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Presidency justifies lobbying as senate begins hearing on ex-service chiefs

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The Presidency, yesterday, declared that it is normal to lobby the Senate to confirm the nomination of former service chiefs as non-career diplomats.

Senate Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, stated this in Abuja at the confirmation hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of the ambassadorial nomination of the former service chiefs.

Yahaya explained that President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, would read President Muhammadu Buhari’s communication to the committee after which it would deliberate on it.

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“I can’t preempt what the committee will decide because it comprises several experienced senators who have been ambassadors themselves. So they will know exactly what is required for people to be appointed ambassadors to other countries,” he said.

The Presidency also defended its decision to lobby senators for the confirmation of the former service chiefs. Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, said there was nothing wrong in lobbying.

“On the essence of governance and democracy, especially the relationship between the legislature and executive, Section 4 recognises the legislature before the executive in section five and the judiciary captured in section 6 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“It is all about lobbying and talking to one another. You cannot achieve anything if you don’t talk to others.

“A lot of people will argue that the parliament is the watchdog of the executive, but you can hardly achieve anything without collaboration, coordination and negotiation.

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“If you want your bill to pass, you have to try your best to talk to your colleagues. And if somebody lobbied you well, even if you don’t like that bill or the person’s motion, instead of opposing or supporting, you may decide to step out. So, there is no problem with lobbying.”

He argued that it was normal for service chiefs to be nominated as ambassadors, especially because the Senate and House of Representatives have not been on the same page over the issue.

“Being service chiefs does not mean they can not be successful ambassadors. It is for the lawmakers to determine whether they can be good representatives of the country, bearing in mind their precedents.

“For them to be service chiefs means they have attained some heights, having reached the peak of their careers,” he said.

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