PDP kicks as Senate confirms ex-Service Chiefs, others as ambassadors-designate

PDP kicks as Senate confirms ex-Service Chiefs, others as ambassadors-designate

ex-Service Chiefs

By Tunde Opalana

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nominations of the former Service Chiefs as Ambassadors-Designate.

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; Also confirmed was Air Vice Marshal Muhammad S. Usman (Rtd), Kano.

The confirmation of the nominees which followed consideration of the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, however, was challenged by the Senate minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South).

Abaribe questioned the blanket dismissal of the petition against the nominees by the committee without giving explicit reason for doing so.

He said the submission of one of the petitioners, one Dickson that the nominees, having failed in their responsibilities as service chiefs to secure the country, do not deserve ambassadorial appointments, is in line with senate’s request three times that the service chiefs should be replaced.

Presenting the report, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa, said their appointments were made in line with section 171(40) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

According to 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.”

Bulkachuwa, however, disclosed 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.”

At this point, Sen. Abaribe, coming under a point of order, demanded explanation as to the rationale behind the dismissal of the petition against the nominees by the Committee, particularly against the backdrop of the Senate resolutions in the past calling for their removal as Service Chiefs.

Responding, the Senate President pointed out that the Senate resolution demanding their removal was in no way related to President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the Senate to confirm them as AmbassadorsDesignate, adding that, “these are two separate roles.”

“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”, Lawan said.

READ ALSO: Civil rights group writes faults composition of service chiefs

The nominees were, thereafter, confirmed after a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, to that effect and seconded by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

The Senate President in his remarks after the nominees were confirmed advised the Executive arm of government to deploy them to countries where their experiences as former military officers would be required.

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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