Senate Presidency: Ali Ndume, the right man for the job

As the ninth Senate opens tomorrow, one senator stands above his competitor(s) in the race for the Senate presidency. He is Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno South Senatorial District. And unlike other senators who have been coerced to step down for the anointed candidate, Ndume has refused to bulge. He has stated clearly his nine-point agenda to revitalise the Senate and make it the centre piece of people’s agenda for sustainable development.

In the document, the former Senate Majority Leader pledged to uphold the independence of the legislature and expressed his willingness to “work harmoniously and inter-dependently with the executive without undermining the principle of Separation of Power”. He added: “We will make laws that will block leakages, devise improved means of generating revenue, especially through the amendment and review of our tax laws which will help to reduce reliance on local and foreign loans to finance budget. We will run the 9th Senate transparently, through open accountability with full participation of all Senators. For example, we will transfer the approving powers of the privileges of the senators like foreign travels, allowances to Senate services committee or a new committee to be known as ” ways and means committee.” Ndume also said that his presidency would uphold the party’s principles and policies and that the Senate under him will make laws and review existing ones in tandem with APC’s Next Level Agenda for Nigeria.

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And unlike others who flaunt their support from the National Working Committee of the APC, Ndume derives his own support from the inspiration of his colleagues and the people. Little wonder then that  he stated that though he will work as partner in progress with other arms of government to fast-track development, Ndume has told those who cared to listen that if given the opportunity, the Senate under his leadership will not be a rubber stamp.

At a recent media parley in Lagos, Ndume said he was sure of been elected based on the support he enjoys from his colleagues. In fact, Ndume says the fear among some of his colleagues is that he won’t be browbeaten to step down for other candidate. Ndume said he is not oblivious that the North-East had suffered huge devastation with property worth over N2 trillion destroyed  by insurgents.

As a panacea to restore the damage done to lives and property in the region, Ndume said he is prepared to take up the daunting task as an articulate candidate from the North-East geo-political zone for the office of senate president to galvanise global support for the restoration of the North-East.  Ndume said he had been engaging his colleagues,  assuring them that he wants to be  President of Senate and not Senators’ President. Ndume maintained that God had been so kind to him as a “son of nobody that became somebody without knowing anybody”, adding that the onus is on him to reciprocate God’s favour by serving mankind. “The 9th senate will do things differently. And that’s  why I set out my nine-point agenda  of what I want to do to reposition the Senate.”

On fears that the voting process could worked against him if the secret ballot system is jettisoned, he said: “The Senate rules remains open secret ballot and we will adhere strictly to that when we reconvene in June,” he said.

Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume was born on 20th November 1959 in Gwoza Town of Borno State. He attended Gadamayo Primary School in Gwoza and completed in 1972. Ndume proceeded to Comprehensive Secondary School Mubi in then Gongola now Adamawa State from 1973 to 1978 where he obtained Secondary School Certificate and WASC and passed with Division One.

Ali Ndume was cut out early in life for Leadership position as he was appointed Junior House Captain and promoted to House Captain in his final year in Secondary School. His exceptional superlative brilliance saw him emerging in constant First position in class at Comprehensive Secondary School Mubi. On completion of Secondary School he went on to Kaduna Polytechnic to study Marketing in 1978. He completed his Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in 1980 and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Marketing in 1982 at Upper Credit level. Ndume proceeded to Federal Polytechnic Ilaro in Ogun State between 1982 – 1983 for his compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

He joined the famous Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri as a lecturer in 1983 rising to the rank of a Senior Lecturer. In 1988, Ndume was awarded the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Post-Graduate Scholarship to study Business and Computer Education at the University of Toledo Ohio, United States of America and graduated with a B.Ed and M.Ed in 1990 and was awarded Magna Cum Laude academic honour.

He was also admitted into the Phi Kappa Phi academic society for outstanding performance. On graduation, Ndume returned to Nigeria and continued with his teaching career with the Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri, Borno State until 2003, when he entered politics.

As the Clerk opens the election tomorrow to elect the Senate President, who will also double as the chairman of the National Assembly for the 9th Senate, Senator Ali Ndume stands tall among his peers and is well equipped to lead in the next four years.

Oriola writes from Abuja

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