The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday in Abuja dismissed insinuation that there was discontent in the Senate over the removal of Ali Ndume as Senate Leader.
Mr. Saraki on Tuesday announced that the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the Senate in a letter to the Senate leadership had replaced Mr. Ndume (APC-Borno) with Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe).
The senate president, who spoke to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said: “The institution is bigger than every senator.
“There is no crisis in the National Assembly, things like this do happen and as you said the institution is bigger than everybody and I am sure that he and everybody else will always work for the interest of the institution and for the interest of the country.
“Everything is calm, solid and fine.’’
Mr. Saraki also dismissed reports that Mr. Ndume was sacrificed, saying “do I look like someone that does things like that?”
Meanwhile, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum(Downstream), Kabiru Marafa, has said the removal of Mr. Ndume as Majority Leader was not based on his stand on Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Ibrahim Magu’s confirmation.
Mr. Marafa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that it was the prerogative of the political party to appoint or reject any principal officer as contained in Senate’s Standing Rules.
He declined to give further reasons for Mr. Ndume’s removal but said that 40 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers appended their signature in favour of the action “based on different reasons’’.
According to Mr. Mafara, who is spokesman of the so-called Senate Unity Forum, a faction of APC senators in support of new Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, the important thing is that the lawmakers that appended their signatures wanted Mr. Ndume removed.
“The assertion that Ndume was removed because of Magu’s case is not true because he didn’t do for Magu as much as I did for Magu.
“I am not from the same place with Magu as Ndume is but I fought for him.
“I am doing the APC bidding in the senate and as long as it is not against the Constitution, I am here to protect it.
“The President submitted Magu’s name and I worked for Magu and a lot of senators did,’’ he said.
On Mr. Ndume’s acceptance of his removal, Mr. Marafa commended him for his “sportsmanship”.
However, he faulted him for claiming that due process was not followed in his removal.
According to Mr. Marafa, “we as a senate are guided by our rules; whatever we do are guided by our rules and those rules are offshoot of the Constitution.
“Section 60 of the Constitution gives us the right to regulate our own procedure anyhow we want to do it. The moment we say this is how we want to do it, we have a responsibility to do it that way.
“If you go back to Order 32, Section 6, you will see how principal officers can be removed.
“It says you can remove them by majority, it didn’t say you have to be consulted.
“This is unlike the executive officers like the President and governors. The Constitution says that you have to confront them with your allegations. You cannot just sit down and impeach a governor,’’ he said. (NAN)