Politics Rejected Ambassadorial List: Presidency Replies Nigerian Senate

The Presidency has reacted to reasons the Nigerian Senate rejected president Muhammadu Buhari's list of nominated ambassadors weeks ago.

The Senate had suspended the screening and confirmation of the 47 ambassadorial nominees because the list "did not reflect the Federal Character principle" as it had no representation for four states -Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ondo and Plateau.

The Senate had thereafter summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

Reacting at the weekend, SGF, Babachir Lawal, said President Buhari has the constitutional power to nominate ambassadors anyway he deems fit.

“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. We acknowledge also that it is also the prerogative of the Senate to approve or not to approve that nomination.

“Be that as it may, I must say that we are disappointed that the National Assembly took the decision it did but again we believe that the Senate is made up of very responsible and patriotic Nigerians and the Senate is made up of great people including governors who have governed and known the constitution regarding separation of powers.

“We believe that the Senate will not do anything that will bring the country to disrepute because right now Nigeria enjoys tremendous goodwill all over the globe. Countries now have high regard and respect for our president, our ministers and all other representatives of government are treated very well and with respect wherever they go. It is important to have ambassadors to sustain this goodwill,” he added.

He also spoke on the Federal Character principle.

“Of course we have read in the newspapers some of their concerns such as federal character and so on. At the last count my recollection is that out of the 47 diplomat nominees, …. Out of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, 32 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. I believe that every objective analyst will agree with this.”

The Nation


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