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State governors as well as former ministers and other officials, who served in the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari, and the political associates of President Bola Tinubu have launched an intense lobbying for appointment as Nigerian ambassadors to foreign countries.

Saturday PUNCH gathered that chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, National Assembly members and retired military officers were among those jostling for ambassadorial nominations.

Nigeria has a total of 109 missions, 76 embassies, 22 high commissions and 11 consulates abroad.

The desperate lobby for ambassadorial appointments commenced after the Federal Government recalled all the envoys from their posts on September 2, 2023.

The envoys were directed to return to the country on or before October 31.

On October 20, 2016, former President Muhammadu Buhari approved the nomination of 46 non-career ambassadors-designate in addition to the previous nomination of 47 career ambassadors-designate.

Earlier, there was controversy over the recall of ambassadors by Buhari’s government but his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, debunked the reports in a statement, saying only 25 career ambassadors, who had attained the retirement age and had been in public service for 35 years, were recalled.

He explained in a statement, “There was nothing like mass recall of ambassadors. What happened lately is that 25 career ambassadors, who attained the retirement age, or 35 years of public service in December 2018, were recalled.

“They were allowed to remain at their duty posts and given an extension, if that is the word, in view of the upcoming elections, which are now behind us.”

In January 2021, Buhari approved the posting of 95 envoys, comprising 43 career and 52 non-career ambassadors, to man the nation’s diplomatic missions.

Before the approval, the Senate had ratified their nomination in 2020.

The diplomats were deployed after they were confirmed by the Senate in accordance with Section 171(2) (1c) and subsection 4 of the 1999 Constitution.

But the envoys were recalled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, on September 2, 2023.

The minister confirmed the development following reports that Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Isola, had been recalled.

But while clarifying the directive, Tuggar said the action was not a witch-hunt and that it applied to all career and non-career envoys.

The minister, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Al-Kashim Abdul-Kadir, had said, “Sequel to the enquiries on the letter recalling the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, has reaffirmed that all career ambassadors and non-career ambassadors have been recalled on the instructions of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

The Presidency later clarified that all the country’s United Nations permanent representatives in New York and Geneva were exempted from the recall.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said the exemption was a result of the UN General Assembly, which was held between September 18 and 22.

Our correspondents could not confirm whether the recall order had been extended to Nigeria’s UN permanent representatives in New York and Geneva after the UNGA.

Foreign affairs ministry officials had yet to provide information on the status of the diplomats as of the time of filing this report on Friday.

Saturday PUNCH had reported that the Presidency had begun compiling the list of new ambassadors.

Following the development, it was gathered that the jostle for the vacant diplomatic posts escalated with politicians and other interested individuals bombarding the President and his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, with requests for nomination.

Our correspondents further learnt that the foreign affairs minister and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Ambassador Olusola Enikanolaiye, had come under immense pressure from prominent Nigerians seeking appointments.

Sources disclosed that those who failed to get ministerial nominations were at the forefront of the rush for the ambassadorial positions.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official said, “The President’s associates and state governors are intensifying 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 intense 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 per cent to 45 per cent.”

One of our correspondents gathered that the majority 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.

Confirming this, 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.”

However, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof Bola Akinterinwa, urged President Tinubu to desist from appointing ambassadors as a reward system for his cronies.

He said the President should consider appointing academic ambassadors who specialised in handling international affairs of the countries they would serve in, saying most political ambassadors usually pursue personal interests over national interests.

Akinterinwa said, “Political ambassadors are not interested in any national interest to protect abroad. The moment they are appointed, they look out for how to survive even after the tenure of the President who appoints them.

“Nigerian politicians do not place priority on the protection of national interests. If President Tinubu is not careful with the appointments and decides to reward his political cronies and friends, Nigeria will certainly be in trouble very shortly.

“If we are suggesting academic diplomats, I agree with that; there are many academic diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There can be a focus on the specialisation of those who have served in some countries if they meet the level of Grade Level 16 or 17; those are the people they should be looking out for.”

Speaking further, the former NIIA DG explained that anyone appointed as an ambassador without prior training as a diplomatic agent, or career ambassador was referred to as a “political ambassador.”

“Political ambassadors need diplomatic training to be able to perform diplomatic functions enshrined in the 1961 Vienna Convention. Most unfortunately, it is the political ambassadors that have always behaved in a manner considered not compatible with the status of diplomats,” he added.

The Code of Conduct Bureau has arraigned the Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Graft Commission, Muhuyi Magaji on a 10-court charge of corruption before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.

