President Bola Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, is facing a lot of pressure as governors, retired military officers and other prominent Nigerians submit the names of their loyalists for ambassadorial appointments.
According to Punch, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Senior Special Assistant to the president on foreign affairs and international relations are also under intense pressure from the applicants.
Sources revealed that those who missed out on ministerial nominations were among the most eager for the ambassadorial positions.
An official who spoke anonymously said, “The President’s associates and state governors are increasing their lobbies for career and non-career ambassadorial nomination.
“They are pushing the profiles of their candidates. They are jettisoning those with a year or less to retire and picking those with longer career years ahead.”
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Ambassador Olusola Enikanolaiye; and the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, are under severe pressure from the lobbyists, including National Assembly members, APC support groups and party chieftains to be listed as ambassadors.
“Some of these lobbyists include past administrators, politicians, retired military men, unsuccessful governorship aspirants, and those who served as heads of agencies under Buhari, among others.”
When asked about the ratio of career and non-career diplomats that may be appointed, the source said, “Fifty-five percent to 45 percent.”
A report has it that most of the recalled ambassadors had returned to the country, while those who had yet to do so had formally handed over to the most senior officers at their diplomatic posts while perfecting travel plans to return home as directed.
A senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Most of the ambassadors are rounding off their tours of duty and heading back to Abuja. A good number of them have already returned.”
Similarly, a source in the Presidency said while some of the bigwigs in the APC and former governors had started submitting their curriculum vitae, some former ambassadors were also jostling to be reappointed.
While noting that the names of persons to be shortlisted remained confidential, the source added, “The Presidency didn’t extend it (ambassadorial appointment) for them (former envoys). Some of them are returning (to Nigeria) already. I don’t know anyone lobbying. I know that they’re working on it but I don’t know the specifics.
“People are submitting CVs. Different party leaders and stakeholders are pushing their interests. Even some of them (former ambassadors) are lobbying to be reinstated, so until the list is made official and published, anything can change.”