Why some states didn’t have ambassadorial nominees, by SGF
He claimed that the missed out states did not have people in the diplomatic service that met the set criteria for selecting ambassadors of Nigeria.The Senate had, among other misgivings, rejected the list of 47 nominees sent to the Upper Chamber for screening and confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the constitutional provision of federal character was not adequately reflected as four states did not have nominees.
The Senate leadership then summoned the SGF with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to appear initially on June 28, 2016, but later shifted the date to July 11, to explain to the Committee on Foreign Affairs the reasons for the seeming inconsistencies observed.
Lawal said the executive was disappointed that the Senate set aside the screening of the nominees because of what he described as issues that could have been explained with a simple telephone call. He told journalists in Abuja at the weekend that the executive would appear at the Senate on the appointed day, adding that the matter was not as serious as it was being taken.
“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 that 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 are also the constitutional right of the President.”
“I must say that we are disappointed that the National Assembly took the decision it took. My recollection is that out of the 47 diplomat nominees, the 36 states were represented. 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 explained.
Four states, namely Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ondo and Plateau, did not have candidates in the list provided. Lawal emphasized that there were criteria set by the Presidency to pick nominees and these states did not have career diplomats in the Foreign Service that met the objective.
“Four states didn’t make it, one way or the other, not necessarily based on the criteria of seniority. There are criteria and qualifications that are required to post you to 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.
“So obviously for all the criteria set up for this nomination, quite a number of states did not make it.”