Fresh facts emerged last night over circumstances that surrounded the removal of the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume.
While some sources said Ndume was “sacrificed” by the powers that be in the Senate in order to seal a peace deal with the Presidency, others said he should be blamed for not playing his cards very well in the murky waters of politics.
Though the Senate APC Caucus, in their letter to the Senate President Bukola Saraki, said the decision to oust Ndume was agreed on Monday, credible sources said the plan was carefully and secretly hatched within the first week after the senators went for the Christmas and New Year break.
According to Ceoafrica, one of the schools of thoughts said Ndume, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Borno South, got “carried away by the euphoria of the power vested in the office of the Senate Leader” and therefore relaxed and ignored other powers.
A source said he was caught in the delicate web of power play between the National Assembly- specifically the office of the Senate President on one hand and the Presidency on the other.
“His utterances against the position of the Senate on the confirmation of Magu as acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were just the final straw, some of the real problems have been there for over a year,” he said.
“Nobody can contest the fact that Ndume is a fearless and dogged politician, right from his days in the House of Representatives but sadly, he was unable to fully acclimatize with the power play in the Senate, which is exactly what consumed him at the end of the day,” the source said.
Another source said Ndume was caught in between “dual loyalty” and in the process “hit himself” below the belt while strenuously trying to satisfy the ego of two masters.
“He was loyal to Senate President Saraki and at the same time extremely loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari and we all know that the two principals have their issues,” the source said.
Ndume rode his way to emerge the Senate Leader at the height of the power tussle that trailed the emergence of Saraki as Senate President.
For one, Ndume was never the preferred candidate of his ruling party, the APC, the same way Saraki was not the choice of the party and the Presidency during the inauguration of the 8th Senate in 2015.
No wonder, the APC national headquarters did not mince words yesterday in welcoming the exit of Ndume while unequivocally endorsing Lawan for the post.
Senator Lawan (APC, Yobe North), was the preferred candidate of both the APC and the Presidency after the 2015 elections.
Therefore, Ndume was removed at a time when Saraki, who enjoys the support of PDP senators, including large number of APC senators, many of whom have been in the senate for years, besides serving as governors, ministers and others key offices, succeeded in endearing his relationship with the presidency.
An insider said Saraki succeeded in achieving this through resisting direct and indirect intimidations from certain quarters, subtle threats from his part by deploying the elaborate powers at his disposal while deliberating on issues brought to the Senate by President Buhari.
“With these arsenals, Saraki warmed his way to the hearts of both the APC national headquarters and the Presidency, who were fully aware that without his cooperation, they would spend the whole of their four years parambulating,” he said.
The source said the Senate President and his supporters sealed the deal by sacrificing Ndume in favour of Lawan, who should have been the Senate President in the first place, according to the original plan by the ruling party.
The second school of thought suggests that Ndume could not last long as Senate Leader because he allegedly crossed his boundaries.
“No doubt, Ndume had exerted a lot of influence as the Senate Leader but erroneously forgot that the workings of the Red Chamber, including the inestimable powers of various vested interests cannot be toyed with,” he said.
“You see, we’ve some powerful forces, especially former governors and in some cases ministers. They influence decisions from underground and once you step on their toes, you would surely pay an expensive price because they can tacitly neutralize your office,” he said.
He said when Buhari’s request for $30 billion loan was thrown away by the Senate, Ndume said he would plead with his colleagues to give it a second thought at a time they were endlessly trying to assert their influence.
“Look, the senators wanted to use the loan issue as a bargaining chip because in the first place, if there was cordial relationship with the Presidency, they wouldn’t have thrown it away, they would’ve simply asked the Special Adviser to the president on National Assembly matters to quickly get the details.
“But Ndume fell into the trap in order to please Buhari and the rest is now history,” he said.
He said Lawan was not interested but was persuaded by the APC, some powers in the Presidency and even some of his colleagues to accept the new role of Senate Leader so as to put an end to the endless war that so far has subjected the APC to ridicule.