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Senate presidency: Why I stepped down for Akume – Aliyu

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2007/06/09 | Views: 552 |

Senate presidency: Why I stepped down for Akume – Aliyu


Senator Nuhu Aliyu on Wednesday revealed that he had to step down for the former governor of Benue State, George Akume, based on an earlier agreement reached with the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the North-Central Zone, even as he declared that the new Senate president was never the preferred candidate of the zone.

Senator Nuhu Aliyu on Wednesday revealed that he had to step down for the former governor of Benue State, George Akume, based on an earlier agreement reached with the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the North-Central Zone, even as he declared that the new Senate president was never the preferred candidate of the zone.

Speaking with journalists in his office on Wednesday, Aliyu, who also denied the allegation that he only stepped down after receiving N40 million, said his integrity was not for sale, adding that if he could resist the temptation of collecting N50 million during the third term saga, he wondered why he would accept the “dirty money “ now.

Narrating how the said agreement was reached, Aliyu said: "At the meeting, the issue of religion showed up. They said since the president is a Muslim, the Chief Justice of Nigeria is also a Muslim from Niger State, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is also a Muslim from Borno State, therefore the President of the Senate will be a Christian. There and then, I was disqualified. Akume scored the highest vote and was returned as the candidate for the zone.

"When everything was finished, I went home. Another message came at about 2am, that I should attend another meeting. I was told that I am the second option if the ranking rule is invoked. That was why you saw that Akume was nominated and I was also nominated. It was also decided that if the question of ranking doesn't arise, then, I should step down.

"That was why when the nominations were made, I asked the Clerk about the ranking rule and he said they have passed that stage. That was why I stepped down because there was the agreement. I can't afford to go against the party now, after I had been termed an anti-establishment Senator.
"As far as I am concerned, the Senate presidency is not a do or die affair. There have been lots of speculations that I have been settled, that I was given N40 million. I don't want any dirty money. I will not accept it."

He further said that he was going to support the new Senate President, and asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo to accept the simple fact that the game was up for him.
“When he was in power, the party chairman and the BOT chairman, had little or no power. But now that he is gone and will occupy the position of the BOT chairman, he wants the BOT chairman to be more powerful than even the President. But we are saying no to that. Yar’Adua will enjoy the same power he (Obasanjo) enjoyed when he was there.”
Meanwhile, the former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, has written to congratulate the new Senate President.

In a letter to him, he said: “It is a pleasure for me to congratulate you most warmly on your election as the President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, following the inauguration of the sixth National Assembly today June 5, 2007.

“I am delighted that your new Senate leadership emerged through contested democratic election on the floor of the Senate and not by selection or imposition. Your election has vindicated my unwavering position that the legislature should always follow constitutional due process regardless of what becomes the outcome.

The position of the Senate president in Section 50 (1a) of our constitution is by election and not selection.
“The Nigerian Legislature is making progress on the path to development and asserting its independence from other arms of government.

“The support of majority of the Senators will strengthen ties and step up their cooperation with your leadership, in order to foster development, shared progress and stability.
This was exactly the point I underscored in my valedictory speech which, perhaps, didn't go down well with some folks.

“While wishing you the best as you face the challenges ahead, I believe that your remarkable political experience, marked by a strong commitment to legislative activities, will help you serve the Nigerian Senate well and promote her influence in Africa and the world.”



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