate President, Senator Melaye and I should go and reconcile our difference; and I told them that I had no issue with either of them, so there is nothing to reconcile – as far as I am concerned we have a good working relationship.
“But I thank the Governor of Borno State, and Your Royal Highness, the Emir of Biu, and all those that sent emissaries in seeking to ensure that this issue is resolved. We are still talking, but I know I had not committed any offence.”
Ndume continued: “My religion enjoins me to always stand on the path of truth even if I turn around and found that everyone has deserted me.
“Firstly, I know my trouble with them started because of my support for the policies and ideals of President Muhammadu Buhari. Secondly, when Ibrahim Magu’s name was brought to the Senate as nominee for the Chairmanship of EFCC, some group in the senate insisted that he would not be cleared. And in my position as the then Senate Majority leader, it was incumbent upon me to support any nominee sent in by the Executive. Besides that, the same nominee is from my state, Borno; besides, he had committed no offence to be denied the senate clearance.
“Above all, the majority of Nigerians loved him because he is doing the job well even as an acting chairman of EFCC.
“Thirdly, when he was brought in for screening and it was not successful, I took courage to tell them that they were acting out of the Senate order.
“And lastly, my position on the allegation levelled on the Senate President as well as the issue of Senator Dino’s certificate by a news medium was the final straw they needed to break the camel’s back.
“But Your Royal Highness, it is incumbent upon we the Senators, under Order 14-15 that if there is any issue or development or any action that tends to rubbish the integrity of the Senate, we stand up to ensure that we defend the name of the Senate. All I asked for was to investigate an allegation published in a news medium against two of our colleagues.
“The President of the Senate has all the powers to rule me out of order if he felt that the issues I raised were not welcomed on the floor of the Senate. But because they had always wanted to crucify me, they seized the moment to unleash their built-up angst against me. So, they gave a dog to hang me. And they did that when majority of the senators were not on seat.
“I thank God this turned out good to me, because it made me know how much love I enjoy from Nigerians.”