SENATOR NDUME: WHEN THE CHICKENS ARE HOME TO ROOST — Maiwada Dammallam

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Not that anybody need to waste literature to improve the chances of Senator Ahmed Lawan clinching the coveted position of the President of the 9th Senate. That’s a done deal Insha Allah! However, it’s too good an opportunity to pass without highlighting its lessons for future generations to learn from. The intrigues of the 9th National Assembly power tussle began with the intrigues of the 8th Assembly. In a way, the 9th Assembly is designed to remedy the pain of betrayals suffered by APC and President Buhari with an added advantage of restoring and asserting party supremacy.

The history of the 8th senate will not be completed until the deceptive roles and machinations of Senator Muhammed Aliyu Ndume are included as a full chapter for students of betrayal. In the build up to the June 9, 2015 inauguration of 8th assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki along with Senator Ali Ndume and a few others formed a group called the “Like Minds’’, putatively to take control of the affairs of the 8th senate for objectives far from noble as was suspected and confirmed by future events. He played a critical role in what is still being described as the most smooth and perfect coup d’etat in the chambers of the National Assembly. While the coup was in the offing, Ndume skillfully hunted with the hounds and ran with the hares. He came out of the race clutching a consolation prize of “House Leader”, a position he held until the collapse of the surreptitious “like minds” coalition which culminated with his sack as Senate House Leader.

Senator Ndume is the proverbial man who ate all his cake and still believe he’s entitled to have it. The 8th Senate was a story of political treachery and disrespect to party supremacy which crippled the first term of President Buhari by dampening the enthusiasm of his administration through parliamentary acrobatics. APC arrived the 8th Assembly with more than required members to give President Buhari a comfortable support to implement the CHANGE agenda to the fullest. However, that’s not to happen because people like Senator Ali Ndume decided to put their ambitions over the interest of Nigeria.

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The election of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President as choreographed by rebellious APC Senators in partnership with PDP Senators was the most embarrassing and impacting event of President Buhari’s administration. The role played by schismatic Ndume not only left the administration bruised and depleted but susceptible to future machinations of Bukola Saraki whose ambition to be president has always been an open secret and topmost of his priorities.

It was an embarrassed President Buhari that learned about the election of Senate President Saraki by 57 Senators when he was getting ready to attend a meeting with APC Senators which agenda was to agree on candidates for the NASS leadership. APC and President Buhari has zeroed on Senator Ahmed Lawan and Reps Gbajabiamila for Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives respectively, and the 9:00am meeting was to solicit for the support of members of the two chambers to implement the wish of the President and the Party — a wish agreed by pundits will allow President Buhari the needed flexibility and critical parliamentary support to implement his agenda.

That’s not to be. Saraki was elected as President of the Senate after garnering the block support of the PDP and some APC senators led by Senator Ndume who rebelliously and disrespectfully broke rank with their party. To the embarrassment of President Buhari, Senator Saraki who assured him of attending the 9:00 am International Conference Centre meeting failed to turn up perhaps, as a result of a marathon meeting he and the renegade Senators like Ndume held with PDP members to cement their support for him.

The Ahmed Lawan faction of the APC were waiting for the presidential parley when Senator Saraki and the “rebel” senators of the APC moved into the National Assembly complex, Saraki, pushed by Ndume ignored the protocol for the president’s formal proclamation for the inauguration of the National Assembly and went for the kill with 57 senators. To the consternation of Nigeria, Saraki and the rebelling APC Senators worked overnight and produced new rules for the elections with the help of outgoing Senate President, David Mark. Saraki was quickly sworn-in as the new Senate President even as his APC colleagues were at the ICC waiting for President Buhari to address them. It was an embarrassed APC and President Buhari that sat and watch PDP governors from Rivers, Ondo and several other leaders of the party witnessing the election and swearing in of Saraki as designed and executed by frontline members of the Senate led by Senator Ali Ndume.

So, on what moral ground is Senator Ali Ndume vying for the senate presidency after squandering his trust and loyalty by lavishing both on the ambition of Senate President Bukola Saraki? Ordinarily Senator Ndume should be somewhere trying not to be noticed in the ongoing NASS leadership power tussle to avoid retributive justice for his past betrayal against President Buhari and the APC which, arguably, was largely responsible for the birth of an uncooperative leadership in both chambers of the 8th assembly which, in turn, constituted an impediment to the overall agenda of President Buhari.

Senator Ndume should have known his cup was full when the APC have him dropped as the Senate leader and was replaced by Senator Ahmed Lawan. The choice of Senator Lawan was neither coincidental nor accidental. It was informed by the confidence he enjoys within the party and the presidency for his unflinching loyalty. His ability to restore kinship and camaraderie in the deliberately polarized APC caucus he inherited from Ndume says a lot about his levelheadedness and unalloyed loyalty to the APC and President Buhari.

Actually APC stated that it viewed the election of Senator Lawan as a concrete expression of faith by the APC Senate Caucus in the party’s efforts to resolve the lingering issues that had trailed the election of Senate leadership just as it believed the move to be a major step forward in efforts to reuniting the various interest groups in the Senate, while presenting a common legislative front for the party. Ndume must have courage and confidence the size of Zuma rock to assume APC could forgive his sins and refuse and very convenient opportunity to reward the loyalty and consistency of Senator Lawan.

Senator Ndume’s ambition is a clear case of a man trying to outrun his shadow. He chose to play a fast one on APC and President Buhari by ganging up with Saraki to execute an unprecedented manoeuvre which left APC almost striped naked of its aura of invincibility with which it cruised wonderfully through the stormy 2015 elections. They left APC wide open for the antics of future rebels that eventually culminated with APC losing its majority status beside being a punching bag to clowns like Dino Melaye.

There’s no better time for APC to punish Senator Ndume and reward Senator Lawan than now.

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