Ambassadors: Senate dares President

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Senate Chamber
Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

By Naomi Sharang

The Senate on Tuesday rejected the list of 46 non-career ambassadorial nominees forwarded to it for confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari in October, saying it would not approve the nominations.

The upper legislative chamber, however, confirmed the nomination of 47 career nominees earlier sent by the president in July.

The rejection of the 46 non-career nominees followed a report submitted to that effect by the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In the report, the committee said that it discovered while screening the non-careers nominees that the imbalance observed in the list of career nominees was not corrected in the non-career list.

Chairman of the committee, Chairman, Sen. Monsurat Sunmonu (APC-Oyo), who read the report, said over 250 petitions were received from aggrieved Nigerians over the imbalance.

According to her, some of the petitioners pointed out that in the first list, states like Ebonyi, Bayelsa and Plateau had no nominees and that it was not addressed in the non-career nominees’ list.

“We thought that the issue of non-equitable representation across the 36 states of the federation raised on the list of nominated career diplomats will be addressed in the non-career list, but unfortunately, this was not so.

“This is in spite of public outcry over it and the committee’s observation to that effect to the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, during an interface with us before the screening.

“Therefore, we have found it difficult to start the screening of the 46 non-career nominees and in fact, we propose that the list be returned to the Executive for review and re-presentation,” she said.

The recommendation of the committee was accordingly approved by the Senate, which rejected the list through voice vote upon a motion by Senate Leader, Ali Ndume.

Notable nominees in the rejected list are Sen. Olorunibe Mamora (Lagos), retired Justice George Oguntade (Lagos), Yusuf Tuggar (Bauchi), and immediate past deputy governor of Niger, Ahmed Ibeto (Niger).

Ibeto had had his nomination as minister withdrawn by Buhari in October, 2015.

It would be recalled that two politicians on the list, former National Secretary of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Usman Bugaje and a former deputy governor of Plateau, Mrs Paullen Tallen, declined their nominations.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, urged the 47 career ambassadors-designate to be good ambassadors of the country where ever they were posted.

The approved nominees are Obinna Chukwuemeka (Abia), Salisu Umaru (Adamawa), Inyan Udo-Iyang (Akwa Ibom), Okeke  Nwanaku (Anambra) and Liman Munir (Bauchi).

Others are Ndem Ada (Benue), Mohammed Hassan (Borno), Martin Cobham (Cross River), Janet Olisah (Delta) and Itegboje Sunday (Edo).

The nominees also include Olatunde Adesesan (Ekiti), Lilian Onoh (Enugu), Manaja Isa (Gombe), Ngozi Ukaeje (Imo) and Bello Husseini (Jigawa).

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