Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 13 July 2016 | 2,077 times
The Nigerian Senate has been told that President Muhammadu Buhari had the prerogative to nominate ambassadorial nominees from any part of the country, even without total compliance with federal character principle, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
This was the submission of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, when they appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs over the exclusion of some states in the list of 47 ambassadorial nominees submitted recently by the President.
Lawal added that the President was only bound by federal character provisions in the appointment of ministerial nominees, insisting that there was no going back on the 47-nominee list.
The two top government officials jointly told the Senate that President Buhari was not bound to reflect federal character in the appointment of career ambassadors to foreign postings.
Lawal said that “32 out of the 36 states of the Federation were captured for now but others would be captured in a subsequent list. You must understand the mindset of this government as it’s a change government. It is important that whoever is going to be on board in this government, who is going to play one role or the other must be somebody that we will like to call change compatible; he must establish his integrity, his qualification on the job and his ability to deliver on the job.”
The upper chamber had summoned the two top government officials to explain why some states, notably Taraba, Ondo, Bayelsa, Plateau and Ebonyi were excluded from the list, but failed to appear. But, suddenly yesterday, both of them appeared before the committee.
Even, before their appearance, the Senate had issued a threat of arrest, during its plenary, and gave deadline of four more days to appear as they have both earlier regretted their disappearance and pleaded for more time.
Lawal told the committee that part of the criteria used in the selection of the nominees is ability of the nominee to align with the change agenda of the present administration.
•Photo shows President Buhari.
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