Senate Confirms Olorunisakin, Buratai, Others As Ambassadors
The Senate has confirmed the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.
Those confirmed are the former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; former Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ibas; and former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Sadique.
The confirmation comes barely five days after they were screened by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and three weeks after they were nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The confirmation was sequel to the adoption of the report of the committee which was presented by the chairperson of the committee, Senator Muhammed Bulkachuwa.
In his presentation, Senator Bulkachuwa said the nominees were asked questions regarding their previous services and their recent nomination.
The nomination, he said, is in line with Section 171(40) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He further said the committee received two petitions against the appointment and confirmation of the nominees but the petitions were dismissed by the committee.
He, however, did not explain why the petitions were dismissed or whether the petitioners were invited to explain their stance.
“The police report received showed that the nominees have been cleared by the DSS. They presented their slip from the Code of Conduct Bureau and possess the requisite skills for the position.
“Their experience as service chiefs makes them eminently capable for the position and they were knowledgeable and articulate in their response to questions posed by members of the panel,” he continued.
Bulkachuwa said the committee was satisfied with their performance and their knowledge of international diplomacy. He, thereafter, asked the Senate to confirm the nominees.
But the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia), questioned why the petitions were dismissed.
He said the Senate on three occasions passed resolutions that the nominees be removed as service chiefs and for them to be brought back to be confirmed for another position demands explanation.
In his reaction, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said having looked through the said resolutions, “understanding is that they have not been appointed to serve as service chiefs – which is a plus for the Senate.”
“If they are nominated for a different position, our resolution will not apply. What we have to do is to advise the executive to use the past experience of the ex-service chiefs in their new positions.
“The nomination cannot be nullified because we said they should be changed,” he said.
Abaribe was ruled out of order by Lawan when he attempted to make further comments.
The Senate, thereafter, dissolved into the committee of the whole to confirm the nominees despite echos of “nays” from many senators.
Presidential media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, announced on February 4 that the president had forwarded the ex-service chiefs’ names to the Senate for confirmation as non-career ambassadors.