How favoritism, inclusion of non-Muslim nominee from Sokoto, gerontocrats forced Buhari to withdraw ambassadorial list

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President Muhammadu Buhari

By Adnan Tudunwada

Public outcry, deluge of petitions and protests have dogged the release of the list of 44 non-career ambassadors by President Muhammadu Buhari about a month ago, forcing the president to reverse his decision.

The president might have bowed to the intense pressure mounted by the ruling APC governors and later the decision of the Senate to reject the list on the basis that it neither bore political theme nor reflect spirit of fairness and balance.

Other reasons that forced the president to withdraw the list was the fact that some of the nominees declined the offer on the basis of lack of consultation, while others were included without a proper background check.

A nominee from Plateau State, Pauline Tallen, said she rejected the offer in order to focus her attention on her ailing husband, and that her nomination did not reflect political balance in her state.

 “I hail from the same local government and tribe with Gov. Simon Lalong. I turned down the nomination because of balancing of appointments; I don’t think it is right for me to accept the appointment,” she said.

Another nominee from Katsina State, Usman Bugaje, said he could not accept the offer because he had so much in his hands, “especially the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), which is the only broad platform in the north driving development”.

In a meeting the president had at the presidential villa with Progressive Governors, the governors expressed their displeasure over how they were sidelined in not only nominating the would-be ambassadors but other federal appointments.

Citing lack of consultation and political imbalance in the making of the federal appointments, the governors convinced the president to rescind on the decision, while the president demanded that their request be put into writing.

There was also a series of petitions against the nominees, according to the Senate committee Chairman on foreign Affairs Monsurat Sunmonu. She added that the Senate had received more than 200 petitions against the nominees.

Daily Nigerian reliably gathered that the Sokoto nominee, Jamila Ahmadu-Suka, was a Personal Assistant to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

Sources at the Presidency said she was included into the list by Mr. Onyeama without a proper background check and consultation.

“For instance, it will be unfair if Buhari picks a Muslim nominee from a Christian dominated state of say Akwa Ibom. The people of that state won’t take that. So Buhari discovered that the Sokoto nominee, Jamila Ahmadu-Suka, is a Christian, and was originally from Niger State,” said the source who preferred anonymity.

Sources said Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai also protested the nomination of Mohammed Yero, arguing that he is not even a member of their party.

According our sources, a similar protest was also made by Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, faulting the nomination of Haruna Ungogo and Professor Dandatti Abdulkadir.

Our reporter gathered that both Ungogo and Abdulkadir are septuagenarians. While the former served as secretary to Kano State Government over 20 years ago, the latter served as a vice chancellor of Bayero University, Kano and later Nigerian ambassador to Libya some 25 years ago.

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