• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Ambassadorial list: No qualified candidates in the 4 omitted states – FG


The four states omitted from President Muhammadu Buhari’s list of ambassadorial nominees sent to the National Assembly had no qualified candidates, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has said.

The Four states without nominees are Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ondo, and Plateau.

Specific criteria had been set by the Presidency to pick nominees and the four states without nominees have no career diplomats in the Foreign service who met the objective, the SGF said.

“Four states didn’t make it one way or the other; however, not necessarily on the criteria of seniority. There are criteria and qualifications that are required to post you to go and represent
Nigeria, not just because while in the foreign service or the civil service you were able to make grade level 16 or 17, quite a number of qualifications are needed. So even if you make that retirement
criteria service length or rank criteria, there are other criteria”, he said in an interaction with journalists in Abuja at the weekend.

The Senate last week suspended the confirmation of the list of 47 ambassadorial nominees forwarded by President Buhari earlier in the month. They argued that the nominations are not reflective of the Federal character. Four states had no nominees.

The Senate had proceeded to summon the SGF and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama. They are to appear before the higher chambers on the 11th of July to explain the inconsistencies in the list.

Lawal said the Executive was disappointed that the senate decided to suspend the screening of the 47 ambassadorial nominees when the issues could have been sorted out with only a phone call.

“Certainly, we will appear, we are law abiding, we respect the National Assembly and we respect the laws of the land. One thing however, is clear, the constitution makes it clear that it is the
prerogative of the president to nominate Ambassadors and the criteria he will use to do so is also the constitutional right of the President. Whatever criteria he chooses to use is constitutional.

“I must say that we are disappointed that the National Assembly took the decision it took but at the last count my recollection is that out of the 47 diplomat nominees, the 36 states were represented. Out of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, while the constitution preaches federal character, it does not say that every state must be represented in any appointment, except of course in the case of ministers. Not in all other appointments, so the spirit of the constitution has been fully satisfied by having 32 ambassadors out of 36 plus one (FCT). I believe that every objective analyst will agree with this” Lawal said.


Elizabeth Archibong