The Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, has commended the Senate for its commitment to confirming non-career ambassadorial nominees.
Enang, who gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said that approval of the nominees would help to drive the country’s foreign policy.
He said that the commencement of screening by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs was an indication that the senate was committed to good governance.
According to him, the screening of 23 nominees out of the 46 in one day showed clearly that the legislature was fully committed to moving the country forward.
“I want to appreciate the President for the quality of the candidates he has chosen and presented as non-career ambassadors.
“Also, the screening process by the committee has shown that they are dedicated and very thorough.
“The questions that the people have been able to answer have also shown us the stuff they are made of and there is no doubt that they would represent Nigeria well.
“I also want to appreciate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my staff because we did a lot of preparation to see this through.
“The committee made up of very eminent Nigerians like former speaker and other eminent lawmakers really took on the nominees and they have been able to prove they were worthy of their nomination.
“They also took time to take on all the nominees one-by-one, gave them the guidelines and template for handling the job before the screening.
“This is one of the most thorough processes of screening I have witnessed over time,’’ he said.
On concerns by some Nigerians that some of the nominees were over 60 years and may not be able to stand the rigours of the job, Enang said that none of them was too old to be an ambassador for a country.
He said, “to be an ambassador for a country, you must have acquired a lot of experience either as a judge, a member of the legislative house, a commissioner or permanent secretary.
“You must have held some post of great responsibility. That is what happens in diplomacy.’’
He added that young Nigerians were equally given the opportunity to serve the country in other countries.
Enang pointed out that the need for experience notwithstanding, there was room for young people to also grow.
According to him, the current list contains names of some young people.
“We have the political class, which are the non-career and the career ambassadorial nominees.
“The career ambassadors are the younger ones that are within the career and even in the non-career list, some are between 37 years and 40 years old and there are others that are above 50 years.
“So it is a good mix-up and none of them is too old to represent Nigeria in another country,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee completed the screening of 23 non-career ambassadorial nominees out of 46 of them on Tuesday.
The nominees who were screened are Goni Bura (Yobe), Yusuf Tuggar (Bauchi), Ahmed Ibeto (Niger), Kabiru Umar (Sokoto) and Baba Madugu (Bauchi).
Others are Baba Jidda (Borno), Justice George Oguntade (Lagos), Garba Gajam (Zamfara), Bala Mairiga (Zamfara), Christopher Okere (Anambra), Etubon Asuquo (Cross River) and Nurudeen Mohammed (Kwara).
The list also had Amin Dalhatu (Jigawa), Ahmed Bamali (Kaduna), Prof. Dandatti Abdulkadir (Kano), Justice Isa Dodo (Katsina), Prof. Mohammed Yisa (Kwara), Mrs Modupe Irele (Lagos) and Suzanne Folarin (Ogun).
Maj. Gen. Ashimiyu Olaniyi (Oyo), Oriji Ngofa (Rivers), Jonah Odo (Ebonyi) and Eniola Ajayi (Ekiti) also made the list.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Jan. 12 re-transmitted nominees’ list to the senate for confirmation after it was first rejected.