The suspension of former Senate leader, Sen. Ali Ndume by the The Senate is funny to the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Barr. Adesina Michael Adeyemo.
Ndume had been suspended by The Senate following his observation that some principal officers of the upper legislative chambers should be investigated, to free themselves of negative impression by Nigerians.
Speaking on a television programme monitored by Inside Oyo, explained that the action amounts to victimisation of Ndume’s position. “There is freedom of speech. What Ndume did was calling the attention of the house to protect their integrity; to free themselves from whatever negative impression or perception the people may have against The Senate. When he raised that motion under privilege rules, what The Senate ought to do is to refer that case to the inspector general of police. Let IGP report back to the house. The Senate cannot determine the case. You cannot be a judge in your own case. Who nominated the chairman of the ethics committee?”
Explaining what Ndume’s constituents stand to lose with the suspension, he disclosed that “Ndume would not be allowed to participate in the activities of the house. In fact, his office will be shut. He will not be seen within the premises of The Senate. That is the case once a lawmaker is suspended. They will ask him to make a recourse to court. You know how our judicial system works; we need to address that too. Issues like this are not supposed to take the normal judicial process. If you have issues that bothers on constitution, you should be able to have a court that hears it within one week, in a special court. You just direct the Chief Justice of Nigeria not to take much time. Some people are taking advantage of our delayed justice delivery system.”
He went further: “His people have been denied representation. He is not there by his own ability; some people sent him there, to represent them. You are suspending the entire people in that senatorial district where Ndume comes from. What that means is that they have been suspended and denied right of paricipation in the affairs of government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is the implication.”
He said Senate President Bukola Saraki ought to have stepped down with all the allegations on his neck.
He also added that “We tend to forget the oath of office that we take when we assume office. When you look at the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, you take like two or three oaths -oath of office, allegiance to the constitution and federal republic of Nigeria. The violation of those laws call for, probably, a trial or a charge in court. But we don’t look at it. We should subject ourselves to what the oath of allegiance is all about. Any elected personality who breach that oath of office or oath of allegiance should be called to question. Now, all the activities you have seen so far in the NASS, they see themselves as being above the law. You can see what they did when it comes to code of conduct; they quickly amended the law to suit their purpose. A law that has been there for a long year. Nobody questioned it; they just felt they needed to change it to suit themselves. That is not The Senate. Once your leadership is under trial, as far as that law isconcerned, you stay action; you cannot amend the law at that particular point in time. So several illegalities have been committed. But we have a very difficult challenge in constitution; the governor and president can be removed but it is so cumbersome to remove any lawmaker who violates the law. There is no mechanism to sanction that legislator by the people.”
On how to solve the impasse, he said he does not see the problem ending soon. “I cannot say the solution is at sight; it cannot be possible with the kind of people we have in The Senate now; you cannot get that now. It has to do with who heads that arms of government. Who is there and what character is he parading or associating with it. In the NASS, you have people that are far away from the happenings in the house. You have some set of senators whose duty is just to attend and do whatever you ask them to do but you have the inner caucus that determines what happens. Members of the inner caucus and the leadership, you will see them. You have people who have been there since the inception of this Fourth Republic. They are already an institution in that place; they will refer to new members as neophytes, you are just coming; this is what we do it here, it is better you go there and see what is happening.”
He blamed the president and the national leadership of the party for allowing it to fester for so long. ”The President has allowed the problem to go too far. You know we have separation of powers, checks and balances but that checks against The Senate has not been there. Secondly, at the inception of this NASS, you can see how their leadership emerged. In fact, the rule was disobeyed for them to emerge; they didn’t follow the rule. Everybody just decided that this is the country of all-comers; let’s do it the way it suits us. You cannot allow that if you want a stable government. I blame our party for allowing this mess to happen. I had expected the leadership of the party to come on board, invite all these characters. The party should take charge. I am talking of the chairman of the party and the NEC to summon a meeting. There is that supremacy of party; you cannot allow things to degenerate. Somebody must intervene. They can call the president to order. Invite all the people that are concerned that things are not moving well.
“The president has enormous power to wield over anybody. How did a director of DSS that reports directly to the president, release a security report to a senator and you allow him to remain there? Who is supposed to have that briefing of security report? Is it the senators or the president? What is happening under his watch? The man you appointed releasing a security report against your nominee and you allow that to go? No, something must be wrong somewhere.
“We have had a president who put The Senate where it was supposed to be. It is not an illegality. Which one is paramount? Public interest or self interest? We are running a presidential system of government; the president shares the blame and praise for everything; either good or bad. Since it started, have you heard that the president summoned the leadership of the National Assembly? What is he doing? Let him summon everybody, including the leadership of the party and other stakeholders on how we can get out of this mess. How are we going to curtail all those who have been misbehaving? It is corruption that is fighting back.
“No manner what, the senate president must know that he belongs to the APC more than the PDP senators who supported his emergence. And once the leadership of the party are able to bury their differences, they must tell him the truth. APC has the majority in the National Assembly. We must not allow this to continue. But the party must take charge.
“We have seen failures from both the executive and the national assembly. The party should wade it. I am appealing to all our lawmakers to put aside all their differences and think of public of public interest,” he suggested.