Senate to govs: Stop running to Presidency for dispute resolution



 

The Senate Monday said the problem of insecurity emanating from incessant clashes between herders and farmers across the country will be thoroughly debated on Tuesday.

It also said the governors at their own level, should be able to resolve some local issues without necessarily running to the .

 Also, the upper chamber said the fate of former service chiefs nominated for ambassadorial positions by President Muhamnadu Buhari remains in the hands of members of its committee on foreign affairs for confirmation or otherwise.

 Fielding questions from journalists in Abuja, Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi North), said a motion for the debate on farmers/ herders’ clashes, particularly the recent ones that happened in Ondo and Oyo states , was already prepared by Deputy Senate Leader Robert Ajayi Boroffice (APC Ondo North).

 Yahaya described the problem as largely local and requiring local solutions which can be given by respective state governments and local government councils.

 “The Senate is disturbed that such crises in addition to armed and Boko Haram insurgency, remain unabated, and there can’t be development where there is no peace , the very reason , state actors at the grassroots need to be more involved in stopping them,” he said.

Yahaya further said interventions from all fronts against the crises were urgently  required, noting that ethnic entrepreneurs were trying to take advantage of the ugly .

  “With some kind of ethnic colouration of the herders / farmers’ clashes, urgent attentions are required at various levels of government to prevent them from further escalation.

 “These are kinds of crises that must be addressed promptly and squarely in preventing  ethnic entrepreneurs from hijacking the whole and putting the country in danger .

 “There are existential issues that have set communities that have hitherto lived together peacefully, against each other either for political advantage or political matters.

 “I think these are issues that should be resolved at the local level either through dialogue anchored on the spirit of   give and take. 

“Whatever crises that are involved should be resolved by political leaders at appropriate levels, be it at  the , at the level of the governors, local government and even  councillorship level where state actors are expected  to sit down with their people so that a lot of these issues can be articulated and addressed by the local population.

 “In fact, this is what the governors at their levels should do and not always running to the , to solve one dispute here and there .

 “This is a federation and we are all politically responsible leaders. I can assure you that in no distant time, these inter-communal conflagrations would be resolved. 

 “So, hopefully Tuesday or Wednesday this week, a general motion that will be sponsored by the deputy Senate leader, Ajayi Borroficce, will be debated on the floor of the Senate, ” the lawmaker said.

Ex-Service Chiefs

 On the fate of former service chiefs scaling the hurdle of Senate confirmation as ambassadorial nominees, the leader said: “Communications for the confirmation would be read hopefully by the Senate president tomorrow. And whatever happens, we will pass it on to the committee on foreign affairs and then the committee on foreign affairs will now do its deliberation.” 

“I am not one under this to pre-empt whatever the committee is going to decide because the committee is made up of several responsible and experienced senators have also been ambassadors themselves. So, they will know exactly what are required for people to be appointed as ambassadors to represent the country in whatever country. 

 “As leader of the Senate, this will be brought to the floor of the Senate. The committee will do its work and after that, they will bring the report to the Senate. I am sure all the questions will not escape the committee.

 “I don’t want to pre-empt them. Let them do what is just and right and let them apply all the criteria for appointment of ambassadors for the country which will be the basis of determining the fate of the nominees,” Yahaya said.

 Buratai speaks

Meanwhile, the immediate past Chief of Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Buratai (rtd), has expressed his readiness to take on any other appointment following his retirement.

Buratai also rated himself as performing well during his six-year term as the COAS.

He specifically listed infrastructural and regular training and retraining of personnel as his major achievements, adding that the country would get to know the impact of this in the next 5 to 10 years.

Buratai  spoke shortly after a special gala night organised by members of the 29th Regular Course (RC) Association of the Nigerian Defense Academy in Abuja at the weekend.

The ex- chief also said he won’t respond to criticism by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over his recent appointment as a non-career ambassador-nominee, pointing out that he is not a politician.

“It’s an honourable retirement and also an honourable appointment. I’m not a politician, so I have no word for the opposition. I have done well. I am happy that in July last year, my officers at the headquarters compiled a compendium of my achievements.

“In fact, I can’t even remember all the that we have executed. Is it in term of infrastructure? Is it in term of ? Is it in terms of training?

“Since I was appointed, there was never a dull moment in terms of training. Remember the various exercises. These are training exercises from ‘Python dance’, ‘Crocodile smile’, and even the latest one ‘Exercise Sahel Sanity’.

“Is it in the area of medical? In terms of education of our children and wards, the Nigerian University, are all great achievements.

“I think you can write volumes and volumes of books in terms of the achievements depending on the perspectives you want to take,” Buratai recalled.

On the impact made during his tenure, he said the country would be having highly qualified officers in the next 5 to 10 years, “ can carry this military profession to higher heights.”

On the reception in his honour,  he said: “It feels great [to be celebrated by my colleagues at this point in time. It means a lot to me in terms of respect, in term of the show of love.

“It’s something of pride that you have been recognised for the service you have rendered to your nation and people.”

A book titled “The stunning of a workaholic” written in his honour was also presented and distributed to guests at the event.

Buratai and other Service Chiefs “voluntarily resigned” their positions on 26 January 2021 after months of calls for their sack following a spate of insecurity in different parts of the country, especially in the northeast and the seeming failure of the security agencies to contain it.

President  Buhari had Thursday last week , through a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media , Femi Adesina, forwarded request for confirmation to the Senate, ambassadorial nominations of former Chief of Defence Staff , General Gabriel Olonisakin, Lt- Gen Buratai , former Chief of Air Staff , Air Vice Marshall Abubakar Sadique and former Chief of Naval Staff Vice  Admiral Ibok – Ete Ekwe Ibas.

 Buhari, in the letter of request said: “In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five (5) names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.”

 The request caused ripples in the polity last week as Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe ( PDP Abia South) and some political commentators, decried the nominations  describing them as reward for failure or non .

 ‘ not lobbying’

Meanwhile, the Monday denied lobbying senators for confirmation of appointments of immediate past service chiefs as ambassadors.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Matters (Senate) Senator Babajide Omoworare made the clarification in an interview with journalists in Abuja.

He said the Presidency was not losing sleep on the request.

 When asked whether lobbying was being used by the Presidency to get the appointments of the erstwhile service chiefs confirmed in the Senate, Omoworare said he was not aware of such move.

 He, however, described lobbying in governance between the executive and the legislature and vice versa, as normal and practised in all democracies.

 “I think if anybody says there is any lobbying going on as regards nominations of former service chiefs for ambassadorial appointments by Mr President, I am not aware.

 “But if there is lobbying going on for them to pass through the confirmation process,  I sincerely think it is in order, it is not an aberration, it’s not a transgression, it’s not a sin for lobbying to occur. 

 “Having been service chiefs before, should they be nominated as ambassadors, especially because they Senate and House of Representatives have not been on the same page with them? It is normal.

 “That does not mean they cannot be successful ambassadors. It is for the senators to determine whether looking at their profiles, their curriculum vitae and their credentials, they can be good representatives of Nigeria. 

 “For them to even be service chiefs, it means they have attained some heights because being service chief is being at the pinnacle of their career which is an achievement,” the presidential aide said. .

 He added that as cordial as between the 9th Senate and the Presidency is, some requests for confirmation have been rejected without causing any ill-feeling between them.

 “The president must have done his homework very well on nominations of the former service chiefs for the ambassadorial positions, which gives somebody like me the confidence that the appropriate committee of the Senate will confirm them at the end of the day,” he explained.

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