By Mumini Abdulkareem
Suspended senator and former senate leader, Ali Ndume, at the weekend provided more insight into his ordeal, vowing not to apologise to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to get reinstated.
But Saraki’s media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu told National Pilot last night in a telephone chat that it is only the senate spokesman, Abdullahi Sabi that can reply Ndume’s comment on the issue.
“It’s the Senate spokesman, Sabi Abdullahi that ran reply him on the issue. But he is currently in Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj,” Saraki’s aide added.
Ndume spoke on Saturday as a crowd of supporters turned out to receive him when he visited his constituency, Borno South, for the first time since his suspension from the senate.
Hsaid he has good working relationship with Saraki.
He was placed on a six months suspension by his colleagues for demanding that the Upper Legislative House investigate allegations by newspaper publications against Saraki, and a fellow senator, Dino Melaye, of improper activities.
Following Ndume’s request, the Senate conducted an investigation that cleared the lawmakers, while Ndume was subsequently punished for raising a false alarm.
On Saturday, the former senate majority leader, embarked on a visiting tour of some parts of his constituency where he was welcomed by supporters who declared support for him.
He said his suspension was not just because of his call for his colleagues’ investigation but for his truthful stance on issues.
Ndume informed a gathering at the palace of the Emir of Biu that he does not regret the actions that led to his earlier removal as Senate leader and his recent suspension, adding that if his suspension was based on corruption or abuse of office, he would not have been well received by his people.
“It took us hours to squeeze through the crowd of supporters to get to this place. And this gives me the greatest joy because my people still appreciate me.
“I will not remain a Senator for the rest of my life; but for the time I serve as the representative of my people, I shall continue to do and tell the truth. I know if I had erred, I would not have been received here. But I enjoy the support of my people because they know my suspension was because I spoke the truth.
“I know those that suspended me are now regretting their actions because of the massive protest that trailed my illegal suspension. After seeing the support that I enjoy from Nigerians, the same people that suspended me came to say I should tender an apology so that my suspension could be lifted. But I said no to that because I did not commit any offence in the first place.
“They later came to say the Senate President, Senator Melaye and I should go and reconcile our difference; and I told them that I had no issue with either of them, so there is nothing to reconcile – as far as I am concerned we have a good working relationship.
“But I thank the Governor of Borno State, and Your Royal Highness, the Emir of Biu, and all those that sent emissaries in seeking to ensure that this issue is resolved. We are still talking, but I know I had not committed any offence.”
The Borno Governor, Kashim Shettima, had intervened and met with Saraki while trying to ensure the reversal of Ndume’s suspension.
“My religion enjoins me to always stand on the path of truth even if I turn around and found that everyone has deserted me.
“Firstly, I know my trouble with them started because of my support for the policies and ideals of President Muhammadu Buhari. Secondly, when Ibrahim Magu’s name was brought to the Senate as nominee for the Chairmanship of EFCC, some group in the senate insisted that he would not be cleared. And in my position as the then Senate Majority leader, it was incumbent on me to support any nominee sent in by the Executive. Besides that, the same nominee is from my state, Borno; besides, he had committed no offence to be denied the senate clearance.
“Above all, the majority of Nigerians loved him because he is doing the job well even as an acting chairman of EFCC.
“Thirdly, when he was brought in for screening and it was not successful, I took courage to tell them that they were acting out of the Senate order.
“And lastly, my position on the allegation levelled on the Senate President as well as the issue of Senator Dino’s certificate by a news medium was the final straw they needed to break the camel’s back.
“But Your Royal Highness, it is incumbent upon we the Senators, under Order 14-15 that if there is any issue or development or any action that tends to rubbish the integrity of the Senate, we stand up to ensure that we defend the name of the Senate. All I asked for was to investigate an allegation published in a news medium against two of our colleagues.
“The President of the Senate has all the powers to rule me out of order if he felt that the issues I raised were not welcomed on the floor of the Senate. But because they had always wanted to crucify me, they seized the moment to unleash their built-up angst against me. So, they gave a dog to hang me. And they did that when majority of the senators were not on seat.
“I thank God this turned out good to me, because it made me know how much love I enjoy from Nigerians,” he said.
The Senator said though he is on suspension, he would continue to work for his constituents especially in the area of constituency projects execution.
While the Emir of Biu, Umar Aliyu, assured the senator of his fatherly support and good wishes, his counterpart, the Emir of Shani, Nasiru Mailafiya, who was visited earlier, called for the reversal of Mr. Ndume’s suspension.