A closed-door meeting of the Senate was urgently requested by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday, October 17, during plenary. The request came after the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, walked out of the chamber following a ruling that declared him out of order.
Senator Ndume (APC Borno South) had raised a point of order on alleged errors committed and not corrected by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio. The error in question was a motion moved by Senator Summaila Kawu (NNPP Kano South), for debate on the need for re-opening of Nigerian-Niger Border, without stating the title of his motion.
Senator Ndume invoked order 51 of the Senate standing rules, and asked the Senate President to allow for correction of any error made or observed in plenary.
Ndume said ”This is the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guided by laws, rules and procedures. If in the course of proceedings at any session, errors are observed, they must be corrected before forging ahead with such proceeding.”
But Akpabio quickly intercepted him by saying having ruled on issues raised, it cannot be revisited and consequently ruled Ndume out of order.
The debate in the Senate became heated when Senator Sunday Karimi (APC Kogi West) tried to support Ndume’s argument with another point of order, but Senate President Godswill Akpabio dismissed him.
To calm the situation, the Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau, cited order 16, which allows a Senator to move a substantive motion to revise or correct a previous decision.
However, Akpabio agreed with Barau’s point of order, which annoyed Ndume, who raised another point of order (order 54) to challenge the alleged mistake.
But before he could finish his statement, the President of the Senate cut him off again.
Frustrated by Akpabio’s ruling, Ndume gathered his papers and angrily left the chamber.
The Senators were stunned by the incident and decided to go into a closed-door session.