The Senate earlier today, Wednesday, 23 February 2021, confirmed the immediate past Service Chiefs as Non-Career Ambassadors-designate.
Those confirmed include former Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and former Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshall Muhammad Usman.
Their confirmation followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa.
Bulkachuwa explained the appointments were made in line with section 171(40) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Said he: “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 the nominees were very knowledgeable and articulate in their response to questions directed at them by the Committee.
“The Committee received petitions against their nominations as Non-Career Ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but the petitions were dismissed," he said.
The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, had requested explanations regarding the rationale behind 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.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan however clarified the Upper Chamber’s resolution demanding their removal was in no way related to President Buhari’s request for the Senate to confirm them as Ambassadors-Designate saying, “these are two separate roles.”
Lawan's words: “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 advise 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.
The nominees were, thereafter, confirmed upon a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi and seconded by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe