The Senate through its chairman, committee on media and public affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), has said while it welcomed the return of recently reinstated senator, Ali Ndume, it was not unduly excited.
Mr. Sabi said this while briefing journalists at the National Assembly on Thursday. He said the senators had no ”hard feeling towards the newly restored senator.”
Mr. Ndume was suspended early this year for calling for an investigation over allegations of illegal importation a bullet-proof vehicle involving Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and certificate forgery levelled against another colleague, Dino Melaye. He was allowed to return on Wednesday.
When asked why the atmosphere and reception towards Mr. Ndume by his colleagues on his return was cold and unfriendly, Mr. Sabi dismissed this.
“Ali Ndume is a senator, just like everyone else in that chamber. He came back and went round to greet everybody. Did anyone turn him down when he stretched his hand for a shake? I shook him.
“Almost everyone else did too except those who were not within his reach. What more do you offer than a very good handshake? How do you show that you’ve missed a friend than a very good handshake? Do you expect us to get up and clap for him as he comes in? I don’t know what your definition of warm reception is,” Mr. Sabi said.
He applauded the media as well for receiving Mr. Ndume warmly and also lauded him (Ndume) for going round to greet his colleagues.
“The media gave him a very good reception yesterday by focusing on his entrance into the chamber yesterday. He also gave us very good handshakes,” he said.
Speaking on the point of order raised by Mr. Ndume, which was rejected by the senate president, Mr. Sabi said Mr. Ndume flouted senate’s rules over re-introducing a matter that has already been treated.
“The point he raised about the one-minute silence for late Senator Adeleke contradicts our rules; I think rule 56(3) or so which says a matter that has already been taken and concluded shall not be taken except by a fresh motion which will be done by the leave of the Senate President.
”This is a very simple thing. He just wanted to express that he missed that moment when we stood up to observe that one-minute silence and he wanted to have his. But unfortunately, it goes against our rules. No hard feelings, we are all brothers,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the Senate as well as the entire country will see ”a better Ndume.”
“Let me also say that because (you) punish your child does not mean that you hate the child or that you are a wicked person. In most instances, people who receive punishment turn out to be better. I want to assure you that you will see a better Ali Ndume in the chamber,” he said.