Nigeria is still widening recruitment into the ambassadorial circuit as the president renews the appointments of 12 non-career ambassadors, resting that on a performance evaluation necessitating approval for continuation in office of the ambassadors. But the exercise is raising questions in informed circles as to whether The Presidency in Nigeria is still afflicted by a screening virus that allowed for the announcement of dead persons in the past?
This follows the hint this evening that the government obviously did not know that Ekiti and Niger States had no appointees in the list of non-career ambassadors released yesterday. The hint is there where Mallam Garba Shehu who signed a statement on presidential approval for tenure elongation for 12 subsisting ambassadors stressed assurance of fairness in representation and inclusiveness in all matters of governance from the president. The assurance, said the presidential spokesperson “became necessary following recent complaints after announcement of 41 non-career ambassadors that some states were not captured”.
The statement might be capable of many interpretations but if the government were aware of the omission, would it not have been the justification for that which would have been stressed instead of assurance of closing unfairness gaps? It remains puzzling why this has been the trend since 2015, pointing to lack of an authoritative clearing house on presidential appointment in the context of desperate bids for such appointments and in the process of which camels are believed to be passing through the eye of the needle very easily.
Although the president would still decide if those who are being asked to continue will also remain in their current postings, the present exercise involves:
- Mrs Uzoma E. Emenike (Abia)
- Yusuf M. Tuggar (Bauchi)
- Muhammad B. Madugu (Bauchi)
- Amb. Baba Ahmad Jidda (Borno)
- Uyigue O. Oghogho (Edo)
- Dr. Eniola Ajayi (Ekiti)
- Deborah S. Iliya (Kaduna)
- Mohammed D. Rimi (Katsina)
- Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Kebbi)
- Dr Modupe E. Irele (Lagos)
- Adeyinka Asekun (Ogun)
- Sen. Goni Modu Zanna Bura (Yobe)
A careful consideration of the totality (that is the career, non-career and those now permitted to over stay) shows that Delta, Ekiti, Sokoto and Zamfara have one ambassador each while Abia, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Plateau, Rivers and Taraba states have two each.
Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross Rivers, Edo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos and Osun states have three each while Bauchi, Kwara, Ogun and Oyo have 4 each. Only two states of Borno and Kano which have five each.
It shows a surprising balance between the North and the South as there is equal number of states from each region that have only one ambassador; seven Southern states and six Northern states that have two each; six states from each region have three each in the same way that two from each region have four each. The only puzzle is Kano and Borno having five each, one from the Northwest and the other from the Northeast.
The question now is how many missions exist at ambassadorial level. The battle will now also shift to who gets posted to where, with preferences being for the diplomatic hubs in Western Europe and North America even as every other country is, theoretically, strategic to Nigeria’s national interest.