Thewill Editorial: Buhari Should Consult Widely Before Making Appointments
SAN FRANCISCO, November 04, (THEWILL) – The list of 46 ambassadorial nominees recently submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate has thrown up some questions on the evenhandedness of the Federal Government while taking critical decisions of national interest.
Following public outcry that it was skewed in favour of a section of the country, the upper chamber reacted by summoning the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, to explain the parameters used in arriving at the nomination.
Besides, 23 governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, have complained that they were not consulted before the nominees from their states were picked.
The appointing government failed to justify the clear omission of some states on the career ambassadorial nominees’ list where other states got as high as three slots.
While the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said, “the number of complaints received this time around is more than usual,” the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Shehu Sani, affirmed that the committee was looking into the torrents of complaints.
Among those who expressed disapproval were Senators Joshua Dariye, Plateau State, Foster Ogola from Bayelsa State and Philip Adoda, representing the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. Ogola expressed displeasure that his state was left out of the nominations. He said it was unfair that Bayelsa, which produces over 30 per cent of the nation's oil wealth, could be so treated.
He urged the Senate to return the list to President Muhammadu Buhari for an amendment that would reflect equal representation before it could be acted upon.
More recently, the President sent another list, this time that of non-career ambassadors to the Senate for approval and confirmation. This has also been dogged by controversy as two nominees, Pauline Tallen and Usman Bugaje, have turned their nomination, indicating that the President did not even consult those to be appointed before their names were submitted.
Yet this is happening in spite of state governors elected on the platform of the ruling APC who are complaining that the President is sidestepping them while appointing those to serve in the Federal Government from their respective states. Speaking on the lopsided nature of the appointments, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State faulted the decision of the president to come up with the list and send it to the Senate without adequate consultation.
According to the Chairman of APC governors forum and Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, “Most members of the APC feel that they have not been carried along. I know that many of them are complaining every day.”
THEWILL condemns any move by government that fails to give every section of Nigeria a sense of belonging or negates the principle of federal character. Little wonder when the request of the President for the consideration of the ambassadorial nominees was thrown up for voice vote on Tuesday , Majority of senators voted against it even though Senator Saraki relied on his veto power to overrule those who overwhelmingly voted ‘nay’.
This should send a clear message to the Executive arm of government on the need for things to be done the right way in order not to be embarrassed or portrayed as insensitive to the multifarious nature of the Nigerian nation. We therefore stand by the argument of the aggrieved senators that, “As far as federalism and federal character are concerned, there is no reason the president should submit a list of ambassadorial nominees where some states are not represented.”
Considering that there are many more appointments to be made down the line, THEWILL expects the president to go beyond conferring with those in his kitchen cabinet while deciding on who gets to be saddled with the responsibility of handling federal government jobs. We believe that reaching out to critical stakeholders including those to be appointed will reduce the criticisms and rejections that come with federal appointments in recent times.