The Senate has in recent weeks been enmeshed in series of controversies that has seen it pitch tents against several federal government agencies which at the end has got Nigerians thinking ‘for how long would these controversies last’.
It is no longer news that the failure to confirm the Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu led to amongst other things, the suspension of former Senate Leader,
Ali Ndume following a Point of Order raised by the Borno South Senator bringing to the notice of the Red Chamber some publications in the social media about the educational qualification of Senator Dino Melaye and allegations that the Senate was on a war path with the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali over the alleged seizure of an SUV meant for the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
What these allegations threw up for most Nigerians actually is that it brought to the fore issues that were hitherto hidden from public eye, because if Hameed Ali was able to pass Senate screening and confirmation, all the hullabaloo about the seized SUV would have been kept under the carpet.
But of more concern is the decision to suspend Ndume, initially for 181 days, then finally for 6 months after some intervention on the floor of the Senate. What Nigerians are asking is ‘‘Was the action of Senator Ndume wrong’’, wasn’t he expected to bring to the notice of colleagues an issue capable of tarnishing the image of the ‘Red chamber’
It is disturbing that Ndume was asked to go home and the people of Borno south denied representation for another six months, even when some senators are not in support of the suspension but would rather not speak because they fear they would be perceived as a voice of dissent after the Senate took a decision that should be binding on all.
If nothing exposes the clear intent at double standard and unnecessary vindication, the statement emanating from a south south Senator that Ndume is seen as an ‘Angel’ outside but that lawmakers in the Red Chamber ‘know him better’ clearly shows that all is not well within the Nigerian Senate.
The clear intent at double standard is further exposed in the attention given to the Twin Security Report from the DSS on Magu which the Senate Through Dino Melaye used in nailing Magu, while in the case of Hameed Ali the red chamber disapproved of a response letter from an officer said to be lower in rank to the CG of Customs, even attempts by Ndume to bring this to the notice of his colleagues was shouted down.
Developments in the 8th senate has clearly shown that the politics played goes beyond interests, it is such that anyone considered to be a foe and is of divergent political expression and stance would be tactically kept shut or even pulled down and kept in that position permanently for a long time, despite party affiliations.
In the tussle for leadership at the earlier life of the present senate keen observers would recall that Senator Kabiru Marafa made his views known without minding whose ‘horse or horses was gored’ even in the estimation of some lawmakers Marafa made more fledging remarks about the present Senate leadership but today he appears to have walked free.
No matter how binding the decision of the Senate may be, one thing is however crystal clear, elections are not won in groups, it takes popularity to win the polls and one thing the 8th senate lacks is ‘Popularity’.
The present Senate as constituted came with a Brand tag which it must work hard to redeem, in fighting like the one that led to the suspension of Ndume should be avoided because if the truth must be told the suspended lawmaker or those sympathetic to him may likely fight back and there is no mincing word that some senators were against the suspension order slammed on Ali Ndume, this played out on the floor of the red chamber, while other lawmakers have equally voiced their resentment on the matter.