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Ambassadorial list: Senate summons SGF, foreign affairs minister



Sunday Aborisade, Abuja

The Senate on Wednesday summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geofrey Onyeama, over the lopsided list of 47 career diplomats sent to the red chamber about two weeks ago.

They alleged that some states were excluded from the list whereas some states had up to three nominees.

Apart from this, the senators also explained that there were specific petitions against some nominees, who were said to have been picked ahead of their senior colleagues from their states of origin.

Overlooked diplomats

The Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, cited the case of two directors on level 17, from the same state who were dropped for a junior officer.

He said, “The two of them are in fact, already on level 17 and in making the recommendations many who are junior to them in experience and in status have been elevated above them. They therefore want some intervention from the chamber to be sure that correct process is followed.

“They also said that there are those who have served the republic meritoriously who did not get passed because of whatever might be the internal politics of the ministry.

“So, I plead that relevant committee and this chamber would take a second look at this prayer.

“We should direct that the minister for foreign affairs, and the SGF to appear before the committee on foreign affairs to explain the omissions and irregularities and the processes by which some of these names came about.”

Unusual number of petitions

In his ruling after the voice vote had approved the invitation of Lawal and Onyeama, Saraki said that a number of senators, prior to the decision, had raised observation.

He said, “I have received a lot of petitions in my office on this same matter. We must ensure that the process is transparent especially since they are going to be ambassadors and the number of petitions we have received this time is a bit more than usual.

“It is important that the foreign affairs committee quickly invite the minister and secretary to the government of the federation so that they can explain the processes of how some of these names came about.

“We need to do this before they even begin to consider the nomination for screening.”

He, therefore, referred the matter to the foreign affairs committee and gave them one week to be able to come with a report on it.