The charges against Magaji, who was arraigned on Thursday, November 17, bother on alleged breach of the code of conduct for public officers; conflict of interest, abuse of office, false asset declaration, bribery, and accepting gifts, among others.

The CCB in a document exclusively obtained by our correspondent noted that investigation showed that the Chairman failed to declare some bank accounts bearing his name and that have the sum of N394m, thereby raising suspicion of corruption.

The defendant was, however, granted bail in the sum of N5m with two sureties that have properties within the FCT, while the case was adjourned to January 10, 2024.

Saturday PUNCH had earlier reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau are probing Magaji over his stewardship under the administration of the former Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

Magaji who was probing the former Kano State governor, now National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, for alleged corruption over a viral video showing the former governor allegedly receiving kickbacks in dollars from a contractor, had vowed to investigate the video and bring Ganduje to book, if found guilty.

While a letter by the EFCC, obtained by our correspondent on Saturday, directed the PCACC’s Director of Finance and Accounts to appear for an interview at its headquarters in Jabi, Abuja on August 29, a correspondence by the CCB, also seen by our correspondent, requested for documents concerning his stewardship.

Both federal agencies asked the PCACC’s chair to furnish them with financial records and details of forfeited properties.

“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly release the director of finance and accounts to report for an interview with the undersigned through the team leader AFF/TC at Plot 301/302 Institution and Research District Jabi, along Airport Road, Abuja on Monday, 29th August 2023 by 10:00 hours.

“He should come along with the following information; Details of total funds released to your office by the Office of the Accountant General of Kano state from 2019 to 2021 fiscal year.

“Details of total funds released to your office by the Kano State Ministry of Local Government from 2019 to 2021 including contracts executed and details of beneficiary accounts,” the correspondence stated.

The CCB letter, however, read in part, “Consequently, you are kindly requested to furnish the Bureau with certified True Copies of detailed information on the following: All contractual undertakings by the Commission from 2016 to date.

Liberian incumbent president and football legend George Weah conceded defeat on Friday evening after nearly complete returns showed opposition leader Joseph Boakai leading with nearly 51 per cent of the run-off ballots.

"The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that... Boakai is in a lead that we cannot surpass," Weah said in a speech on national radio.

The "CDC (party) has lost the election, but Liberia has won. This is the time for graciousness in defeat, to put national interest above personal interest," he said.

The expected victory for former vice president Boakai would be sweet revenge for the 78-year-old, who lost to Weah, 57, by a large margin in the second-round presidential vote in 2017.

With more than 99.5 per cent of the polling stations reporting vote tallies after Tuesday's second-round vote, Boakai had garnered 50.89 per cent of ballots cast, with Weah on 49.11 per cent, according to official results released by the electoral commission.

Boakai was 28,000 votes ahead of Weah, according to Friday's figures, after the two men finished neck-and-neck in the first round last month, with a national lead of just 7,126 votes for Weah.

The United States extended its congratulations to "president-elect Boakai on his victory and President Weah for his peaceful acceptance of the results".

"We call on all citizens to follow President Weah's example and accept the results," US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Weah said he had spoken to Boakai "to congratulate him on his victory".

"The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice. However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country," Weah said in his speech.

"Let us heal the divisions caused by the campaign and come together as one nation and one united people."

The elections were the first since the United Nations in 2018 ended its peacekeeping mission, created after more than 250,000 people died in two civil wars in Liberia between 1989 and 2003.

International observers, including the European Union, commended Liberia this week for holding a peaceful election.

Regional bloc ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, said the election was "largely" peaceful, but it noted isolated incidents that led to "injuries and hospitalisations" in four provinces.

Clashes during the campaign left several dead before the first round and raised fears of post-election violence.

Around 2.4 million Liberians were eligible to vote on Tuesday, but no turnout figures have been released.

Boakai is an old political hand, having served as vice president to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state, from 2006 to 2018.

He is set to lead the English-speaking country of around five million people, one of the poorest in the world, for six years.

More than a fifth of the population lives on less than $2.15 a day, according to the World Bank.

Boakai forged alliances with local barons, including former warlord and senator Prince Johnson, who supported Weah six years ago.

Dozens of Boakai's supporters danced in celebration outside one of his party's offices in the capital Monrovia.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released the seven serving military personnel linked with alleged internet-related fraud.

The suspects which include one Army personnel and six from the Nigerian Air Force were arrested by the Kaduna Zonal office of the anti-graft agency on Monday and were remanded in the custody of the commission for further investigation and possibly prosecution.

However, the matter took a new twist on Friday morning as armed soldiers from the Nigerian Air Force invaded the EFCC office at Number 4 Wurno Road in the Kaduna State capital to enforce the release of their colleagues from detention.

