The Senate has made a major move against members who openly criticised the amendment to the Electoral Act seeking to reorder the sequence of polls during general elections in the country.
The first casualty is lawmaker representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who was on Wednesday removed as the Chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum, The Punch reports.
Shortly before plenary was adjourned, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, read a letter from the NSF signed by the Public Relations Officer, Senator Dino Melaye, announcing the sacking of Adamu.
The letter read, “This is to inform the Senate that majority of members of the Northern Senators Forum have removed Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum for financial mismanagement and maladministration. We announce his replacement with Senator Aliyu Wamakko immediately. Find the attached names and signatories of members.”
Ekweremadu however did not read the names of the signatories, while the list was not made available to journalists after enquiries.
Also at the plenary on Wednesday, lawmaker representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, apologised to the Senate over his comment that reordering the poll schedule was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
Based on a petition by Melaye, the Senate had on Tuesday resolved to query him for linking an action by the Senate as targeting Buhari, while the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions was mandated to carrying out the task.
Omo-Agege however raised a point of order at the plenary to apologise to the Senate and withdrew his comment.
He said, “Yesterday (Tuesday), I wasn’t here. My colleague and brother, Senator Dino Melaye moved a motion. That motion arose as a consequence of the debate on the sequence of elections in the Electoral Act amendment, which was passed by the Senate on Wednesday.
“In the course of that debate, and subsequent to that debate and passage, I did address the press at the Press Centre. There were certain remarks that I made in the course of that press interview which my attention have been drawn to, to be offensive not just to Senator Dino Melaye but to the entire Senate.
“I rise today to apologise to the leadership and the entire Senate for that remark. Indeed, I take it back.”
Responding, Ekweremadu said, “My view is that it takes courage for a man to say he is sorry. So, in the circumstance, especially as the matter had already been referred to a committee, what I will suggest is that the committee should quickly meet with him and let us get their report as quickly as possible, so that we will be able to take a decision.”
Adoption of the report by the Senate and the House of Representatives Conference Committee on the amendment to the Electoral Act had caused a sharp division in the ranks of the APC caucus.
Adamu and Omo-Agege are part of the 10 All Progressives Congress, senators who walked out of the Senate chamber when the lawmakers passed the amendment in concurrence with the House of Representatives.
Briefing journalists after the plenary, the Chairman of the Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, who was accompanied by two other members of the NSF, senators Shehu Sani and Isa Misau, faulted the 10 aggrieved lawmakers for giving false information that 59 senators were against the amendment and that it was targeted at Buhari.
Sabi-Abdullahi however declined to speak on Adamu’s removal as the caucus leader, referring the matter to Sani and Misau.
Sani, who also said he was not in good position to speak on the matter, however, agreed to disclose the reason behind Adamu’s sacking.
He said, “We must admit the fact that Abdullahi Adamu is a distinguished senator and an elder statesman. I will prefer a situation where he is in the Senate (building) to answer such weighty allegations made against him. It is not good to shave the head of a man in his absence.
“There are some things which some of my colleagues cannot say but I am not used to holding back what is the truth. When we resumed as senators, Senator Ahmad Lawan tendered the sum of N70m to the northern caucus of the 8th Senate. That N70m was the money gathered by northern senators from the 7th Senate.
“Now the rumours going round, which I don’t know whether they are true but which most senators know, is the fact that there were allegations that some monkeys raided the farmhouse of some executives of the Northern Senators’ Forum and carted away some of the money.”
Sani however stated that it was very important that Adamu “should be around to protect and defend his integrity.”
Sabi-Abdullahi also said, “Let me say that whatever has been said remains an allegation. At the appropriate time, I want to believe that the person who is being accused will have his day to make sure he has cleared his name.”
The forum’s spokesman however declined to speak on the amount allegedly mismanaged by Adamu.
Adamu however declined to speak to journalists who besieged his office to get his reaction to the allegation.
He told one of the journalists who was allowed into his inner office to interact with him that he would speak on the matter later.
A member of the NSF from the North-East, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, alleged that Adamu’s sacking was not a popular decision by the forum. He stated that members of the caucus should have been called to a meeting to determine Adamu’s fate.
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