Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Two ambassadorial nominees fail national anthem, pledge test

There was a mild drama yesterday at the National Assembly as two of the 47 ambassadorial nominees could not recite the national anthem and pledge.
The drama ensued when the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Monsurat Sunmonu instructed Vivian Nwunaku Okeke, nominee from Anambra to recite the national anthem and pledge. She mixed up her lines.
Similarly, when Ibrahim Isa, from Niger State was asked to recite the national pledge, he also fumbled and mixed it up.
A member of the committee, James Manager (PDP, Delta South), corrected the nominees, after which the screening exercise continued.
Soon after President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded names of the nominees to the Senate last month there was a flurry of petitions over alleged disregard for federal character principle as lawmakers from Bayelsa, Benue, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Taraba among others protested the exclusion of their states. Subsequently, the Senate suspended the consideration and screening of the nominees.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs was mandated to investigate the claims and report back to the House within two weeks.
When the Senate Foreign Affairs committee eventually invited the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to explain why some states were exempted, the duo did not show up.
After a hide and seek game, the two top officials in President Buhari’s government eventually honoured the Senate committee’s invitation. In their explanations, they said those selected were chosen based on merits, arguing that the states excluded did not have qualified people to fill the slot.
But last Wednesday, the Senate adopted the recommendations of its committee on Foreign Affairs which considered 37 petitions alleging among others, lopsidedness in the nomination.

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