The crisis in the leadership of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly has taken a turn for the worst as a cold war has started between Saraki and his deputy on one hand, and the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, on the other hand, Punch Newspaper reports this morning
It was revealed according to Punch Newspaper that trouble started when Saraki allegedly discovered that Ndume was not on the same page with him on the crisis he was having with the Presidency.
A ranking senator, who craved anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, confided in one of our correspondents during the week that Saraki suddenly discovered that Ndume, who was allegedly close to the Presidency, was no longer pleading his case whenever he was in the Villa.
The senator explained that since his emergence as senate leader, Ndume allegedly warned Saraki to be wary of Ekweremadu and other members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the red chamber who might want to pitch him against the presidency.
He was said to have specifically advised Saraki to avoid any form of confrontation with President Muhammadu Buhari, but should rather do everything possible to support his administration, so that the latter would extend a hand of fellowship to him.
The source said, “The trouble between Saraki and Ndume started when some of Saraki’s ‘men’ in the Villa started feeding the Senate President with reports of how Ndume had allegedly joined members of the Senate Unity Forum to work against him and Ekweremadu.
“Don’t forget, Ndume contested for deputy senate president against Ekweremadu in this Eighth Senate. His initial intention was to be senate president before realignment between him and Saraki made him to settle for deputy senate president.
“It was when Saraki discovered that all attempts by him to see President Buhari did not succeed despite Ndume’s assurances that he started listening to other close colleagues, who advised him to adopt a confrontational strategy against the Presidency.”
Attempts to speak with the Senate President on the issue failed as he is currently on Lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia, while calls put across to his deputy did not also connect.
However, when contacted, the Senate Leader denied knowledge of any face-off between him and the presiding officers of the senate.
Ndume said, “I am not aware of any crack in the Senate leadership. In fact, I am hearing that for the first time.”
But some of Saraki and Ekweremadu’s aides, who spoke with one of our correspondent off the record in separate interviews, confirmed that Ndume was no longer on the same page with the Senate presiding officers.
An aide to Saraki said, “It is true. Ndume is no longer on our side but there is no cause for alarm. We have taken necessary measures. We have been observing him for quite some time now but he has shown to us where he belongs.”
Likewise, an aide to Ekweremadu, who equally spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the crack in the Senate leadership, stressing that Ndume had finally fallen apart with Saraki and his boss.
He said, “The truth of the matter is that the crisis did not start today. It was when the Senate President realised that he was being misled by the senate leader that they fell apart.”