Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Kabiru Marafa, said removal of Ali Ndume as Majority Leader was not based on his stand on Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Marafa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that it was the prerogative of the political party to appoint or reject any principal officer as contained in Senate’s Standing Rules.
He declined to give further reasons for Ndume’s removal but said that 40 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers appended their signature in favour of the action “based on different reasons’’.
According to Mafara, who is spokesman, Unity Forum, a faction of APC senators in support of new Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, the important thing is that the lawmakers that appended their signatures wanted Ndume removed.
“The assertion that Ndume was removed because of Magu’s case is not true because he didn’t do for Magu as much as I did for Magu.
“I am not from the same place with Magu as Ndume is but I fought for him.
“I am doing the APC bidding in the senate and as long as it is not against the Constitution, I am here to protect it.
“The President submitted Magu’s name and I worked for Magu and a lot of senators did,’’ he said.
On Ndume’s acceptance of his removal, Marafa commended him for his sportsmanship.
However, he faulted him for claiming that due process was not followed in his removal.
According to Marafa, we as a senate are guided by our rules; whatever we do are guided by our rules and those rules are offshoot of the Constitution.
“Section 60 of the Constitution gives us the right to regulate our own procedure anyhow we want to do it. The moment we say this is how we want to do it, we have a responsibility to do it that way.
“If you go back to Order 32, Section 6, you will see how principal officers can be removed.
“It says you can remove them by majority, it didn’t say you have to be consulted.
“This is unlike the executive officers like the President and governors. The Constitution says that you have to confront them with your allegations. You cannot just sit down and impeach a governor,’’ he said.
The lawmaker urged newsmen to always carry out their findings before reporting on any matter of public interest to avoid misleading the people.
He called on them to equally interpret rules correctly to avoid misinterpretation when same rules were applied in different situations.
He said, “If tomorrow something happens to someone, people won’t say we are applying the rules selectively or that when we were dealing with Ndume, we violated the rules and followed the rules in another instance.
“We followed the due process.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Ndume was on Tuesday removed as a Majority Leader of the Senate by the APC Caucus in the upper chamber.
He was replaced by Sen. Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe North), who until his appointment was Chairman, Committee on Defence.
Meanwhile, Ndume on the floor of the senate on Wednesday accepted his removal, saying it was for the promotion of democracy.
However, he adduced that due process was not followed, claiming that he was not consulted before the action.