The Senate confirmed the appointment of former Service Chiefs as Ambassadors-Designate on Tuesday after their names were sent to the upper chamber by President Muhammadu Buhari lately.
The confirmation of the candidates followed consideration of the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The former Service Chiefs confirmed are: General Abayomi G. Olonisakin (Rtd), Ekiti; Lt. General Tukur Y. Buratai (Rtd), Borno; Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete E. Ibas (Rtd), Cross River; and Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar (Rtd), Bauchi;
In addition, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad S. Usman (Rtd), Kano was confirmed.
Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, in his presentation stated that their nominations were made in accordance with section 171(40) of the 1999 Constitution as revised.
As indicated by him, “their experiences as Service Chiefs and in the military where they rose to the highest ranks in their careers have made them eminently qualified; and that the nominees were very knowledgeable and articulate in their response to questions directed at them by the Committee.”
However, Bulkachuwa, revealed in the report that “the Committee received petitions against their nominations as Non-Career Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but the petitions were dismissed.”
Enyinnaya Abaribe, The Senate Minority Leader, while going under a state of request, demanded clarification with regards to the reason behind the dismissal of the petition against the nominees by the Committee, especially against the backdrop of the Senate resolves in the past demanding their removal as Service Chiefs.
Replying, the Senate President, Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, called attention to the Senate resolve that demanding their removal was in no way related to President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the Senate to confirm them as Ambassadors-Designate, also stated that, “these are two separate roles.”
Lawan said, “Without prejudice to what the executive will do, where we need to fight the Boko Haram insurgency and banditry, because of their experience in the field, they should be able to interact very closely and sufficiently to advice and create the atmosphere for working together, for partnership and cooperation between Nigeria and those countries.
“So, I think on that scope, the nomination cannot be nullified because we said they should be changed.”
Subsequently, the nominees were confirmed after a motion was moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, to that effect and seconded by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
The Senate President in his statements after the nominees were confirmed urged the Executive arm of government to send them to nations where their experiences as former military officers would be needed.
Lawan said, “The nominees that we have just confirmed are nominees that have served this great country to the best of their ability as Service Chiefs and today, they have been confirmed as Non-Career Ambassadors.
“Our appeal to the Executive is to make sure that we utilize their experiences as Military men to the best, because we should be able to post them to countries where they can be much more useful in their engagements as Ambassadors.”
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