The Nigerian Senate today
The resolution of the upper legislative chamber was sequel to recommendations by the Senate committee on Ethics and Privileges on media reports against two Senators – Senate President Bukola Saraki and Dino Melaye.
had alleged that Senator Melaye ‘did not graduate’ from the Department of Geography at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The platform also alleged that Senate invitation of Customs boss, Hameed Ali was due to his failure to clear Saraki’s bulletproof SUV.
Senator Ndume in a point of order on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, called on the Senate to investigate the allegation 'so as to correct any misconception against the upper chamber.'
His words: “During the week, two issues that bother on our privileges came up that has to do with our distinguished Senate President, Bukola Saraki, reported in the paper I have it here and with your permission, I will want to lay it down. The headline says: 'Senate on vengeance after Nigerian customs seize senator Saraki's range rover'.
“My colleagues that are following particularly online platforms have seen the reign of abuses on this senate. The misconception of the fact that we invited the customs CG based on basis of a very unpopular policy that affects the people we represent but now we are faced with this and precedence have been formed in this national assembly.
“During the 4th assembly Salisu Buhari was accused of certificate forgery, it was investigated and determined. In the 5th assembly, Bello Masari was accused of certificate forgery, he was investigated and cleared.
“In the 6th assembly, Dimeji Bankole was accused of not having an NYSC certificate, it was investigated and cleared.
“Accordingly, I will appeal that we investigate and our colleagues will be cleared,” he added.
Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy Senate President who presided over plenary then referred the matter to the committee on ethics and privilege. The committee headed by Senator Samuel Anyanwu had four weeks to report on the matter.
Appearing before the committee on Monday, March 27, the vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof Ibrahim Garba said Senator Melaye graduated from institution’s Geography department in 2000.
Similarly, the importer of the armoured Range Rover, Tokunbo Akindele, also told the committee that the seized vehicle does not belong to Saraki.
Asked if Senator Ndume was satisfied with the testimonies of the witnesses and persons concerned, he raised an issue concerning Senator Melaye’s results.
“Well, if the VC has said that Dino graduated from the university in 2000 then so be it. But I don’t know how somebody will serve in 1999 and graduate in 2000,” Ndume said.
There was rumble in the meeting room.
Thereafter, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi read a copy of Melaye’s NYSC discharge certificate which noted that the Kogi west lawmaker served in 2001.
Ndume went on to say that the reason for the point of order was for the Senate committee to investigate and clear Saraki and Melaye of any wrongdoing.
But, Ndume’s explanation came rather late.
Recall that it was reported that Melaye was commissioned to collect signatures of other Senators elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ndume's sack as Senate leader.
So, it was assumed that Ndume raised the point of order to ‘embarrass’ Saraki and Melaye.
The committee recommended among others to suspend Ndume for “bringing up such matter at this time of our national life when caution, patriotism, careful consideration and diligence should be our watch word.”
The suspension was to last for one year but for the amendment by Senator Nwaoboshi why prayed that it be reduced to six months.
Nwaoboshi accused Ndume of ‘maligning’ the Senate when the upper chamber rejected Ibrahim Magu twice as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
After Magu was first turned down by the Senate, Ndume insisted that the upper legislative chamber did not reject him as EFCC czar.
Again, Ndume adviced that President Buhari, standing by his conviction that Magu committed none of the crimes he was accused of, could renominate him to the Senate for confirmation as EFCC boss.
Ndume had said that if Magu could be rejected due to allegations of corruption, then Senate President, Sarakishould not be occupying the position as he has also been accused of same.
Again, Ndume 'jokingly' said that if he could be removed as Senate leader, Ekweremadu could also lose his seat someday.
What a joke!
While some have expressed shock over Ndume’s suspension, others likened his case to that former appropriation chairman, Abdulmumim Jibrin who was suspended over allegations of budget padding against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers.
What went wrong?
Guess 'politics' happened.