The Senate on Tuesday voted to reject President Muhammadu Buhari’s list of 46 non-career ambassadorial nominees, asking for “re-submission and rejigging”.
The lawmakers’ resolution to return the list to the president followed the move by the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, who said numerous petitions had trailed the nominations..
Mr. Ndume ‘s motion to return the list was seconded by the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio of Peoples Democratic Party.
Mr. Buhari had on October 20 written the Senate, seeking confirmation of 46 persons, including Olorunmimbe Mamora and Usman Bugaje, as Nigeria’s envoys. Apparently, the nominations were made without consultation with governors who later met with the president, demanding they be carried along regarding appointments given to persons from their respective states.
Two nominees, Paullen Tallen and Usman Bugaje, had rejected their nominations.
47 CAREER NOMINEES CONFIRMED
However, the Senate had earlier during the Tuesday plenary confirmed the 47 career ambassadorial nominees whose list was initially forwarded to the Senate in June.
Mr. Buhari sent the list of the career diplomats in June. That one also elicited complaints over charges deputy directors were appointed over directors in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that states like Bayelsa were not considered in the list.
During their screening before Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Monsurat Sunmonu (APC-Oyo) in July, two of the 47 career ambassadorial nominees – Vivian Okeke and Ibarhim Isah – failed to recite the country’s anthem and pledge, leaving lawmakers and journalists at the senate hearing in laughter.
Ms. Okeke and Mr. Isah have been in Nigeria’s foreign service since 1983 – already raking in 33 years of experience each. Despite their failure to recite the national anthem and pledge – two recitals taught in primary schools across the county and sung through primary and secondary school years – the two longstanding diplomats were also confirmed.
Mr. Akpabio said all the nominees were qualified but questioned the patriotism of the two.
Senate President Saraki defended the nominees saying it was fright and anxiety that prevented them from completing the national anthem and pledge. He quoted Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) and James Manager (PDP-Delta) whom he said were at the dramatic screening.