Suspended senator representing Borno south, Ali Ndume, says since he graduated from the university, this is the first time in six months that he will not receive salary or allowance.

On March 29, Ndume was handed a six-month suspension for “deliberately bringing up an issue that painted the red chamber in bad light”.

The senator had asked the upper legislative chamber to probe the alleged purchase of an exotic car for Senate President Bukola Saraki with forged customs papers and the certificate scandal involving Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west.

In an interview with Daily Trust, Ndume said the suspension has afforded him the time to reflect and connect more with his constituents.

“Honestly, one thing that I felt bad about is the extent to which I’ve gone, the relationship that I’ve severed in order to stand with our group, only for me to be paid this way. I feel bad about it.

“I said earlier, I leave everything to God. I was the co-founder of ‘The Like Minds,’ and the reason was that we would form the 8th Senate to belong to all of us or majority of the senators.

“Unfortunately, by the time we took over, we had to struggle, we had to even disagree with the party, only for very few people to take over the senate and make it their own, that’s unfortunate. It is not because I’ve been pushed out, no. It is because the image of the 8th senate, because the 8th Senate worked more than any other senate, 6th, 7th, 5th, 4th. But because of the activities of a few people, members of the public do not see the work we’re doing. That’s the painful part of it.

“The image of the 8th senate has not been uplifted by my suspension. This is my 16th year in the national assembly, so this is where I spent most part of my life.

“This is the first time in my life after graduation from the university, that I’ve stayed six months without salary or allowances.

“So, it gives me an experience. It also gives me time to reflect, look at myself and say what did I do wrong? That’s within me, even, it also gives me an opportunity to be closer to my family and some of my friends and to live the world of reality, what will happen if you’re outside the senate.

“But the biggest advantage that I’ve got from this suspension is my relationship with my constituents, the people that elected me. I’ve been able to get back to them, we’ve been able to interact more, and I’ve been able to do more for my people.

“So, it gave me the time that I wouldn’t have had to interact with them to do those things that I did. I did a lot of going around. I even had time to go to constituencies outside my own. And my governor has been very supportive. Every day, some people make me emotional. Just like today, somebody called and said ‘yaya, stay on the path of the truth, nothing will happen, God is with you.’ I became emotional. Nobody has ever called to blame me for the position that I took, from my constituency.”

He said he had a lot to thank God for that some of the lawmakers he left behind had died, while some have lost their seats.

“After my suspension, somebody died right behind me, Senator Adeleke. He’ll never come back again. I can go back to the senate, but Adeleke will not be able to go back. Abubakar Danladi, the Taraba man, went for Umrah and before he came back, the supreme court took his seat and gave someone,” he said.

“He won’t come back to the 8th Senate again. There are some of them that face a lot of challenges. George Sekibo is gone, he won’t be back. Ahmed Zannah, we went into elections with him and won. Before our inauguration, he died.”