Weekly political notes
Senate Suspends Former Leader Ali Ndume
The Senate has suspended its former majority leader, Senator Ali Ndume, who had asked for investigation of allegations of importing a bullet proof Range Rover with fake documents involving Senate President Bukola Saraki and that of perjury involving Dino Melaye.
The Senate reached the decision, Wednesday, after the resolution to uphold the recommendation of the committee on ethics and privileges chaired by Samuel Anyanwu.
Ndume was suspended for six months, instead of one year originally recommended by the ethics committee.
Anyanwu, whose committee convened investigative hearing on the two matters on Monday, reported that Ndume failed to conduct proper investigation before making the allegations.
But during the investigative hearing, Ndume told the committee he did not make allegation or raise a petition against the duo of Melaye and Saraki, but only raised the issues, having read them in the newspaper.
Who said Senate’s suspension of Ndume came to Nigerians as a great surprise. It is not, considering that it has been in the habit of the National Assembly leadership to go after any member who raises a voice of opposition against a common trend.
Since Ndume was removed as leader in a controversial manner, he has never been on the same page with the Senate leadership on any issue. He made himself a hard nut to crack, forgetting that it is a matter of time for leadership’s sledgehammer to get him.
Before Ndume asked for investigation into the allegations against Saraki and Melaye, he had openly criticised the Senate’s rejection of the confirmation of the acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, who hails from the same state with him. An action that did not go down well with the Senate leadership, who now capitalised on Ndume’s call for investigation into the allegations against the duo of Saraki and Melaye to suspend him. This was even when the allegations were in the public domain, before Ndume’s call for investigation to, according to him, protect the integrity of the Senate.
With Ndume’s suspension, no other senator will ever dare the Senate leadership, even if it decides to defecate in the Red Chamber. That is the style of leadership and followership in Nigeria’s National Assembly. No wonder, the two chambers are being run like a secret cult, where all members must abide by oath of secrecy and companionship no matter the situation. It is quite a pity that this has become a tradition and Nigerians seem helpless.
Senate Suspends RECs Confirmation In Protest Against Buhari’s Refusal To Sack Magu
The Senate last week stood down the confirmation of nominees for positions of Resident Electoral Commissioners, after expressing misgivings about President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sack Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) despite his repeated rejection by the lawmakers.
The Senators also accused members of the executive of disrespecting the National Assembly. The Senate therefore resolved to suspend the confirmation in protest.
With this decision, is it not obvious that the Senate is trying to hold the country and its leadership hostage? If not, of what importance is this resort to puerile, political and vindictive decision not to confirm the REC nominees? Who will ever believe the Senate leadership’s recent denial that it did not threatened to shut down President Buhari’s government? Is this action not tantamount to shutting down the government?
Hope the Senate knows that while it has the constitutional right of confirming or rejecting President’s nominee, it has no power to dictate whom to sack or hire. It is expected that as a lawmaking body the Senate is in position to know the law, but its action has proved otherwise in this case.
While it is true that the Senate deserves respect from the executive in line with the spirit of separation of powers, the Senate should be mindful of its constitutional limits.
It is unfortunate that the APC controlled and dominated Senate has become opposed and antagonistic to the APC-led government of President Buhari, more than the PDP.
Why has it become too difficult for the APC led-government to have synergy with the Senate leadership? What is the bone of contention between the Senate and the executive? How is it benefitting Nigerians? It appears the APC government is paying for lack of party supremacy and politics of strange bedfellow?
Melaye Storms National Assembly In Academic Gown
Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West drew a lot of attention to himself last Tuesday when he appeared for plenary in academic robe and cap.
The senator walked gingerly into the red chamber clad in full academic regalia, smiling as cameras clicked away.
Melaye’s first degree at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria had come under scrutiny in the last weeks. Many online reports had it that the senator did not graduate from the institution like he claimed.
However, the question surrounding his graduation was laid to rest on Monday when the Vice Chancellor of ABU, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, confirmed that the senator graduated from the University.
He told the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions that Melaye graduated in 2000 as Daniel Jonah Melaye. He added that the Senator graduated with a third class degree in Geography.
Describing Melaye as the clown of the Senate is like stating the obvious. Since the inauguration of the 8th Senate, Melaye has carved a niche for himself. Not only because of his quality contributions, but for the dramatic scenes he creates. So, he is as well a jester, as he is a lawmaker.
From the onset, Melaye pledged his loyalty to the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, who many see as his godfather. Melaye didn’t hide his dislike for Buhari’s presidency for the fact that it is seen to be anti-Saraki. Whenever issue that has to do with the Presidency is before the Senate, Melaye is always at the forefront to raise opposition.
When the controversy over his academic records came to the public domain, not many know that Melaye was awarded third class and that he spent more than four years for a four-year course in the university.
But for those who know Melaye’s antecedent, it is not surprising seeing him in the Chamber in academic gown after the ABU authority confirmed he was a graduate of the institution. To Melaye, that is a continuation of his stock in trade-jestering-and the best way for him to celebrate his victory over his enemies.
At this point, the grade Melaye made and years he spent in the school is immaterial to him (Melaye) and his supporters. After all, the constitutional requirement to occupy a seat in the Senate is school certificate, not a university degree with first class grade. So, what is the hullaballoo over Melaye’s third class grade? But the question to ask is how come his people elected him, instead one of the hundreds of renowned academics and intellectuals in his senatorial zone? That is a puzzle to unlock
Governors Lack Morality To Accuse Buhari Of Non-performance-Senator Sani
Senator representing Kaduna Central district on APC platform, Shehu Sani on Tuesday said state governors lack the moral right to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari for non-performance.
Sani, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts, made the remark after a meeting with community leaders in Chikun Local Council Area of the state.
“I will say it well; no governor in Nigeria has any moral right to call President Muhammadu Buhari a failure.
“You collect monthly Federation Allocation every month, so you cannot call President Buhari a failure.
“You collect Ecology fund, Paris Club fund and bailout fund so you cannot call President a failure,” Sani said.
According to him, President Buhari has achieved a lot in government better than most state governors.
“If you don’t want Buhari to have a cabal, you should dissolve the cabal in your own houses; and if you want Buhari to have listening ears of Nigerians, you must perform.”
Sani’s newfound love for lauding and defending President Buhari’s performance in office is suspicious, hypocritical and political. This is typical of a Nigerian politician, which Sani is trying to become as 2019 approaches.
It appears Sani wants to take advantage of his political enemy, Mallam Nasir El-rufai’s dislodgment from the Presidency, to warm his way into Buhari’s heart. If not, what magic has Buhari perform in governance that suddenly endears him to Sani? Is it not the same Sani, whose committee investigated and found the Secretary To The Government of the Federation (SGF) guilty of corruptly enriching himself in a grass-cutting contract mess in the Northeast? This same Sani, has been critical of President Buhari’s government and the cabal in the presidency, to the extent that some party stalwarts called for his immediate suspension?
Well, this development has confirmed that Sani has learnt quickly the politics of sycophancy and praise singing that characterised the game in Nigeria. But what do you expect, especially as the Senate is being run like a cult, where members learn and do the same thing.