The Senate on Wednesday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari for the replacement and confirmation of two non-career Ambassadors-designate.
The request was contained in a letter read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The President sought to replace the earlier nomination of Mr Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State, respectively.
The letter reads: “In accordance to Section 171(1)(2)(c) and subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of Mr. John J. Usanga and Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (rtd) from Akwa-Ibom and Niger State respectively, as non-career Ambassadors-designate.
“The Senate is kindly requested to recall my earlier submission of Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State respectively, vide letter dated 17th June 2020, I substitute Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio with Mr. John J. Usanga (Akwa-Ibom State). I replace Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar (Borno State) with Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (Niger State).”
But coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules, the lawmaker representing FCT in the upper chamber, Senator Philip Aduda, protested the exclusion of a non-career Ambassador from the FCT.
According to him, the only FCT indigene presently serving as a non-career Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Hafiz Obada, was not re-appointed.
“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 don’t 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 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 and we have one.
“Now that particular non-career Ambassadorial slot for the FCT is being taken away from us and is being killed, otherwise we are also entitled to have, and that is what I have consistently said since this list came out.
“So, Mr. President, I hope something can be done to this to help the people of the FCT. We don’t get Ministerial nomination, we don’t get so many of these things, but the small ones that we have is about to be taken away which should not be so,” Aduda said.
In his remarks, the Senate President described the lawmaker’s complaint as valid, saying it is constitutional for an indigene of the FCT to be appointed as a non-career Ambassador by the President.
“I sympathize with the FCT but I know there were twelve non-career Ambassadors who were retained. I don’t know if you have an FCT indigene among those twelve, probably you should check that to see if you would see any FCT indigene, but your complaint is very valid.
“What I’m going to advise is maybe we need to take more political action, so that it doesn’t always come like it is an after-thought. The FCT is to be treated like a state, that’s what the Constitution states, so you deserve one like any other state deserves”, Lawan said.