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Sen Ndume Says SP Akpabio Can’t Rule Him Out Of Order

The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Muhammed Ali Ndume, has shed more light on the reported frosty relations between him and the President of the Senate, Obong Godswill Akpabio.

Senator Ndume gave insight on the simmering issue while featuring as a guest on Channels Television, titled “Sunday Politics”, monitored in Abuja.

The Chief Whip also gave justification for the purchase of a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) allegedly worth N160 million for each member of the 10th National Assembly, stressing that the vehicles are needed to facilitate the legislative functions of Senators and members of the House of Representatives.

Senator Ndume, who represents Borno South on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), harped on his ‘superior experience’ in legislative matters compared to the Senate President.

According to him, his role involves ensuring that the Senate President adheres to established legislative norms and not the other way around, especially when issues conflict with these norms.

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As reported, Ndume had recently walked out of a Senate plenary session after being ruled out of order for citing the wrong standing order to support his points of order.

The action had caused reactions in the chamber, leading to the Senate going into an executive session. However, Senator Ndume later explained that he did not walk out but only went out to say his prayers.

Responding to questions from the host of the programme, on his reported grouse with SP Akpabio, he maintained that he cannot destroy the house he had helped to build. This was the role he played in Akpabio’s election as Senate President.

“I don’t have a problem with Akpabio. My problem is maybe the way he handles the situation.

“What happened the last time, I think, was misunderstood or taken out of context.

“Don’t forget, I came here to campaign for Akpabio. I can’t build a house and destroy it, but I think the main problem is that I am more experienced than him, and when I try to correct him, sometimes, like in that incident, he overruled me!

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“You can’t overrule your chief whip! No. I am supposed to be the one to call him to order, not him.

“On that day, he was supposed to invite me, and we would talk one-on-one, but he took advantage of the gavel,” Senator Ndume said.

Speaking on the alleged plot to impeach Akpabio as President of the 10th Senate, the Chief Whip said: “I am hearing that, but it isn’t new. But it isn’t likely to happen; I can tell you that.”

Ndume further explained why the National Assembly decided to purchase N160 million worth of SUVs for members in the Senate and House of Representatives.

“We should look at the cost implications and the alternatives. For the issues that are being raised, the public has a right to do that, but for me, I come to serve, and in serving the people, my major constitutional role is oversight and making laws.

“If I have to do that, effectively, then I need a vehicle that will enable me to do that. That is the idea of buying the vehicles and over the years, the cost of the vehicles has gone up,” he stated.

He stressed that the Peugeot 406 cars which was the vehicle given to the Senators during the era of President Olusegun Obasanjo could no longer serve the purpose and that the lives of lawmakers were at risk.

“I think we lost two senators or so because of the instability of the vehicles. That was why we settled for Land Cruisers. But I don’t know the cost of the vehicles they are buying; that’s supposed to be the responsibility of the management.

“But it isn’t also news that public servants, especially those in the ranks of ministers and heads of parastatals, often buy vehicles. Yes, I understand that the cost is high, but when you look at the cost-benefit analysis, you begin to wonder: What is it that is supposed to be done?

“Do you now say that there are no vehicles for the Senators because of the state of the economy?”

Making clarifications on his “Unexplained Wealth Bill”, the Chief Whip urged President Bola Tinubu to present an executive bill on the matter.

On the bill, he stated, “I have tried several times, but, you know, the excuse is here and there. I think the best way to get this across is when the bill comes from the executive.

“I think the current president should sign an executive bill on unexplained wealth. I have tried several times, but, you know, there were excuses here and there.

“I think the best way to get this across is when the bill comes from the executive, or in the interim, the current president should sign an executive bill on unexplained wealth.

“I know of civil servants that live in houses that not only their income, their salaries, or their life pension—assuming they would live in this world for 90 or 100 years—cannot buy.

“The same thing with some of our politicians, especially politically exposed persons like ministers; you find, as you rightly said, some of them come to the National Assembly, and suddenly, there is so much money.”

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