The Senate President advised President Buhari to deploy the ambassadors to neighbouring countries.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, played a crucial role in ensuring the confirmation of the appointment of all four immediate former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe raised an objection to the appointment of the retired General Abayomi Olonisakin, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, and Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar based on petitions received by the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
The former service chiefs had been appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in January, only a week after they stepped down from the roles they occupied since 2015.
Due to their perceived failures as military chiefs, many Nigerians had repeatedly called for the dismissal of the old service chiefs whose normal period of service Buhari extended for over three years.
The president also ignored numerous resolutions from the Senate to dismiss them, noting that it was up to his own discretion.
While presenting a report for consideration on Tuesday, Chairman of the Senate Committee for Foreign Affairs, Muhammed Bulkachuwa, said the nominees met the requirements expected of them and were ’eminently qualified’.
The senator noted that two petitions were received against the nominees, but that the petitions were dismissed.
Abaribe objected, noting that the Senate’s integrity would be put to question if it confirms the appointment of the same men it had indicted three times for non-performance.
The Senate Minority Leader said the committee should explain to plenary what informed their decision to not consider the petitions.
“The Senate is under obligation to look at the resolutions they had taken before, before we go ahead to dismiss and let them (the nominees) go ahead,” he said.
Lawan shut down his observation, arguing that the non-performance the men were previously cited for was in relation to different roles, and not the ones they were to be confirmed for.
“I think our resolution asking for their removal as service chiefs does not cross over to that nomination,” he said.
The Senate President further advised President Buhari to deploy the former service chiefs to countries where they can add significant value, especially neighbouring countries battling security issues in collaboration with Nigeria.
Senators went ahead to confirm the nominees in a voice vote with only a few dissenting voices opposing the nominations.
Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman, a retired former Chief of Defence Intelligence, was also confirmed as a non-career ambassador.