Buhari replaces two ambassadorial nominees as FCT protests exclusion
•A’Ibom APC counsels President on wider consultation
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday wrote the Senate to replace two non-career ambassadorial nominees. In the letter read at plenary by Senate President Ahmad Lawan in Abuja, the Nigerian leader replaced Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio with Mr. John J. Usanga, while Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (rtd) gave way for Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar as candidates of Akwa Ibom and Niger states.
Drawing his powers from Section 171(1)(2)(c) and Subsection (4) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), Buhari reminded the lawmakers that the discarded pair were in the earlier list of prospective diplomats he forwarded to them on June 17,2020 for confirmation.
However, the representative of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the upper legislative chamber, Senator Philip Aduda, protested the exclusion of an Abuja indigene from the lot.He claimed that Ambassador Hafiz Obada, a local, who currently serves in Sierra Leone, was not re-appointed.
Aduda said: “For the ambassadorial nomination for the non-career, nothing has been said about the one for FCT. It has been silent, and we have an ambassador who is already sitting in Sierra Leone, his name is Ambassador Hafiz Obada. We do not know what becomes of his fate, because other states have been told to remain in their stations or they have been re-appointed.”
“My issue is that, is it at this time the FCT will now lose an ambassador? It is worrisome to me and the people of the FCT. Sitting here, names have been called for all other states except FCT.
“Now, that particular non-career ambassadorial slot for the FCT is being taken away from us.” Responding, Lawan described the complaint as valid, noting: “It is constitutional for an indigene of the FCT to be appointed as a non-career ambassador by the President.”
He went on: “I sympathise with the FCT, but I know there were 12 non-career ambassadors who were retained. I do not know if you have an FCT indigene among them. Probably, you should check that to see if you would see any FCT indigene, but your complaint is very valid.
“What I am going to advise is, maybe, we need to take more political action. The FCT is to be treated like a state, which is what the constitution states. So, you deserve one like any other state.”
Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) faulted the choice of Akpabio in the first place, saying he was a stranger to the party.
In a statement by its publicity secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere, the political grouping described Buhari’s appointments as “extraneous” and “without recourse to the leadership of the party in the state.”
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