Ambassadorial Nominees Failed To Recite National Anthem, Pledge
An unexpected drama played out at the screening of career ambassadorial nominees by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday when three of the ambassadors designate could not answer elementary questions posed to them by the committee members.
The first nominee to be screened, Vivian Okeke from Anambra State, failed in her recitation of the National Anthem.
In spite of several attempts, she continued to omit the last eleven words in the last stanza of the anthem, “to serve with heart and might, one nation bound in freedom,” before ending with peace and unity.
Also the nominee from Niger State, Ibrahim Isa, failed to recite the national pledge correctly as he also fumbled with the last stanza of the pledge.
When told by the committee to recite the pledge, he concluded by saying, “to defend her unity and integrity, so help me God,” instead of “to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory, so help me God” which is the right wording of the pledge.
Jane Ndem, the nominee from Benue State, shocked the committee most when she failed the question posed by Chairman of the Committee, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu ( APC Oyo Central).
The nominee was asked to mention 12 out of the 36 states in the federation and their capitals, and she repeatedly mentioned Lagos and added Lagos as its capital.
Ikeja is the capital of Lagos State.
Surprised by her submission, a member of the committee, James Manager, interjected by asking, “Are you saying the capital of Lagos is Lagos?”
The nominee failing to get the drift of the question responded affirmatively by saying “yes, capital of Lagos State is Lagos because I even started my working career there,” which made the entire eight-man committee to burst into laughter.
Though newsmen were on hand to witness the embarrassing situation, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Senate Matters, Senator Ita Enang, however, tried to cover up the embarrassing situation as he issued a statement denying the failure of the nominees, saying nothing of such happened.
However, the nominees made very good submissions in their responses to other questions in terms of policy statement.
Okeke, in her submission on difficulties being faced by the embassies, mentioned underfunding as the major problem crippling the nation’s embassies which, according to her, has turned to big embarrassment to staff of the embassies who are more or less squeezing water out of stone to run the embassies.
Pressed further on his knowledge of foreign economic blueprint, the nominee explained succinctly how China got their economic prosperity right because their president at the time of their recession decided to shut its doors against import from other nations and was busy rebuilding China through domestic policy approach.
She also stressed that if Nigeria could configure its foreign policies with the interest of benefiting from resources abroad, it would help the situation immensely.
A total of 15 out of 47 were screened by the committee on Tuesday.
Senator Enang, in his rebuttal of blunders committed by some of the screened nominees, said the reported blunders were misrepresentation of fact.
The statement read: “Our Attention has been drawn to report by a section of the media that some Ambassadorial Nominees were unable to recite the National Anthem and Pledge while appearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for screening today.
“May I state that the nominees were able to respond to questions asked them, and also recited the National Anthem and Pledge when called upon. As such, the report by the media is incorrect.
“Subjecting them to criticisms at this point over a situation which never happened in the first place is most unfair and uncalled for.
“Let me use this opportunity to appreciate the effort of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Monsurat Sumonu, and members of the committee, for the intellectual and thorough manner in which the exercise is being carried out.”