In a shocking move Tuesday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the Senate, announced the replacement of Senator Ali Ndume as its Leader and Ahmed Lawan as the new helmsman.
Making the announcement at the end of yesterday’s plenary, President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, said the ruling APC lawmakers arrived at the decision at a meeting, held on Monday night in Abuja.
But Ndume, at a press conference after his replacement, denied knowledge of his removal. He said he was unaware of a meeting held by APC Senators where it was agreed that he will be replaced.
Ndume left the chamber five minutes before the announcement was made by Saraki. He claimed that he left the chamber to observe his ablution.
Ripples Nigeria, had in December, exclusively reported that APC Senators were plotting Ndume’s removal as Senate Leader, following his opposition to the rejection of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Multiple sources familiar with the in-fighting within the house of the ruling party, had told Ripples Nigeria in December that series of meetings were held by a number of key and powerful APC Senators who have accused Ndume of sabotaging the Red Chamber.
Ndume, had told State House correspondents soon after the Senate rejected Magu that the Red Chamber did not reject him. He had also alleged that the embattled Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal was not indicted by the Senate.
His assertion, which sharply contradicted the position of the Senate, did not go down well. Twenty four hours after he made the assertions, the spokesman of the Senate,Abdullahi Sabi, told National Assembly correspondents that Ndume acted alone and that his statement did not reflect the position and views of the Senate.
He said, “Our votes and proceedings are the official records of what transpired in chamber. I briefed you on Thursday to the effect that the senate is announcing that in view of security reports we were unable to confirm Magu. We then rejected and returned the nomination to Buhari for further action.”
An aide to a ranking Senator from North West, who is also a former governor, had also told Ripples Nigeria in December that at least two meetings had been held by over 20 APC Senators and that many more will follow immediately after the yuletide period.
He had said that President of the Senate, Senator Saraki was not ready to directly intervene and save Ndume. The aide said Ndume has already lost the support of his fellow Senators from the North East.
“My oga (boss) has attended at least two meetings. APC lawmakers are not happy and may spring a surprise when the reconvene in January. If nothing is done by the leadership of the party, Ndume maybe removed as Senate Leader.
“The forces against him are numerous. Many former governors who are the ‘big boys’ in the Senate are unhappy with the way he has handled the issue of Magu. They feel he is working with the executive and against the Senate,” the source had said.
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