Tension!!! National Assembly On Fire As Saraki, Ndume Flex Muscles

By Amako Nneji December 21, 2016 09:07

Tension!!! National Assembly On Fire As Saraki, Ndume Flex Muscles

The political horse trading and permutation on Tuesday, December 20, took a new twist, as Senate President Bukola Saraki, met with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, barely 24 hours after the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume met with Buhari.

‎The meetings were allegedly connected with the travails of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal.

Recall, that the Senate had refused to endorse Magu’s appointment as EFCC Chairman, while calling for the sack and prosecution of Lawal, over allegations of corruption.

‎Ndume, had in a bid to save Magu’s job, rushed to the Presidential Villa, allegedly to curry Buhari’s sympathy.

While briefing the State House Correspondents, Ndume had clarified that Magu was not rejected, rather the Senate only demanded some clarifications from Buhari, following a report received from the Department of State Services, DSS.

‎Though, presently the leadership of the Senate has dissociated itself from the comments made by the Leader, Ndume.

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‎Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, who reiterated the earlier position of the Upper House, said Ndume’s claims were null and void.

‎Addressing a Press Conference, Sabi said that the position of the Senate, was that the nomination of Magu has been rejected, and has been returned to Buhari.

Abdullahi said Ndume who serves as the Senate Majority Leader, cannot speak for the Red Chamber.

‎“The call to national duty is crucial. So I am here based on series of calls and text messages from you, about what you thought are conflicting messages.

“It has become critical for the Senate to clarify issues. The 8th Senate believes in its integrity; we uphold and promote the rule of law, which is the basic thing about our democracy. We are committed to doing things differently, to stabilize the polity in the collective interest of Nigerians.

“I would like to make the following clarifications. I am holding the votes and proceeding of Thursday. We had two votes and proceedings, because we had to go into a joint session to receive Buhari.

“Our votes and proceedings are the official records of what transpired in Chamber. I briefed you on Thursday, to the effect that the Senate is announcing that in view of security reports, we were unable to confirm Magu. We then rejected and returned the nomination to Buhari for further action,” the Senate Spokesman said.‎

Sabi noted that, “Media reports, emerging especially from interviews granted by Senator Ndume, meant that we have to clarify issues.

“For the records, I am the official Spokesman of the Senate, and I intend to discharge this with honour and integrity, because the sanctity of the institution is crucial to the sustenance of democracy,” Sabi noted.

According to the Senate Spokesman, “I have only one point of reference, which is, the votes and proceedings. The Senate deliberated on the nomination of Magu for the position of EFCC Chairman, with regard to security report available, but referred the other nominees for screening, since nothing much was found about them.

“This is the only official position of the Senate. What I say, I say on behalf of the Senate. Nigerians should be guided. There is no ambiguity in what we said.

“Senate is an institution, and we are working with the Constitution, and whatever rules we use, are drawn from the constitution. We also want the media to be guided in the matter, because of some misleading news in the public domain.”

Speaking further, he said, “Even with respect to the indictment of the SGF, the genesis was the motion raised by Kaka and Ndume, and the Senate decided to take a look at the abuses, and SGF was found to be part of the abuses.”

He however, made it clear that the Senate considered the only security report submitted to it, and took its decision; pointing out that the Senate was not aware of any other report.

“Truth is sacrosanct. For every line of command there is a line of communication. For the records, the leader that I know is Saraki, and administrative leader is the Clerk to the Senate.

“The report we are talking about was sent to the Acting Clerk of the Senate. If you talk about two reports, which one is the second one? I heard a report was sent to Ita Enang (the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters), but I am not holding brief for him. He is a Liaison Officer, and if there is any communication, Saraki or Clerk are in charge.

“It will be unfortunate for anyone to say that Senate will be subjected to a report sent to the Liaison office. This does not undermine his office; he is one of the highest ranking officers.

“Let us not bring Ita Enang to a crossfire. It is the prerogative of the Senate, and it has exercised that prerogative,” Sabi submitted.

Some Political Analysts, suggest that President Buhari may have opted for these meetings to be adequately briefed, so as to know how best to handle and resolve the issues.

‎Saraki’s meeting with the President, reportedly lasted for about 45 minutes, and he was said to have observed the 4 pm Muslim prayer before leaving the Villa.