COMBO: NAF personnel storm the EFCC office in Kaduna State in patrol vans over the arrest of their colleagues on internet fraud claims on Friday, November 17, 2023.


The soldiers who arrived at the EFCC office in five Hilux patrol vans at about 10 am, surrounded the main gate of the commission, thereby preventing the EFCC officials from going in or coming out of their offices.

The situation led to a showdown between the Air Force personnel and EFCC security operatives, who engaged themselves in a shouting match and threatened to pull the trigger against each other.

After nerves were calmed, the EFCC Zonal Head and the leader of the Air Force team, met briefly after which the suspects were released.

Reacting to the incident, the EFCC spokesman, Dele Oyewale told Channels Television in a phone call that the Commission released the suspects upon completion of an investigation and forensic profiling.

“The EFCC exercised restraint in the face of the provocation and flagrant abuse of power. The Commission continued to engage with the leadership of the Nigeria Air Force and released the officers to the NAF Provost after they had been duly profiled,” Oyewale said in another statement late Friday.

He explained that the release and handing over of the suspects to their agency was done in line with the commission’s operating procedure, adding that the suspects would still be arraigned in court at the appropriate time despite being released to their agency.

The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja affirmed the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State in the March 18 governorship election.

The three-man panel of justices were unanimous, awarding no cost as the court ruled that each party to the matter should bear their costs.

Politics Nigeria reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Governor Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election which took place in March.

Following the declaration of Mohammed as the winner, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sadique Abubakar, approached the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in the state to challenge Governor Mohammed’s victory.

Chairman of the three-man panel, P. T. Kwahar, in his judgment, affirmed the victory of Mohammed who once served as minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

However, not satisfied with the tribunal’s judgment, Abubakar filed a petition at the Appeal Court challenging the decision of the lower court.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, Friday morning, nullified the election of Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf, declaring his rival, Nasir Gawuna of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the winner of the March 18 governorship election.

The judgement was delivered by a three-member panel of justices led by Justice Moore A. Adumein.

The panel based their decision on the fact that Yusuf, a candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), was not a registered member of the party and, therefore, not qualified to contest the election.

The court held that according to Section 77 of the Electoral Act, 2022, every political party is mandated to maintain a register of its members.

“The appellant to his own detriment did not submit his NNPP membership registrar or even tendered his statement on oath regarding his membership of the party,” Justice Adumein stated.

The court further emphasised the importance of a membership register, noting that the 1999 Constitution requires political parties to have such a register and submit it to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Election Petition Tribunal when necessary.

“As rightfully found, Yusuf Abba was not a member of the NNPP at the time he was purportedly sponsored by his party and he was not qualified to contest the March Governorship Election,” Justice Adumein concluded.

Recall that the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal previously declared Gawuna the winner of the March 18 election.

The tribunal had overturned INEC’s initial announcement of Yusuf as the winner, citing electoral malpractices, including the use of over 160,000 unsigned and unstamped ballot papers.

With Yusuf’s votes reduced by 165,663 due to the invalid ballots, Gawuna’s lead widened.

President Bola Tinubu has succumbed to the cry from different quarters and stopped the 40% deduction from universities’ Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Speaking at an ongoing 75th Founder’s Day ceremony at the University of Ibadan (UI), on Friday, the president said 40 per cent automatic deductions from IGR is inappropriate at this period.

Represented by the Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, the visitor to the nation’s premier president pledged his commitment to the reform of the education sector as the base for national development.

“The 40 per cent IGR automatic deduction policy stands cancelled. This is not the best time for such policy since our universities are struggling,” he said.

Recall that the Federal Government, in a letter dated October 17, 2023, tagged “Implementation of 40% automatic deduction from internally generated revenue of partially funded federal government institutions,’ said it would begin the deduction with effect from November 2023.

The letter, which was signed by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Madein, Director of Revenue and Investment, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Felix Ore-ofe Ogundairo, said the auto-deduction policy of gross IGR was in line with the Finance Circular with reference number FMFBNP/OTHERS/IGR/CRF/12/2021 dated December 20, 2021.

This however generated a lot of uproar by tertiary institutions especially when the institutions have maintained that they are underfunded.

Reacting, President of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (C O E A S U) Dr. Smart Olugbeko said, there was no basis to apply this directive to the Colleges of Education because revenues collected in the Colleges are meager charges meant for the discharge of specific services.

“In other words, Federal Colleges of Education do not generate IGR. What they charge are service charges for student identity cards, health clinic services, hostel maintenance, laboratory equipment, teaching practice, consumables, etc,” he said.

