ABUJA — THE Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has begun the screening of Ambassadorial nominees forwarded to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari.
There was, however, drama as two of the nominees, who appeared before the Senator Monsurat Sunmonu-led committee could not recite properly stanzas of the National Anthem and the Pledge. One of the nominees, Vivian Okeke, from Anambra State failed when she was asked to sing the National Anthem.
During her screening, Mrs Okeke was asked by Monsurat Summonu, the chairman of the committee, to sing the National Anthem. Mrs Okeke during the recital, mumbled the last stanza of the National Anthem but was aided by a member of the committee, Senator James Manager. She was the first nominee to be screened of the 47 ambassadorial nominees.
However, the nominee said the three major changes that should be made must be in the area of fighting corruption, insurgency and diversification of the economy. She also said that returnees should be received when the country puts in effort, even as she stressed the need for the country to look into the area of financing and salary payments.
Also during his appearance, Alhaji Ibrahim Bida from Niger currently serving in Turkey, could not recite the National Pledge when he was asked to do so. Ibrahim began stammering, having introduced himself successfully and on getting to singing the pledge, it became difficult for him as he began to mix up words.
The eight-man committee, including the chairman, Senator Sunmonu, burst into laughter.
Questioned on his knowledge of foreign economic blueprint, Bida, however, explained succinctly how China got its economy right because the country’s President at the time of recession, decided to shut its doors against other nations and was busy rebuilding China through domestic policy approach.
On his part, Mr Akeem Toyin Balogun, while undergoing the screening, alerted that Nigerian foreign missions were heavily indebted, saying the development was as a result of underfunding.
He said the missions should be funded based on their needs and not on that of the country, tasking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all missions to work closely with the National Assembly, since appropriation comes from the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, a total of 15 of 47 of the ambassadorial nominees were screened yesterday.