Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) has disclosed that the Senate under the leadership of Dr Bukola Saraki had failed Nigerians, saying that the legislative arm of government has been privatized by Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara.
Ndume stated this while speaking at the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) Forum on Sunday in Abuja.
He said, “I really want to admit that we have failed in our responsibility to the people somehow, but we the members are not responsible for that.
“It is more of the responsibility of the leadership that shut down the Senate abruptly because of personal issues.
“It is very unfortunate. The Senate is the Nigerian Senate, it is not the senator’s Senate; it is not Saraki’s Senate.”
Ndume added that it was very unfortunate that the Nigerian National Assembly had been reduced to Saraki and Dogara.
He further added that Saraki and Dogara had privatised and personalised the Nigerian legislative arm of government which should not be the case.
He said, “They have privatised and personalised the institution, and the reason we were elected to be there, had been relegated to the background.
“This is very unfortunate, but I want Nigerians to know that the Senate had not been shut down by the Senators or members of House of Representatives.
“The Senate was shut down by Saraki and Dogara and they should be held responsible for that.”
The Senator while expressing sadness that the Senate was yet to reconvene, stressed that the Senate must move on without Saraki.
He, however, said that he had made concerted efforts to see how the Senate could reconvene, especially to consider about five matters of national importance, but without success.
According to him, the matters were abandoned by the National Assembly before it proceeded on the long recess.
“We tried everything to get the Senate President or the leadership to reconvene the Senate, but that had not been successful,” the lawmaker added.
Commenting on the recent registration of 23 more political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ndume said, “It is the immaturity in our democracy that led to the volume of parties we have.
If our democracy is getting matured, it will shave the parties to a point where we will have may be two, three or four political parties.
“I am an advocate of having less than five political parties, because some of these parties are not parties actually,”
He noted that some of the political parties did not have offices in Abuja and the 36 states of the federation as required by law.
Ndume said, “I do not know what happened to the law, and because the law that set up INEC clearly defined the procedure for forming a political party.
“The law says you must have office in each of the 774 Local Government and office in all state capitals, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).”
He noted that such office according to the law, must meet certain standard.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the recent registration of 23 more political parties by INEC had brought the total number of parties in the country to 91.
Ndume also disclosed that Saraki has no justification to retain the seat of Senate President, since he has defected to the opposition party.
He said that Saraki should know that he was not supposed to retain the position of President of the Senate, saying that he could not “eat his cake and have it’.
According to Ndume, Saraki has lost all rights to retain the seat since he had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said the only thing that could save Saraki from being impeached and remain as President of the Senate, was a vote of confidence from his colleagues.
“I think that is the only thing he can do may be; he did that before, let him try it; let him call for vote of confidence from us, his colleagues.
“I assure you that he will not get the majority, “Ndume said, adding that he was disappointed in Saraki.
He described the statement credited to some politicians that Saraki could only be impeached by two-thirds of members of the Senate , as not only wrong, but also a total misconception.
The Senator stressed that since Saraki decided to leave the APC for the PDP, he should have left the position as he could not be in a minority party and be President of the Senate.
Ndume recalled that as minority leader in the House of Representatives when he defected to PDP from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), he resigned from the position without being asked to do so.
He said it was natural that he left the position because he could not move from the minority to the majority and still be a minority leader.
He said Saraki could therefore, not move from majority to minority and still be the President of the Senate.
Ndume noted that there should only be one Senate President who is supposed to come from the majority political party, adding that it was an aberration and abnormal for someone in the minority to lead the majority.
He said, “I am still thinking and hoping that Saraki will do the right thing and the right thing is for him to relinquish that position for the majority to preside.”
NAN reports that Saraki while leaving the APC in July on his twitter handle, said: “I wish to inform Nigerians that, after extensive consultations, I have decided to take my leave of the APC.”
Saraki had alleged continued persecution as one of the reasons he was leaving the APC.
The APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, while reacting to the development on August 14, said that Nigerian Senate could not be subjected to minority rule.
He noted that there was nowhere in the world where minority had presided over majority in the house, adding that the honourable thing for Saraki to do after defecting to the opposition PDP, was to step down.