FORMER Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe; National Financial Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Tukur Mani; immediate past Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Dr. Biodun Nathaniel Olorunfemi, 81 others were Thursday cleared by the Senate as ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Senator Matthew Nwagwu, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, in his report did not recommend for confirmation three of the eighty-eight names submitted by President Goodluck Jonathan as ambassadorial nominees.
According to Nwagwu, those not cleared were Abubakar Bunu, Zamfara; Mrs. Sifawu Inu Umoru- Momoh, Edo and Mazi Okafor Ojih, Ebonyi.
There was, however, a great relief and soft landing for the three nominees who failed the screening as Senate President David Mark, however, asked the committee to rescreen them within seven days, given the sensitive
nature of the assignment involved.
The Committee of the whole overturned the decision of the Committee where it cleared Abubakar Bunu, being a former member of the House of Representatives and two were at the end of the day referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for second a chance.
The Senate President, however, urged the Senate Committee to look at the prunning down of the number of ambassadors because of the financial situation of the country. Senate urges FG to immortalized Mbu
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to immortalized the late Ambassador Matthew Tawo Mbu, just as a delegation of the upper chamber will be sent to condole with his family, people and government of Cross River State.
After discussions on the motion by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, that the late Mbu was a member, House of Representatives, former Minister of Defence, Foreign Affairs, former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador to Germany, among others, the Senate observed a minute silence in honour of late Mbu.
84 nominees scale through
On the cleared ambassadors, of the 88 nominees sent to the Senate by the President, 32 were political nominations, while 56 were career ambassadors. 87 of them appeared before the screening committee, but only 84 scaled through the screening.
Also cleared as ambassadors were former Minister of Aviation, Fidelia Njeze; former Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Gambia, Esther Audu; James Barka, Adamawa; Chief Asam Asam,SAN, Akwa Ibom; Mr. Okwudili Nwosu, Anambra; Mr. Okeke Chukwuemeka, Anambra; and Mr. Eric Aworahbi, Bayelsa.
Non career nominees
Other non career nominees cleared were Chive Kaave, Benue; Dauda Danladi, Borno; Mrs. Katherine Okon, Cross River; Nwofe Alexander, Ebonyi; Princess Victoria Bosede Onipede, Ekiti; Sen. Haruna Garba, Gombe; Mrs. Nonye Rajis-Okpara, Imo; Chief Eddy Onuoha, Imo; Mr. Adamu Babangida Ibrahim, Katsina; Mr. Olatokumbo Kamson, Lagos; Dr. Sam Jimba, Nasarawa; and Mr. Cornelius Oluwateru, Ondo.
Others were Col. Roland Omowa, Ondo; Mr. Akinyemi Faroubi, Osun; Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja, Oyo; Mrs. Matilda Kwashi, Plateau; Senator Abdallah Wali, Sokoto and Senator Lawan Guba, Yobe.
The Senate at plenary confirmed all the 56 career Ambassadors that were nominated.
Speaking on those who could not scale the screening, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Nwagwu, told journalists that the Committee was prepared to rescreen them for national interest.
According to the report, the Committee’s comments on Bunu said: “He demonstrated a fair knowledge of Nigerian issues, but his knowledge of foreign relations, diplomacy and global affairs was not impressive. The committee did not find him suitable.”
On Mrs Sifawu Inu Umoru-Momoh, the Committee said: “The nominee was not expressive when she appeared for the screening. She was nervous in her response to issues raised before her. She is not good in foreign relations, diplomacy or general questions. The committee was convinced that she is not a good material for ambassadorial appointment.”
On Ojih, the Committee noted that he was not forthcoming “with good responses to questions raised before him during the screening. The committee was not impressed with his performance which was below average.”
On Mrs Bianca Odumegwu Ojuwku, who was nominated to represent Anambra State on the list of non-career category, she did not appear for screening.
But answering questions on her issue, the Committee Chairman said with what she went through and still going through following the death of her husband, there was no way she would have appeared for screening, adding that she will be screen once she was through with her present predicament.