The president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, announced Senator Ndume’s removal shortly before the upper legislative chamber adjourned on Tuesday.
Saraki read a letter from the All Progressives Congress caucus asking for leadership change.
Surprisingly, Senator Ndume had stepped out of the senate chamber to observe his early afternoon prayer when Saraki read the letter.
The APC caucus, Saraki said, also chose Senator Ahmed Lawan to replace Ndume.
Lawan was until his new role the chairman of Senate committee on Defence, a position he assumed after losing the June 2015 senate presidency battle to Saraki.
Speaking exclusively with Premium Times hours after his removal, Ndume said he was removed for insisting that the Senate did not follow the proper procedure before declaring that it had rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as head of the EFCC.
Mr. Ndume said he insisted that in view of the Senate’s standard procedures and practice, Mr. Magu had not been rejected by the Senate because there was no confirmation hearing for the nominee to defend claims made against him.
“What I said was that for us (Senate) to claim to have rejected a nominee sent to us by the president, we have to follow the right procedure, and observe our rules,” the senator said.
“The nominee should have been called into the chamber and presented before senators who will then openly vote on whether to accept or reject his or her nomination.
“In the case of Magu, that was not done. We only had a closed-door session and when we emerged the Senate spokesperson claimed that he had been rejected. I had to set the record straight by saying we never rejected the nominee. This is because you don’t accept or reject a nominee at a closed session. Our votes and proceedings are there as evidence of my claims.”
Mr. Ndume said the clarification he made unsettled some of his colleagues, who immediately began to plot against him.
“I was surprised that such a simple and harmless clarification could rattle and anger some of my colleagues,” he said. "I thought it wasn’t a big deal to disagree over issues. I didn’t realise that that simple matter would snowball into a plot to remove me.
“The other day, somebody mentioned to me that Senate President had commissioned Dino Melaye to collect signatures to remove me. I didn’t pay much attention to the information because I actually thought it was a joke or a rumour.
“I didn’t feel that disagreeing with colleagues, and sharing my understanding of what transpired at our closed session was an offence, grievous enough to cause my removal.”