NEWS NEWSMAN INVESTIGATES

Appointments: ‘FCT Must Be Treated As A State’, Lawan Tells Buhari

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the Federal Capital Territory, FCT-Abuja, which serves as the capital of the country must be “treated as a state” with its indigenes given equal opportunities in terms of ambassadorial and other political appointments like other states of the federation.

Lawan made the statement at Senate plenary on Wednesday following a point of order by Senator representing FCT, Sen. Philip Tanimu Aduda who protested for the second time, the non-inclusion of an indigene of Abuja on the list sent by President Muhammadu Buhari for replacement of two non-career ambassadors-designate.

“What I’m going to advice is maybe we need to take more political action, so that it doesn’t always come like it is an after-thought. The FCT is to be treated like a state, that’s what the Constitution states, so you deserve one like any other state deserves”, Lawan said

Lawan described Aduda’s complain as valid, saying it is constitutional for an indigene of the FCT to be appointed as a non-career Ambassador by the President, a statement from the office of the Senate President said.

“I sympathize with the FCT but I know there were twelve non-career Ambassadors who were retained. I don’t know if you have an FCT indigene among those twelve, probably you should check that to see if you would see any FCT indigene, but your complaint is very valid. 
Buhari replaces two non-career Ambassadors-designate”, Lawan said.

Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda speaking during a Senate plenary on Tuesday where he raised a similar complaint before the upper chamber./Aduda Media Office

Senator Aduda, who is also the Senate Minority Whip, while coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules protested the exclusion of a non-career Ambassador from the FCT.

According to him, the only FCT indigene presently serving as a non-career Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Habis Ugbada, was not re-appointed. 

“For the ambassadorial nomination for the non-career, nothing has been said about the one for FCT. It has been silent and we have an Ambassador who is already sitting in Sierra Leone, his name is Ambassador Habis Ugbada. We don’t know what becomes of his fate because other states have been told to remain in their stations or they have been re-appointed. 

Senator Aduda said “my issue is that is it at this time (that) FCT will now lose an Ambassador. It is worrisome to me and the people of the FCT. Sitting here, names have been called for all other states except FCT and we have one.

“Now that particular non-career Ambassadorial slot for the FCT is being taken away from us and is being killed, otherwise we are also entitled to have, and that is what I have consistently said since this list came out. 

“So, Mr. President, I hope something can be done to this to help the people of the FCT. We don’t get Ministerial nomination, we don’t get so many of these things, but the small ones that we have is about to be taken away which should not be so”, Aduda said. 

Buhari replaces two non-career ambassadors-designate

The executive communication from President Muhammadu Buhari contained a request for the replacement and confirmation of two non-career Ambassadors-designate. 

The request was contained in a letter read during plenary by Senate President Lawan. 

The President sought to replace the earlier nomination of Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State, respectively.

The letter reads: “In accordance to Section 171(1)(2)(c) and subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of Mr. John J. Usanga and Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (rtd) from Akwa-Ibom and Niger State respectively, as non-career Ambassadors-designate.

“The Senate is kindly requested to recall my earlier submission of Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio and Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar from Akwa-Ibom and Borno State respectively, vide letter dated 17th June 2020, I substitute Mr. Oboro Effiong Akpabio with Mr. John J. Usanga (Akwa-Ibom State). I replace Brigadier General Bwala Yusuf Bukar (Borno State) with Air Commodore Peter Anda Bakiya Gana (Niger State).”

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