Ali Ndume, immediate past senate majority leader, says he was absent when he was removed from his position.
Ndume said he had left the chamber to pray and handed over to Bala Na-Allah, only to return in 10 minutes to find out he had been ousted.
“I was leading the business of the senate and when it was 12.45, as usual, I asked my deputy to sit in for me while I go to pray,” he said.
“On coming back, I discovered that the session was over and one of your colleagues [referring to journalists] approached me and said ‘leader, what happened?’ I said ‘what happened?’ And he said I had been removed.
“I didn’t know that there was change of leadership because I was not there. I went for prayers and I didn’t know what actually happened and I cannot say much than this.”
Ndume’s removal was announced on the floor of the senate by Bukola Saraki, senate president, who read a letter from the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus.
“This is to inform your excellency and the senate that after several meetings, upon due deliberations and consultations, the APC caucus of the senate hereby wish to notify you of the change in the leadership of the senate. The new senate leader is senator Ahmed Lawan, representing Yobe north,” Saraki said.
Ndume and Saraki took opposite sides when the senate declined to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). While the senate, led by Saraki, declined to confirm Magu, Ndume told the media that this was not the case
Lawan, the new majority leader, said: “I did not see it coming but with God nothing is impossible.
“Our colleagues in the APC caucus decided to effect the change. I thank God and my colleagues for the privilege giving to me. I will do my utmost best to ensure that the Senate continues to work for the benefit of Nigerians.”