I have no power to reinstate Ndume, - Saraki

Bukola Saraki

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Monday said he had no power to reverse the recent suspension of a former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume.

He also said there was no big deal in the perceived rift between the executive and legislative arms of government, saying there would always be issues arising from one or two things.

Saraki said these in an interview with State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At the meeting which lasted over 30 minutes were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang; and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives) Samaila Kawu.

Ndume was last week suspended from the Senate for six months for not ‘making due diligence’ before filing a petition against Saraki and the lawmaker representing Kogi-West senatorial district, Dino Melaye.

The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, and some elders from the state had visited Saraki to apologise on behalf of Ndume.

But the President of the Senate told reporters that he had no power to take a decision on the appeal, saying he would only convey the message of the governor on the matter to the larger house that suspended Ndume.

He said being a Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives only made both occupiers of the offices first among equals.

Saraki said, “We should try and understand how the parliament works. I wish I had these powers you give me.

“The President (of the Senate) or Speaker is first among equals, they are just presiding officers. People give us these powers that we do not have.

“Decisions that are taken in plenary are decisions of all but I have a role to be able to convey the message.

“I will convey the message of the visit of the Governor of Borno and the Senate is one. We are all one family. There would be issues like that; there is nothing that is sacrosanct or rigid.”

Saraki said the committee set up by Buhari on the rift between the two arms of government was a good development but added that there would always be issues on one thing or the other.

He said, “When you have an arm of government that has to do with confirmation, there would always be issues. For example, for the NDDC board, we rejected three people from the NDDC.

“We are all part of one government. That is why despite all these, major decisions are still taken.

“Like I said, we did a critical amendment on the INEC Bill by Tuesday or Wednesday.

“For the first time in the history of the legislature, we are going to lay a report on the PIB for consideration, it has never happened before. For the past 20 years, it has not reached this stage.

“So, it is work in progress for the interest of Nigeria.”

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