Don’t Confirm Ex-Sevice Chiefs as Ambassadors, Frank Urges Senate

By Deji Elumoye

As the National Assembly resumes plenary on Tuesday after a long Christmas break, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has asked the Senate not to confirm the nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari of the erstwhile service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.

The nominees, whose names were sent to the upper legislative chamber last week for confirmation are: Gen Abayomi Olonisakin (rtd), Lt. Gen. Tukur Y. Buratai (rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (rtd), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (rtd), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (rtd).

Frank, in a statement on Sunday, said the Senate if it considers the nominees would be going against its many resolutions in the past including vote of no confidence on the former army chiefs over incompetence.

According to him, the confirmation of the ex-commanders would amount to both chambers of the National Assembly returning to their vomit.

He listed occasions when the Senate and the House of Representatives had expressly urged President Buhari to sack the ex-military brass over lack of capacity, incompetence and failure to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

These, he said, include Senate’s resolution on a motion sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Yahaya Abudullahi, titled: “Nigerian Security Challenges: Urgent Need to Restructure, Review And Reorganize The Current Security Architecture” over the beheading of 67 rice farmers by Boko Haram insurgents in Zabarmari community in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.

He also mentioned the minority caucus in the House of Representatives which called for the sack of the service chiefs in reaction to the attack on the convoy of the Governor of Borno State, Baba Gana Zulum, by suspected Boko Haram terrorists, on July 31, 2020.

Frank noted that prominent groups in the country including the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere; Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development; apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndi’Igbo; and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had, at various times, called or supported calls for the sack of the service chiefs over their failure to secure the country – humongous annual defence budgets notwithstanding.

He also recalled that President Buhari had passed a vote of no confidence on the ex-military commanders when he told them that their “best was not good enough”.

The Bayelsa-born political activist wondered whose interest the Senate would be serving by confirming the ‘failed generals’ as ambassadors in the face of widespread doubt over their competence, capacity and capabilities when they held sway.

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