Why Senate rejected 82-year-old ambassadorial nominee

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Go and ask Mugabe who is still working, Nsofor says

By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
— The 82-year-old retired judicial officer, Justice Sylvanus Nsofor,  who told a Senate panel that Information Technology was not meant for people of his age and failed to recite the National Anthem, yesterday, had his nomination to be an ambassador rejected by the Senate.


Justice Nsofor, who retired from the judiciary in 2005 and came in frail and feeble for the Senate screening, had also dismissed questions about his capacity to work when he directed the senators to “go and ask Robert Mugabe who is still working.”

He was one of the two of the 47 nominees presented by President Muhammadu Buhari that were rejected.

The other nominee was Mr. Jacob Daodu from Ondo State, who was rejected upon the security report on him by the Department of State Services, DSS.

The 45 others including Justice Adesola Oguntade from Lagos State were approved to represent the country abroad.

The 51-page report on the screening of the 47 nominees presented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, nevertheless, affirmed that Nsofor was not rejected because of his age but rather because of his satirical responses to questions and failure to answer many other questions.

Presenting her report on Justice Nsofor, Senator Sunmonu said: “His responses to the issues raised were either not answered or devoid of details and mostly satirical. For instance, we asked him to recite the National Anthem and he said we should have sent him a syllabus. A member of the committee asked him, if he knew about IT (and) he asked what is IT? And I told him Information Technology and he said, “it’s for your age, not mine.

“Also when asked if he was not too old, he said we should go and ask Mugabe who is still working. He has shown his temperament.”

On Daodu from Ondo State, Senator Sunmonu noted that the DSS report described him in unfavourable terms especially while he was Chairman of Ondo State Road Maintenance Agency.

“Although the nominee has acquired experience from his previous work places, his responses during the screening exercise did not have direct bearing on the issues raised and were not satisfactory to the committee’s expectation.”

In his remarks, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who congratulated the confirmed nominees, however, urged the Presidency to take note of comments on the performances of the nominees, just as he called on the government to settle all outstanding liabilities accrued to Nigeria’s foreign missions  to pave way for the smooth transition of the new ambassadors to wherever they are posted to.

Those confirmed yesterday as non-career ambassadors were Uzoma Emenike (Abia), Aminu Iyawa (Adamawa), Godwin Umo (Akwa Ibom), Christopher Okeke (Anambra), Yusuf Tuggar (Bauchi), Baba Magudu (Bauchi), Stanley Diriyai (Bayelsa), Stephen Ugba (Benue), Baba Ahmed Jidda (Borno), Etubom Asuquo (Cross River), Frank Ofeduma (Delta), Jonah Odo (Ebonyi) and Uyagwe Igbe (Edo).

Others were Eniola Ajayi (Ekiti), Chris Eze (Enugu), Sulieman Hassan (Gombe), Aminu Dalhatu (Jigawa), Ahmed Bamalli (Kaduna), Deborah Iliya (Kaduna), D. Abdulkadir (Kano), Haruna Ungogo (Kano),  Isa Dodo (Katsina), Mohammed Rimi (Katsina), Tijani Bande (Kebbi), Y. O. Aliu (Kogi), Nurudeen Mohammed (Kwara), Mohammed Yisa (Kwara), Adesola Oguntade (Lagos), Modupe Irele (Lagos), Musa Mohammed (Nasarawa), Ahmed Ibeto (Niger), Susanne Folarin (Ogun), Afolahan Adeyemi (Osun), Ashimiyu Olaniyi (Oyo), James Dimka (Plateau).

Also confirmed were Haruna Abdullahi (Plateau), Orji Ngofa (Rivers), Sahabi Gada (Sokoto), Kabir Umar (Sokoto), Hassan  Ardo (Taraba), Goni  Bura (Yobe), Garba Gajam (Zamfara), Bala Mairiga (Zamfara), Habiss Ibrahim Ugbada (FCT) and Adeyinka Asekun (Ogun).

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