He said it is necessary to note that the aforementioned charges cover for government inefficiency as these services are not being funded by the government.

“Following the monetisation policy of 2003, the Government basically stopped paying for outsourced services such as cleaning, grass-cutting, facility maintenance, and security, which are supposed to be government responsibilities.”

“Government only gives the Federal Colleges between an average of N8 million monthly to run the Colleges and this fund is not always made available as and when due, creating serious challenges in running the institutions,” he added.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld the ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal sacking Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State.

In its judgment on Friday, the Appeal Court agreed with the judgment of the tribunal, ruling that the fielding of Abba Yusuf was in breach of the Electoral Law as he was not qualified to contest that Election

The verdict comes nearly two months after the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on September 20, sacked Yusuf, declaring the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Nasiru Gawuna, as the winner of the March 18 election.

Yusuf, who contested on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the poll in March.

The tribunal deducted 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s total as invalid votes, stating that the affected ballot papers were not stamped or signed and therefore declared invalid.

The ruling came about six months after the APC candidate conceded defeat to Yusuf in the wake of INEC’s presentation of the certificate of return to the NNPP candidate.

In a two-minute audio statement on March 29, Gawuna stated that “as a good Muslim”, he was compelled to accept the outcome of the election, whether in his favour or not.

He added that although his campaign team had requested a review of the election results by INEC, upon review, the commission had found Yusuf to be the winner of the election.

Following the conclusion of last Saturday’s off-cycle governorship elections, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Kogi State governor-elect, Usman Ododo, have received their certificates of return.

Diri, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in Bayelsa, and his running mate, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, were presented with their certificates of return on Friday at the state headquarters of INEC, Yenagoa.

Meanwhile, Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his deputy, Joel Salifu, received their certificates at the INEC headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State.

Speaking in Bayelsa, INEC National Commissioner May Agbamuche-Mbu emphasised that both pairs had fulfilled the electoral requirements set forth by the commission.


Expressing gratitude for non-interference in the electoral process, Diri commended President Bola Tinubu.

Photo of Ododo presented certificate of return. Credit: Twitter/Usman Ododo

He also pointed out the importance of understanding the true essence of democracy for its successful implementation in Nigeria.

Diri called for an end to the use of violence, such as guns and machetes as a means of securing electoral victory.

Highlighting the significance of democracy, the Bayelsa governor dedicated his victory to the people of the state and urged those in the diaspora to contribute to the state’s development through investments.

Photo of Douye Diri presented certificate of return. Credit: Twitter/Okpeke Ebisuobo

Diri secured a total of 175,196 votes in the 2023 elections, surpassing his closest rival, Timpre Sylva, by 65,088 votes, while the Labour Party’s Udengs Eradiri secured a distant third with 905 votes.

In Kogi, Ododo emerged victorious with 446,237 votes, defeating Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who garnered 259,052 votes. Dino Melaye of the PDP polled 46,362 votes.

The Federal Government has arraigned the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on a six-count charge bordering on alleged procurement.

The original charge, which was 20 counts to the tune of N6.5 billion, has been reduced to six, to the tune of N1.6 billion. Emefiele is the only defendant in the new charge.

The former CBN governor appeared in court on Friday for an application for bail, pleading not guilty to the six-count charge after it was read to him.

Emefiele arrived just in time for the commencement of the day’s proceedings.

According to the amended charge sheet, the charges still border on procurement fraud. The Federal Government alleged that Emefiele illegally bought 43 vehicles between 2018 and 2020 worth N1.2 billion. He was also accused of awarding a contract for the procurement of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles valued at N854 million.

Count one read, “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did use your position as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles at the cost of N854,700,000 only to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro is a director and thereby committed an offence.”

In the second count, Emefiele was accused of using his position to corruptly confer an advantage on Yaro, “a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of one Toyota Avalon at the cost of N99,900,000 only to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro Director and thereby committed an offence.”

He was also accused of conferring corrupt advantage contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 by awarding a contract for the supply of one Toyota Landcruiser V8 April1616 Investment Ltd., in 2019 at the cost of N73 million.

The fourth count was about a Toyota Landcruiser V8 valued N73,800,000 awarded illegally to April 1616 Investment Ltd.

The Federal Government further accused the former CBN governor of also awarding a contract to Yaro for the supply of two Toyota Hilux Shell Specification Vehicles at the cost of N44,200,000 in 2020.

Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court adjourned the case till November 22 for ruling on the bail application of Emefiele and November 28 for the commencement of trial.

In the interim, he ordered that Emefiele be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre. The former CBN governor was escorted to the centre around 10:40 am.


Last modified on Friday, 17 November 2023 15:15