A former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) has blamed the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for “the little or no integrity” that currently exists in the Senate.
He said this while speaking on a programme on Channels Television where he said he regretted supporting him (Saraki) to emerge as the Senate President.
While accusing Mr Saraki of targeting those who oppose him, the senator said, “Look at the Senate now, we have been reduced to unbearable level of integrity, just because of few people, few persons, that is wrong.”
The Senate had in March 2017, suspended Mr Ndume, who was former Majority Leader for 90 legislative days (six months).
Mr Ndume was suspended for asking his colleagues to investigate public allegations of impropriety against Mr Saraki, and another senator, Dino Melaye.
However, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, which investigated the matter rather recommended that Mr Ndume be suspended for one year.
The report, which was presented by the committee’s chairman, Samuel Anyanwu, was considered by the lawmakers at plenary.
Mr Ndume was subsequently suspended for six months for “bringing Melaye, his colleague, and the institution of the senate to unbearable disrepute”.
Mr Ndume, not satisfied by the reason given for his suspension, headed to the Federal High Court to challenge the action of the senate.
His suspension was declared as illegal by the court and the court ordered that he be paid all his outstanding salaries and allowances.
Mr Ndume was recalled in November, last year.
Speaking on the show, Mr Ndume stated that Saraki who was put in the leadership position “turned out to be another thing”.
The lawmaker said his relationship with Saraki went sour because he (Ndume) speaks the truth.
He said despite this, he has maintained a cordial relationship with colleagues at the upper legislative chamber.
“We have Senators’ President now, instead of Senate President. I speak the truth a lot even if I’m alone, and I stand by it. We started with the issue of Magu and the second issue was that of the car importation, and then the issue of Dino Melaye’s certificate and then I was shockingly suspended for 180 days and it was not the committee that recommended that.
“My colleagues did not know about the report that was used to suspend me illegally and unconstitutionally for 180 days. That’s why I went quietly to court and you see the response of my people then.
“It is not fair for one among equal to take himself up, and use, take advantage of the gavel to rule instead of to lead, instead of to preside, that is what the Constitution says. The Senate President is to preside, he doesn’t even have a vote, he has no voice.
“By the time you accept being the Senate President, you have lost your right to some extent as a senator until the Senate ties, that is when you come in to break the ties. This is not the case, as Senate President will say, ‘I direct so so so and my members.’”
He described Mr Saraki as an individual who thinks he owns the Senate.
“He dishes out the direction, and dishes out what he thinks. 108 heads are better than one. But for now, Senate at (a) certain point is like Dino and Saraki. It is very unfortunate,” Mr Ndume said.