Former ministers, ex-governors, and other officials, who served in the administration of former President, Muhammadu Buhari, and political associates of President Bola Tinubu are lobbying for ambassadorial appointments.
According to Punch, chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), National Assembly members, and retired military officers are among those jostling for ambassadorial nominations.
Nigeria has a total of 109 missions, 76 embassies, 22 high commissions, and 11 consulates abroad.
Naija News understands that the lobbying for ambassadorial appointments commenced after President Tinubu recalled all the envoys from their posts on September 2, 2023.
The envoys were directed to return to the country on or before October 31.
Former President, Muhammadu Buhari, on October 20, 2016, approved the nomination of 46 non-career ambassadors-designate in addition to the previous nomination of 47 career ambassadors-designate.
There was controversy over the recall of ambassadors by Buhari’s government but his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, debunked the reports in a statement.
According to Shehu, only 25 career ambassadors, who had attained the retirement age and had been in public service for 35 years, were recalled.
He stated, “There was nothing like mass recall of ambassadors. What happened lately is that 25 career ambassadors, who attained the retirement age, or 35 years of public service in December 2018, were recalled.
“They were allowed to remain at their duty posts and given an extension, if that is the word, in view of the upcoming elections, which are now behind us.”
Buhari in January 2021, approved the posting of 95 envoys, comprising 43 career and 52 non-career ambassadors, to man the nation’s diplomatic missions.
Before the approval, the Senate had ratified their nomination in 2020.
The diplomats were deployed after they were confirmed by the Senate in accordance with Section 171(2) (1c) and subsection 4 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, on September 2, 2023 recalled the envoys.
The minister confirmed the development following reports that Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Isola, had been recalled.
But while clarifying the directive, Tuggar said the action was not a witch-hunt and that it applied to all career and non-career envoys.
The minister, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Al-Kashim Abdul-Kadir, said, “Sequel to the enquiries on the letter recalling the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, has reaffirmed that all career ambassadors and non-career ambassadors have been recalled on the instructions of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
The Presidency later clarified that all the country’s United Nations permanent representatives in New York and Geneva were exempted from the recall.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said the exemption was a result of the UN General Assembly, which was held between September 18 and 22.
Punch revealed that the Presidency had begun compiling the list of new ambassadors.
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