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Senate rejects ambassadorial nominees

• Summons SGF, Minister

• PDP senators withdraw support for Buhari

ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja

Following the lopsided list of 47 career diplomats, Senate on Wednesday summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geofrey Onyeama,.
The lawmakers in rejecting the ambassadorial nominees forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari mandated its Committee  on Foreign Affairs to investigate the petitions against ambassadorial nominees and report back to the Senate in two weeks.
According to observation raised by senators, it was alleged that some states were excluded from the list whereas some states had up to three nominees.
Besides, 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.
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.”
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.”
Meanwhile, senators of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Wednesday, vowed to henceforth frustrate every communication from President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress, APC government to the Senate.
The senators said their decision to cease further cooperation with the Buhari administration was based on what they called “unwarranted threats to the legislative arm of government, particularly to the Senate leadership by the executive arm, as well as the on-going intimidation and persecution of the opposition party (PDP) by the ruling party (APC).”
In a press briefing in Abuja, where they formally announced their withdrawal of support in all forms for the ruling government, the senators accused Buhari of persecuting their party members in the guise of fighting corruption while turning deaf ears on his party members who have corruption allegations hanging on their necks.
While condemning the freezing of personal account of Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose by the anti-graft agency allegedly on the order of the president, the senators challenge Buhari to extend probe of campaign funds beyond the PDP controlled states.
The statement read in part: “We, the PDP senators met in our caucus meeting yesterday 21st June, 2016 and deliberated on the state of the nation, and to examine our position on unwarranted threats to the legislative arm of government, particularly to the Senate leaadership by the executive arm, as well as the on-going intimidation/persecution of the opposition party (PDP) by the ruling party (APC)
“Arising from the forgoing, the caucus passed resolutions condemning in totality the orchestrated plot to remove the President of the Senate and his Deputy, through an illegal means. The deployment of state instruments of coercion to intimidate an independent arm of government like the legislature is now a major threat to the survival of our democracy.
“The glaring witch-hunt of perceived opposition elements in the polity is invitation to anarchy. The war against corruption should not be selective, must be fought with sincerity and not the politics that is being played now with ‘war against corruption’.
“We therefore condemn in strong terms the sentiments displayed in fighting corruption for example freezing of account of the Ekiti State Governor, is clearly a political witch hunt. Since the war against corruption has devolved into probing campaign funds, it should be extended to all parties, APC inclusive.
“The PDP Senate Caucus therefore wish to warn the Executive arm of government to act with caution on matters that have the potency to subvert our democracy. The Executive must therefore desist from these acts of lawlessness that are only typical in a military dictatorship. ‘
“The caucus therefore wish to advise the APC led government to concentrate on the existing economic and security challenges that are threatening our survival as a nation. “Finally, the PDP Caucus wish to reiterate that we will no longer support the APC government until they cease the belligerent attitude towards PDP members.
The resolution was signed by the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio and the Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha. Others are Senator Phillip Aduda, Senator Minority Whip and Biodun Olujimi, Deputy Senate Minority Whip.

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