By CHIDI OBINECHE
From the day (January 10, 2017) he was relieved of his position as Senate leader, it was obvious to discerning minds and pundits that he would embark on a mission of vengeance, of redemption and psychological self – vivisection. Ali Ndume, acclaimed veteran of battles is no stranger to the undulating terrain of politics, the charring colours of dog- fights. He has shown time and time again that he is no jellyfish in long pants, that he is not heaving his guts into a dirty toilet bowl. Ndume is not your everyday pick of a man,. He understands fear; he sees conscience as the trade name of the firm. And to add, he has his wits around him and knows from the depths that in self defence, cowardice is the only sin. But he forgot to wrap himself with the wisdom from Jose Rigal in Noli Me Tangere, that “cowardice rightly understood begins with selfishness and ends with shame.”
His mission, short and gamely appears to be burning out on both ends with him apparently shooting himself in the foot. It may be apposite to call the mission a misadventure, which unhesitatingly has fetched him six months in the cooler from parliamentary activities. The mission, ipso facto simply unveiled him to the eyes of men, as such great journeys do not make heroes or cowards. Many have been thought brave because they chose not to run away when confronted by fire- eating conquerors or circumstances far beyond them.
When he was reeling out allegations against the Senate President Bukola Saraki over a multi million naira armoured SUV imported without paying customs duties of N74m, he did not look intensely at the lines, he did not separate the hares from the hounds, he did not cast his eyes wild on the little details, and he was not guided by caution. When he alleged under matters of special privileges on the floor of the Senate that highly eruptive Senator Dino Melaye did not graduate from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he was upbeat that the voluble irritant has finally kissed the dust, nailed to the cross. Perhaps, he hurriedly and brazenly forgot that when in doubt chicken out. But Ndume is no one’s chicken, or so he thought. He is no one’s gutless runner.
He was obviously prepared to face his demons; along with the consequences because he knows that running from enemy fire could make him wash dishes for the rest of his life. Rogue Squadron doesn’t run, unless he really, really has to. The real battle may have just begun; the real mission laden on both ends with fury may just be unfolding. The two belligerents – Ndume and the Senate – may have just murdered sleep, jointly. And the vote on who between the slain hero and the living coward jerks forward. His mission is a story of a god who allows himself to be crucified on Golgotha.
He was born on November 20, 1959 in Gwoza town of Borno State. He attended Gadamayo Primary School in Gwoza and finished in 1972. He proceeded to Comprehensive Secondary School Mubi in the then Gongola State, now, Adamawa State from 1973 to 1978, where he passed out in Division One in the West African School Certificate examinations. He went on to Kaduna Polytechnic to study Marketing in 1978, and bagged a Higher National Diploma, HND at Upper Credit level in 1982. He became a lecturer at Ramat Polytechnic after his National Youth Service Corps assignment and rose to the rank of Senior Lecturer. He 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, graduating 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.
He returned to Nigeria and continued teaching at Ramat Polytechnic until 2003 when he joined politics. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011 for the seat of Chibok/Damboa/ Gwoza on the ticket of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and became Minority Leader in 2007. Ndume was elected to the Senate for Borno South in April 2011 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. In November 2011, Senator Ndume was reported to be linked to Boko Haram. He has been charged over the alleged links and has denied the charges after a Boko Haram spokesman said he paid him to send threat text messages. He is married to Justice Aisha and Hajia Maryam and blessed with 10 children.