he Senate yesterday rejected the President’s list of 46 non-career ambassadors-designate. The list was dumped over President Muhammadu Buhari’s new understanding with governors, lawmakers and All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders, it was learnt.
The rejection will enable the Presidency to review the list in line with the new consultative deal.
Sources said names of most of the nominees were smuggled into the list by some members of the President’s Kitchen Cabinet who were asked to “harmonise” the names.
The choice of the nominees topped the agenda of the session between the President and APC governors last week, it was learnt.
The issue was also raised at Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s Monday meeting with APC governors and National Assembly leaders
A source said: “By the time the President realised that the list of non-career ambassadors was compiled by a few, he felt disappointed. But he did not want to recall the list in order not to hurt anyone.
“Some states were not happy because the list affected power sharing formula and it could lead to inter-tribal crisis.
“The President took time to explain to stakeholders that he knew only a few of the nominees. I think about three or five. But he said he gave the responsibility to some key aides who did a shoddy job.
“It was embarrassing to the President when some of the nominees rejected their appointments because they were not consulted.
“As a way out, the President left the fate of the nominees to the Senate to decide. The President has now floated a new consultative platform between the Presidency and other stakeholders, including governors, National Assembly leaders and party leaders.”
The source added: “A window that was immediately agreed upon was for the Senate to reject the list to pave the way for the Presidency to take a second look at the non-career ambassadors.
“So, the list was rejected in line with the new deal between the President and other stakeholders. All groups in the party will now have input into the compilation of the fresh list which will be sent to the Senate.
“In the next few days, wider consultations will be done in a manner that will make all the stakeholders to be happy. The President has chosen to leave everything open.”
During plenary yesterday, the Senate rejected the list of 46 non-career ambassadors but approved, after hesitation, another list of 47 career ambassadors earlier forwarded to it by the President and nominees screened.
Senate Leader Mohammed Ali Ndume said in view of numerous petitions submitted to the Senate against the non-career nominees, the Senator Monsurat Sunmonu-led Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs recommended that the list be returned to the President to rework and resubmit for consideration and approval.
Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio seconded the motion. More than 250 petitions were submitted to the Senate against the nominees.
A governor wrote to disown the two nominees from his state.
The inability of five of them to recite the National Anthem during their screening almost robbed the affected nominees of confirmation.
The intervention of Senator James Manager, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, saved the day. He blamed the inability of the affected nominees to recite the National Anthem on nervousness.
He recalled that “in 2004, a ministerial nominee collapsed when Senator Uche Chukwumerije fired four questions at him at a go”.
He insisted that it was not easy to appear before the Senate.
Senator Gbenga Ashafa also argued in the same line and asked that the nominees be confirmed.
Those whose nomination was confirmed are: Obinna Chukwuemeka (Abia); Salisu Umaru (Adamawa); Inyan Udo-Iyang(Akwa Ibom), Okeke Vivian Nwanaku(Anambra), Liman Munir(Bauchi), Ndem Jane Ada(Benue), Mohammed Hassan Hassan(Borno), ; Martin Young Cobham(Cross River) ; Janet Omoleegho Olisah(Delta) and Itegboje Sunday(Edo).
Others are: Olatunde Adesesan(Ekiti) Lilian Ijeukwu Onoh(Enugu) ; Manaja Tulah Isa(Gombe) ; Ngozi Ukaeje(Imo) ; Bello Kazaure Husseini(Jigawa), Enoch Pear Duchi(Kaduna), Garba Baba(Kano), Usman Bakori Aliyu(Katsina) Umar Zainab Salisu(Kebbi); Momoh Sheidu Omeiza(Kogi) and Kadiri Audu(Kwara).
Others who also made the list are: Balogun Hakeem (Lagos) ; Inusa Ahmed (Nasarawa) Ibrahim Isah (Niger) Bankole Adegboyega Adeoye (Ogun) Ibidapo-Obe Oluwasegun (Osun) Ogundero Sakirat (Oyo) Eric A. Bell-Gam (Rivers) Attahiru Halliru (Sokoto) Rahmatu Dunama (Taraba) ; Musa Mamman (Yobe) and Kabiru Bala (Zamfara).
Others on the list include Adamu Shuaibu (FCT) , D.A Agev (Benue) , T.K Gongulong (Borno) , Ibrahim Hamza (Katsina) , K.C Nwachukwu (Imo) , Q.I Worlu (Edo) , E.K Oguntuase (Ekiti) , A. I. Paragalda (Adamawa) L.A Gasharga (Borno), Olufemi Abikoye (Kwara) , Habu Abubakar Ibrahim(Gombe) Rabiu Akawu (Kano) , Nonye Udo (Anambra) Odeka Janet Bisong (Cross River) and Sonaike Adekunbi Abibat (Ogun).